Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh’s Wellington-based Weta FX, home of the largest single-site vfx studio in the world, has opened new facilities in Vancouver, the company’s first “dedicated visual effects office” outside of New Zealand.
With an initial staff of 75 artists and plans to expand before the end of the year, the Vancouver offices will work on a range of Weta projects, including James Cameron’s Avatar sequels, the first of which will release at the end of 2022. They are also working on a dozen other unannounced titles for various studios, having most recently wrapped work on Warner Bros. Pictures’ blockbuster feature The Batman, Disney+’s original series Moon Knight, and its Marvel cousin Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
With executive offices in New Zealand and L.A., the latter opening in late 2020, Weta’s establishment of a studio in Vancouver comes shortly after the announcement of a $1.6 billion tech deal with Unity, closed in late in 2021. According to the company, the opening of a studio in Vancouver is just one step towards the company’s larger commitment to global expansion and scaling.
Cartoon Brew broke down the Unity-Weta deal in detail last year, pointing out the role that the metaverse has had on tech and animation companies. The agreement will see Unity make Weta’s visual effects tools available to creators and artists around the world and ‘enable the next generation of RT3D [real-time 3D] creativity and shape the future of the metaverse,’ it was said at the time.
“The global growth in entertainment content has allowed us the flexibility to really pursue the projects we want and to expand our business model to tap into talent in more locations around the world,” said Prem Akkaraju, CEO of Weta FX, of the new Canadian hub. “Vancouver is an established market for vfx, animation, and games talent and we look forward to welcoming them into the Weta FX family.”
Image at top: “Shang Chiand The Legend of The Ten Rings”