After a massive opening weekend for his new movie Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi will have Hollywood falling at his feet.

The third film in Marvel's Thor franchise, which has been praised for the Kiwi director's injection of humour and self-awareness, raked in a whopping US$121 million (NZ$84m) in its US threate debut.

It had already broken the box office record in New Zealand after taking $2.2 million in its opening weekend when it was released here last month.

But Waititi's next film probably isn't what you were expecting.


Instead of another big budget blockbuster or superhero caper, Waititi is doing something a little smaller.

The 42-year-old's next film is Bubbles, a stop-motion animation about MIchael Jackson's pet chimpanzee.

"It's an idea that fascinates me and one I want to develop further," Waititi told Screen Daily.

"Most people know I'm a huge Michael Jackson fan, so the main thing for me is to make sure it's respectful of him and his legacy. I'm not interested in making a biopic; I want to focus on telling a story that blends fact and fantasy, about an animal trying to make sense of the world.

"This film is not about Michael Jackson because that's not a story for me to tell - or a story I'd be comfortable telling - it's about a chimpanzee's fascinating journey through the complex jungle of human life."

The film has been purchased for US$20 million by Netflix, reports Variety.

Waititii will work with Mark Gustafan, who was the animation director on Wes Anderson's stop motion feature Fantastic Mr Fox.

There are no details on the plot, but it will be told from the perspective of Bubbles.

Bubbles was adopted from a research facility in 1983 and lived with Jackson at his Neverland ranch for several years.

The chimp eventually became too aggressive and had to be moved to a sanctuary.

Waititi is also signed on as executive producer of The Breaker Upperers, a Kiwi comedy starring Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami, due for release next year.

And he's working on Paranormal Event Response Unit, a TV sequel to his mockumentary film from 2014, What We Do In the Shadows.

Read more: Everyone loves Taika: On set with the cast of Thor