Sony Plans To Release Aardman Animation's Pirates! And Arthur Christmas

Don't count Aardman Animations out just yet. The Academy Award-winning British animation studio is probably best known for their stop-animation and claymation productions, particularly those featuring Wallace & Gromit. The studio most recently produced a series of features, including their first computer animated film, for DreamWorks Animation, but "creative differences" lead to a seperation. Aardman entered into a three year deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2007, but no films have seen public release.

Today Sony and Aardman announced a three year extension to their contract with promises that we might actually see some more movies this time around. Pirates! and Arthur Christmas are the two films next in the development pipeline. Details on both projects after the jump. I'm sure the successful release of LAIKA's 3D stop-motion film Coraline helps the cause, proving that an interest in old style stop-motion exists. The growing popularity and profitability of 3D is also likely to help sell these films. And no, they haven't yet been announced as 3D productions... but c'mon...

Pirates! is a stop animated movie directed by Aardman co-founder and Chicken Run helmer Peter Lord. An adaptation of Gideon Defoe's cult book's about hapless pirates who journey to London, meet Charles Darwin and a talking chimp named Mister Bobo. Defoe wrote the screenplay and Lord will be co-directing with Jeff Newitt. At the header of this story you can find early concept artwork from Richard Bazley .

Arthur Christmas (originally titled Operation Rudolph) is a Sony Pictures Imageworks computer animated production about how Santa is able to deliver presents to all the children of the world in just one night. Apparently the film depicts Santa's North Pole as "a high tech installation requiring a highly trained army of elves." Sarah Smith and Barry Cook (Mulan) are directing from a script by Borat scribe Peter Baynham.

No mention of Steve Box's The Cat Burglers, a Tarantino meets Ocean's Eleven style film about cats that steam milk and plan to pull off the "great milk float robbery."

source: THR