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Nike chairman and co-founder Phil Knight said Thursday that his son Travis has been named CEO of Laika, the privately held animation studio that hatched “Coraline.”
Travis Knight replaces Dale Wahl, a longtime Nike exec who joined the studio after Phil Knight purchased struggling Vinton Studios in 2003 and renamed it Laika.
Travis Knight joined Vinton as a stop-motion animator in 1998, working on “The PJs” with Eddie Murphy Prods. and Imagine Entertainment and on the UPN series “Gary & Mike.”
Laika also has named Claire Jennings president of entertainment. She is a producer whose credits include “Coraline” as well as “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” for Aardman Animations and DreamWorks Animation.
“Coraline” is Laika’s first full-length movie, and it’s considered the first major stop-motion-animated feature to be shot in 3-D.
Focus Features distributed “Coraline,” and at $61 million in domestic grosses, it’s that company’s second-biggest success after “Brokeback Mountain.”
“Coraline” was made for $60 million. The film is beginning its international rollout, and a DVD from Universal is expected in the summer.
Laika is developing nine more film projects, including “Here Be Monsters,” “The Wall and the Wing” and “Paranorman,” which is based on an original idea from Chris Butler, head of storyboards on “Coraline.” (partialdiff)
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