Pixar and Disney Animation president Ed Catmull has always had a reputation as a decent person, but newly revealed court documents show that he’s been working against the interests of Pixar’s employees for years, as well as trying to hurt other studios who didn’t play by his rules.
Tech site Pando Daily has been providing amazing coverage of the Department of Justice antitrust invesigation and subsequent class action lawsuits over wage-fixing amongst Silicon Valley tech companies and animation studios.
The all-CG “Smurfs” reboot won’t be released until 2016, but you wouldn’t know that from the aggressive manner in which Sony Pictures Animation is promoting the film.
We heard rumors of layoffs at DreamWorks last week, but they weren’t confirmed by a reputable source until yesterday evening when the animator’s union, The Animation Guild, posted an item about it on their blog.
Margaret Loesch, a forty-year children’s TV veteran, has announced that she will step down as the founding president and CEO of the Hub Network when her contract expires at the end of this year.
Animation veterans Eric “Bibo” Bergeron and Mike de Seve have partnered to launch a new venture called Monkey’s Uncle, which they announced at Annecy a couple weeks ago.
At least one DreamWorks animated film has lost money for the past three years in a row: “Rise of the Guardians” in 2012 had an $87 million writedown; “Turbo” in 2013 resulted in a $13.5 million writedown; and this year’s “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” caused a $57 million writedown. This is rather obviously not a sustainable trend from a business standpoint, and investors are beginning to worry about the studio’s long-term prospects.
Animation and visual effects studio Sony Pictures Imageworks has confirmed what many in the industry had suspected for a long while: the studio is moving its headquarters from Los Angeles to Vancouver, Canada to take advantage of generous tax credits provided by the Canadian government. This move, combined with Digital Domain’s jump to Vancouver and Rhythm & Hues’ bankruptcy, prompted “Variety'”s VFX chronicler David S. Cohen to say that the Los Angeles feature film visual effects industry is “in full collapse.”
Although Greg Centineo, the producer of “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,” had hoped for a big second weekend, the film plummeted 48% this weekend and ended up with a sophomore frame of $1.9 million. The movie has struggled to find a fan following, except for the film’s Facebook page which is filled with a curiously large number of middle-aged and elderly people who absolutely adore the film.
Laika does amazing work as an animation studio, no doubt about it, but the studio’s history is somewhat less admirable. The company was built on top of Will Vinton’s eponymous Portland studio in a shrewd corporate takeover by multi-billionaire Nike co-founder Phil Knight. After Knight took control of the company in 2002, he placed a failed rapper named Chilly Tee with slight experience in animation, who also happened to be his son Travis Knight, in charge of the entire company.