If you're an aspiring animator, you might want to start looking at real estate in Oregon., becausePhil Knight's new animation company, Laika Entertainment, is about to expand. Knight plans to build a 30-acre campus in Tualatin, Oregon, not too far from his Nike headquarters. With the new complex and studio will come more openings for talented animators to work on Laika's first two films, Coraline (based on Neil Gaiman's book, pictured) and Jack and Ben's Animated Adventure. Right now Laika is centered in Portland with less than 200 employees, but they plan on hiring about 400 more by the time the campus opens in 2008.
Although Knight hasn't always been the most admirable man in business (see Michael Moore's The Big One), I am excited about his move into movie-making. As you can expect from the man who made sneakers one of the most important consumer products of our time, he is taking great care to learn his new business in depth so that he can be just as successful with animated films as he is with high-tops. Of course, the thing I keep thinking is that he could easily do some cross-promotion by producing a sequel to Space Jam. But he's probably smarter than that.