Focus Features to release animated pic 'The Boxtrolls' with Tracy Morgan

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On the heels of ParaNorman’s success, Focus Features has just closed a deal to release their third animated feature: The Boxtrolls. The film will be a 3-D stop motion and CG hybrid feature and is currently in production at LAIKA (the studio behind ParaNorman and Coraline) with a high-profile voice cast including Tracy Morgan, Toni Collette, Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, and Elle Fanning.

Based on Here Be Monsters!, Alan Snow’s bestselling children’s novel, the film is set in the wealth, status, and cheese-obsessed town of Cheesebridge. The Boxtrolls are a group of trolls who live underground and come out at night to steal precious cheeses from the townspeople. When Archibald Snatcher (Kingsley) decides to eliminate the misunderstood creatures and it’s up to a young human girl (Fanning) to help the town and its underground dwellers find peace.

In a press release announcing the news Thursday, LAIKA President & CEO Travis Knight said “The Boxtrolls is a visually dazzling mash-up of gripping detective story, absurdist comedy, and steampunk adventure with a surprisingly wholesome heart. It’s Dickens by way of Monty Python.” Focus Features CEO James Schamus added, “with a wonderfully appealing menagerie of fun characters, and a generous, open heart at its center, The Boxtrolls will be a must-see for family audiences.”

The film is scheduled for an October 17, 2014 release.

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