Digital Domain is jumping head first into the feature animation game. Veteran studio owner and director Uli Meyer suggested in our comments that DD should look carefully at the past and avoid repeating the mistakes of other vfx houses that have tried to do the same thing:
The big post production houses are all depending on service work and the idea of creating content must be very tempting. If successful, that could mean a certain independence and less having to bid against other post houses to secure a few effects shots on the next big blockbuster. It makes a lot of sense to try and do that from a business point of view.
Framestore in the UK did go part of the way towards that goal by making A Tale Of Desperaux as a service project but have not managed to follow with one of their own (as far as I know). Being good at running an effects company does not automatically make you a film maker. Hiring a hand-full of people who have been employed by one of the other content creators before is a start but if those guys do not have the infrastructure to support them, their best ideas won’t go very far. And with infrastructure I don’t mean render farms and fur software.
If the management will allow an entirely new structure to develop, there is a chance something good can happen. And should they manage to make one film, a second won’t happen immediately and I guess they can always use their new facility to work on effects shots.
Whenever I read about news like this, I have this idea that the people in charge should look at all the other failed similar attempts by others and try and learn from those mistakes. There are plenty of them. I sincerely hope those mistakes won’t happen here, only time will tell. As to family films — there is always room for another one as long as it is a good one, whatever that is. Good luck!