The first title is comedy thriller ParaNorman and will be released on Aug 17, 2012, with the untitled second project to follow in 2014.

Focus will hold worldwide rights to both films and Universal Pictures International will distribute outside North America.

ParaNorman is only the second stop-motion animated feature after 2009’s Coraline (pictured) to be made in 3D. It is currently in production under the direction of Sam Fell and Chris Butler from Butler’s screenplay about a young ghost whisperer whose small town is invaded by zombies.

Fell directed The Tale Of Despereaux and Flushed Away, while Butler served as storyboard supervisor on Coraline and storyboard artist on Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. The voice cast includes Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Leslie Mann, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Tempestt Bledsoe, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman and Elaine Stritch.

Arianne Sutner, animation producer on The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, is producing with Laika president and CEO Travis Knight

“Travis Knight is both an extraordinary businessman and a visionary artist who we know will shepherd these projects with imagination and originality,” Focus CEO James Schamus said.

ParaNorman is a story of intense beauty and emotional truth,” Knight added. “It’s audacious, has genuine heart, and is funny as hell. We’re incredibly excited to share this wonderful story with the world.”