Nick Park and Aardman have teamed up for their next film, a Stop Motion animation comedy employing multi platform techniques: Early Man. Written by Mark Burton and John O'Farrell with Nick Park directing, Early Man will be set in the early prehistoric world based off an original idea featuring a cast of brand new characters and setting.
The film is set for 2018 release dates and will be distributed in five territories by partners StudioCanal (also co-finanacing) and the BFI (the British Film Institute): UK, France, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. Currently there is no release date or a distributor announced for a US release. The 2015 Shaun the Sheep Movie had Lionsgate distributing in the US and was an overall box office failure, opening to a disappointing $800K in the USA.
The release dates for film's releases in the aforementioned territories:
UK: January 26th 2018
France: January 31st 2018
Germany: March 29th 2018
Australia/NZ: March 29th 2018
The synopsis for Early Man from Aardman's blog announcement reads:
Set at the dawn of time, when dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures roamed the earth, ‘Early Man’ tells the story of how one plucky caveman sets off to unite his tribe against a mighty enemy and saves the day…
It sounds very promising, and with Nick Park (Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run) attached to direct it looks like the project could turn out to be something very funny and very interesting indeed. The concept of going to cave man times is not as well-tread territory in contemporary animation (excepting Blue Sky's CG Ice Age franchise), and there's a lot of potential for exploring both visual and conceptual elements we have not yet seen in the Stop Motion/Claymation arena before. Although the concept of using circa that time period in Stop Motion goes back to the very first filmmaking attempts of legends like Willis O'Brian and Ray Harryhausen. This is Nick Park's first flick since he directed the Academy Award winning Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Ware-Rabbit.