Laika Studios stumbles at box office with 'Missing Link'
According to popular culture, Bigfoot stands 8 feet tall, is covered in hair and roams the woods of the Pacific Northwest.
But, in reality, the plaid-suited figure who calls himself "Mr. Link" stands only 16 inches tall, easily resting on a table at Laika studios off Evergreen Parkway in Hillsboro. His cheery smile spreads across its wide face.
"Missing Link" the fifth film by Hillsboro animation company Laika Studios, hit theaters Friday, April 12 and has already received some critical acclaim.
Despite positive reviews, the film has suffered through a rough opening weekend, according to Forbes. The film posted less than $6 million in box office sales, a "miserable result compared to the $12 million-to-$17 million debuts of the first four Laika flicks," the magazine reported.
Owned by Nike co-founder Phil Knight and run by his son, Travis, Laika Studios has made a name for itself by constantly pushing the envelope for what can be done in the near century-old medium of stop-motion animation.
The film centers around Mr. Link, a Sasquatch voiced by comedian Zach Galifianakis, who enlists the help of an explorer Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) to find the rest of his kind in the Himalayas. They are joined by Adelina Fortnight (voiced by Zoe Saldana), who leads them on their journey.
"The intention was to tell a story that was equal parts ripping yarn and buddy movie," said Chris Butler, the film's writer and director. "The key to this adventure was not the 'X marks the spot', but the journey itself, and the relationship that forms between these characters. Sir Lionel and Link are an Odd Couple on a kaleidoscopic rollercoaster ride spanning the globe."
A decade after the release of its first film, "Coraline" in 2009, Laika has seen widespread commercial and success. Its films have been critically praised, each nominated for an Academy Award for best animated film. Its president and CEO, Travis Knight, has been tapped for Hollywood, directing the 2018 Transformers film "Bumblebee." It expanded its studio space off Evergreen Parkway to be able to work on multiple projects at the same time. The next handful of Laika projects, a closely guarded secret among Laika employees, are already in various stages of development.
"Missing Link" is a brighter, more upbeat turn for Laika, whose previous films — while comedic — have always had darker, more serious themes and settings.
Bigfoot has long been associated with the Pacific Northwest. Stories of hairy Sasquatch-like creatures appear in Native American folklore and "sightings" of the fabled beast occur every year across Oregon. The famous 1967 footage purported to show a grainy Sasquatch-like creature was filmed along the Klamath River just south of the Oregon border in northern California.
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