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‘Gravity,’ ‘Dr. Strange’ VFX Studio Framestore Bought by Chinese Firm

Chinese group Cultural Investment Holdings Co (CIH) is taking over British visual effects studio Framestore, according to several British media reports.

Framestore won a vfx Oscar for Gravity and is also well known for its contributions to films such as Paddington, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Harry Potter franchise, as well as numerous television commercials and vr projects.

The deal, valued in the neighborhood of £150 million (US$187 million), will see CIH acquire 75% of the business with the remaining shares held by Framestore’s management team, including founder and CEO William Sargent. According to Sargent, CIH was chosen from among dozens of interested parties, including buyers from North America, the U.K., and Asia-Pacific.

“I started the process about nine months ago. We’re swapping the partners we had before for the Chinese group,” the Guardian reported Sargent as saying, noting that the previous partners included Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad. “I’m looking east.”

Framestore has several offices in addition to its main London Soho base, including New York, Montreal, and Los Angeles. The studio employs around 1,400 staff.

Upcoming film projects from Framestore include Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Beauty and the Beast, and sequels to Paddington and Guardians of the Galaxy. Their work is currently on show in Doctor Strange.

The deal is said to still be subject to the approval of Chinese regulators.

Framestore worked on over 365 shots for Disney's "Doctor Strange," opening this weekend in the U.S.
Framestore worked on over 365 shots for Disney’s “Doctor Strange,” opening this weekend in the U.S.
  • Elsi Pote

    And here comes the chinese to add more salt to the already injuried vfx job market.

    What’s beyond low salaries and long hours ala comunist China (under their capitalism twist) is anybody’s guess ,but I don’t think it will be for the better to what everybody is having these days.

    • Julie

      No that’s not true, u have no idea how people are well paid in ” communist” china as vfx artists. and u should stop being racist and adding salt in this.

      • Gonzo

        okk, enjoy working for chinese magnates! Call me a racist – I don’t care but these people are increadibly ignorant, they are poisoning the planet with air and ground polution. All they care is money. You have no idea how people live in China.

        • Julie

          [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted.”]

        • ash

          I have been working in Chinese vfx studios since past two years.. My experience comes after having worked with Rhythm & Hues for 6 years.
          I can attest, the pay is great and working hours in China are not as killing as London, Vancouver or LA.
          Maybe you envision rural factories when you hear the word China.. You are missing out on the real world because you want to believe your propaganda..

    • noIMspartacus

      Meanwhile, back in the real world, and if I remember correctly, it was US and UK ‘houses’ that started “out sourcing to save money”… well, looking at that image, I’m reminded of what they used to be so fond of saying in Murica – “what goes round…”

  • ash

    How is Chinese censorship going to effect content being distributed anywhere except China in any way?
    Unless Universal, Marvel, 20th Century Fox, Sony, Paramount all are bought by Chinese firms (Again Chinese firms could be owned and run by Americans/Foreigners too as you will discover but thats a different story).. I don’t see a scenario where China over reaches its borders to tell what movies to produce?