Animation

Paramount Bets Big on Stop-Motion Animation

Claude Harrington 09.17.2015

It’s rare to see stop-motion animation in the headlines. Let alone with a sizable dollar figure in that same sentence. But that uncommon occurrence is happening today as several outlets are reporting that Paramount Pictures has purchased Charlie Kaufman’s stop-motion film Anomalisa for over $5 million. The film—about middle-aged husband and father who finds a possible escape from his mundane life—stars David Thewlis, Tom Noonan and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It is co-directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson.

If that name—Charlie Kaufman—sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the award-winning screenwriter responsible for penning films like Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Yet despite all his success in the live-action space, Kaufman decided to follow his passion and try his hand at animation. Literally; with a meticulously curated, stop-motion animated film that premiered earlier this month at the Telluride Film Festival.

“The film is a spectacular achievement of artistry, one that we are incredibly pleased to be a part of,” said Paramount Pictures CEO Brad Grey. “Charlie is a filmmaker of immense vision and craft and he and Duke have created a film that stands alone as one of the year’s best.”

stop-motion animation Charlie Kaufman

Making this story even more inspiring is the fact that this passion project, which took over three years to complete, began rather humbly with partial financing from a Kickstarter campaign. The project was launched all the way back in July 2012 with the goal of raising $200,000. To the pleasant surprise of Kaufman and Starburns Industries, Inc (the animation studio he partnered up with), they wound up raising $406,237 from 5,770 backers.

To acquire the film, Paramount Pictures outbid several other distributions (including Sony and A24). Riding the wave buzz of surrounding Anomalisa‘s Grand Jury Prize win at the Venice Film Festival, Paramount Pictures plans to release the film December 30 in New York and LA.

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