After an “Outbreak” of “Turbulence,” “Desperate Measures” have not been enough to save Boss Film Studios — which in its 14-year history has produced or supervised the visual effects for all these titles and more — from becoming an extinct “Species.”
Veteran effects wizard Richard Edlund, four-time Oscar-winner and 11-time nominee for visual effects, announced Tuesday he was shuttering the Marina del Rey-based effects house where he has served as president and CEO since its inception in 1983. It has been common knowledge throughout the f/x community that Edlund had been trying to sell the facility and its considerable stock of gear and library of shots for more than a year but he received no reasonable offers.
“I feel extremely appreciative of all the hard work and creativity that the people of Boss have contributed over so many years,” Edlund said in a statement. “I feel gratified that Boss provided a place where so many gifted individuals could get their starts and learn the art of special effects.”
Indeed, Boss Film spawned so many boutiques and look-alikes during its extraordinarily long existence (in f/x timelines, anyway) that it became known as the Ark within the community. But caught without a deep-pocketed partner such as a studio or media conglomerate — and thus unlike IBM’s Digital Domain, Disney’s Pacific Data Images and Sony’s ImageWorks — at a time when the supply of work looked to be thin for the next 12 months, Edlund apparently felt that shutting down Boss was his best option.
“(The current wave of consolidation in f/x) makes it simply too difficult to support and independent service company that is so capital-intensive,” remarked Edlund, adding that Boss Game, the interactive game company based in suburban Seattle, and its corporate parent, Boss Entertainment, will soldier on for the time being.
Reactions around the f/x community ranged from shock to dull resignation. “There goes one of the white hats,” said one veteran effects supervisor who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s a sad day for the independents in this business.”
Most puzzling is what exactly Edlund plans for his own future. After having wangled five major projects over the past year for Boss (“Air Force One,” “Desperate Measures,” “Starship Troopers,” “Turbulence” and “Multiplicity”) and operating as an indie f/x executive producer for so long, Edlund may rankle at returning to supervisory work, but he did so for MGM twice in the past two years and thus might return to it again.
Boss Film f/x work was nominated for seven Academy Awards during the company’s 14-year existence: “Cliffhanger,” “Batman Returns,” “Alien 3,” “Die Hard,” “Poltergeist II,” “2010” and “Ghostbusters.”