Tim Burton's 'Frankenweenie' to Open BFI London Film Festival

 Walt Disney Pictures

LONDON -- Tim Burton's animation Frankenweenie will open the 56th BFI London Film Festival, marking the movie's European premiere.

Burton's black and white, stop-motion animated film in 3D, backed by Disney, will herald the British festival's opening Oct. 10.

With a voice cast including Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell and Winona Ryder, the movie details the story of a boy who brings his dog back to life after his faithful companion dies unexpectedly.

In a first for the festival, the opening night screening and red carpet will go live from the Odeon Leicester Square to BFI Imax and 30 screens across the U.K., in partnership with American Express and Disney.

The studio plans to roll out the film across the U.K. from Oct.17.

Burton, Ryder, Short, O’Hara, Landau and producer Allison Abbate and executive producer Don Hahn are all expected to attend the opening night gala, organizers said.

Frankenweenie marks the first animated film Burton has directed for Disney.

The screenplay is by John August, based on an original idea by Burton.

BFI head of exhibition and festival director Clare Stewart described Burton's film as "funny, dark and whimsical" which "playfully turns the Frankenstein story on its bolted-on head."

She said it was a "perfect choice of opener" for her first festival in charge of the program as "it’s a film that revels in the magic of movies from one of cinema’s great visionaries."

She said: "Tim Burton has chosen London as his home city and hundreds of talented British craftspeople have contributed to this production."

The movie was produced in London's East End at 3 Mills Studios.

The British capital will also play host to "The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition."

It runs Oct. 17-21 and will be free to the public at the Southbank Center in London.

It includes an insight into the stop-motion animation process, original sketches drawn by Burton and props, sets and puppets.

The 56th BFI London Film Festival runs Oct.10 through 21.

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