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F/x shop Manex buys Computer Film Co.

Merger ads new dimension to prod'n house

At a time when smaller, more specialized boutiques are breaking away from established full-service production facilities, f/x shop and production house Manex Entertainment has decided to expand, purchasing the Los Angeles-based operations of Computer Film Co.

The multimillion dollar acquisition not only expands Manex’s technical and creative resources — CFC-LA specializes in 2-D effects — but gives the San Francisco-based house its first presence in Los Angeles.

“Our long-term goal has always been to have an L.A. presence,” said Manex managing director Robert Bobo. “The acquisition made perfect senses to fill the gaps we’ve lacked technically.”

The deal makes Manex one of the largest full-service f/x production studios to form since James Cameron’s Venice-based Digital Domain opened its doors in 1993.

Besides visual effects, the company leases five full-sized production facilities located at a former naval base in Alameda, Calif.

CFC-LA’s 35 employees will work for six months under the CFC/MVFX banner but eventually will operate under the Manex moniker.

CFC’s London-based operations and the FrameStore Group will continue to operate as digital f/x subsidiaries of Megalomedia Plc, a U.K.-based post-production house.

FrameStore’s decision to sell its U.S. operations stems from its plan to focus all of its management and financial resources on becoming a market leader in European commercials, television and feature film effects.

CFC-LA recently was recognized for its visual work on two of the three Oscar nominees for best visual effects, “Mighty Joe Young” and “Armageddon.” Manex worked on the third nominee, “What Dreams May Come.”

Manex was formed last year as part of a buyout of MassIllusion by Columbus, Ohio-based Manex Financial Management Inc. The firm specializes in pyrotechnic design, 3-D matte painting, live-action motion control, CGI compositing and software development.

Manex is producing over 100 f/x shots for Warner Bros. actioners “The Matrix” and “Deep Blue Sea,” along with Disney’s “Bicentennial Man.”

CFC-LA is working on DreamWorks’ “American Beauty” and Universal’s “For the Love of the Game.”

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