When it comes to animated movies, no other studio matches Laika for sheer creativity and ingenuity. #Laika has made its name by creating some of the best Academy Award-nominated stop-motion animated movies, with both story and visuals receiving high critical acclaim.
In a move that is set to take advantage of the popularity of its characters, Laika has teamed up with licensing agency #StrikerEntertainment to bring its merchandising to a global audience.
Toying With Laika
As reported by Collider, Laika recently struck a deal with Striker Entertainment for a line of toys and other merchandise based off its movies, including #Coraline and the recent Kubo and the Two Strings.
Laika CEO and president Travis Knight believes that merchandising through toys and other similar products is an extension of his company's animated movies, which have struck a chord with audiences. He had this to say regarding his studio's expansion into merchandising:
“LAIKA’s reason for being is to make films and tell stories that bring people together and inspire them to dream. Knitting our artistry and storytelling more meaningfully into our fans’ lives through the world of consumer products is a continuation of that vision. It’s an enormous privilege to partner with industry-leading firm Striker to further advance LAIKA’s future expansion.”
Brad Wald, CFO of Laika, believes that his company's library of colorful characters and worlds are a perfect fit for Striker Entertainment and he hopes this new deal will lead to bigger and better things in the future.
"In the near future, LAIKA’s products will be available in various retail outlets and channels as well as on our website. As with all things LAIKA, everything will be about quality, just like our films."
Laika is responsible for giving audiences some of the best examples of animated filmmaking in recent memory, but the studio has never expanded beyond the big screen and home video markets — until now. Before this deal, the most supplemental material audiences and fans could get were art books of Laika's cinematic offerings.
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Toys Are The Future
Laika's decision to expand into merchandising and the like was something of a calculated move, with the studio wanting to do something new and drastic to keep current in the filmmaking world. As critically acclaimed as its movies are, the studio isn't the money spinner people might assume it to be.
Indeeed, #KuboAndTheTwoStrings only made around $76 million at the worldwide box office, with its production budget sitting at around $60 million. This middling performance follows the trend of Laika's declining ticket sales, which possibly spells trouble for the studio. Other films such as #ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls earned enough to claw back their respective budgets of $60 million, but still didn't exactly set the box office alight. The studio's most successful film to date is the adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, which earned $125 million.
While Laika is nowhere near shutting up shop, the studio needs a new plan of action to keep up with the competition.
To avert potential financial despair and revive interest in the brand, Laika has been expanding at a rapid pace. Just last year, coinciding with the release of Kubo, Laika partnered with Universal Studios to produce an interactive exhibit for its lineup of movies. And with Striker Entertainment now helping Laika move into the realm of merchandising, the sky's the limit.
In the past, Striker Entertainment licensed official merchandise for the likes of AMC's The Walking Dead and the indie video game hit Five Nights At Freddy's. With Laika now under its wing, Striker has the chance to help spread the studio's influence to a whole new demographic of collectors and fans.
Look out for the Laika-themed merchandise coming soon to retailers near you. Will you be picking up some of Laika's new merch? Sound off in the comments section below.