×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Imaginative Pix takes interest in Blue Sky

Seeking to strengthen its position and deepen its areas of expertise, L.A.-based VIFX’s parent company, Very Imaginative Pictures Inc., has acquired a majority interest in upstate New York-based animation specialists Blue Sky Studios, as expected (Daily Variety, Aug. 27).

The new combined entity, to be known (at least for the near term) as Blue Sky/VIFX, will be headquartered in Southern California and boast some 250 employees — for now, at least, as new CEO David Brown expects to ramp up full-time employment at the new combined image factory by as much as 30% by year’s end.

Details unavailable

No particular details on the buyout were available, but company CFO Eugene Straub said that VIFX made the purchase on its own, with no financial assistance from Fox Inc., which purchased a majority stake in the house in 1996. Nor did Fox executives directly influence the purchase of Blue Sky, though anyone familiar with Fox’s ambitious animation plans would assume Blue Sky’s expertise in animation post could only be of benefit to the studio.

Folding the two companies into one larger entity will allow Blue Sky/VIFX to marry the former’s strength in 3-D character animation and computer graphics generation with the latter’s impressive physical production capabilities and motion-control and motion-capture facilities.

“We feel like there is now no job too large or too small that we cannot easily accommodate,” said the new entity’s prexy and senior f/x supervisor, Richard Hollander, at a press conference Wednesday announcing the merger. “We also will be busily pushing out the technological envelope on phone-line transmission of data and images — not just teleconferencing, but actual collaboration in real time.”

Having a bicoastal company provides no particular benefit, Brown said. “Business comes to us from all over the place,” he said, “and, if anything, having a facility on each coast only saves certain overnight shipping charges.”

“Though we will be very engaged in instantaneous transmission of images and data,” Hollander added, “there is still no substitute to putting people on airplanes and having them shake the hands of other people.” Very few current Blue Sky/VIFX employees will be relocated permanently because of the deal, he said.

And although survival is very much on people’s mind in the f/x industry, Brown said, “the timing of this deal, following the closing of Boss Film, is purely coincidental, and that unfortunate occurrence had no influence on our thinking.”

More Film

  • Berlin Film 'The Ground Beneath My

    Berlin Competition Film 'The Ground Beneath My Feet' Sold to Germany's Salzgeber (EXCLUSIVE)

    Salzgeber has acquired the German rights for Berlin Film Festival competition title “The Ground Beneath My Feet” from sales agent Picture Tree International. Variety has been given exclusive access to the film’s trailer. Salzgeber will release the film, directed by Marie Kreutzer, mid-May. Trailer for Berlin Film Festival competition title “The Ground Beneath My Feet” [...]

  • Donald Glover'Atlanta' TV show premiere, Arrivals,

    Childish Gambino Surprises Beverly Hills Crowd With Reimagined 'Redbone'

    Donald Glover made an unexpected appearance at Film Independent’s “An Evening With…” series tonight (Jan. 15), held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills and presented by the HFPA. Joining “Black Panther” composer and Childish Gambino collaborator Ludwig Göransson, who was the subject of a Q&A conducted by “The Treatment” host Elvis [...]

  • 76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS --

    Film News Roundup: Glenn Close Selected for Oscar Wilde Award

    In today’s film news roundup, Glenn Close gets an honor, AFI names its Directing Workshop for Women participants and Teri Polo gets cast in a Christmas drama. CLOSE HONOR Glenn Close will be honored on Feb. 21 by the US-Ireland Alliance at the 14th Annual Oscar Wilde Awards, held at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot in [...]

  • Jason Reitman Ghostbusters

    Jason Reitman to Direct Secret 'Ghostbusters' Movie

    Sony Pictures is getting the wheels in motion for the next installment in the “Ghostbusters” franchise, and it knows who it’s going to call to direct: Jason Reitman. Sources tell Variety that Reitman, whose father, Ivan, directed the first two “Ghostbusters” movies, will direct the latest pic in the famous franchise. Reitman has also co-written a [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • SAMUEL L. JACKSON in Glass. M.

    ‘Glass’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Glass.” Ads placed for the superhero thriller had an estimated media value of $9.89 million through Sunday for 1,183 national [...]

  • Danny Glover

    Danny Glover Joins 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' Sequel

    Danny Glover has joined the cast of Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” sequel. His role is being kept under wraps, as is the storyline. Glover will star opposite Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan, all of whom are set to return. Awkwafina is in final negotiations for a significant part in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content