×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Visual Effects Giants Prime Focus World, Double Negative to Merge

Updated 9:00 a.m. PDTPrime Focus World and Double Negative have agreed to merge in a deal that represents a major shakeup at the top of the visual effects business.

The combined entity will be the world’s largest provider of visual effects, animation and 3D conversion services. It will have the Double Negative name, and be led by DNeg managing director Alex Hope and CEO Matthew Holben. “We’ve made it clear from our side: You guys run visual effects, we’ll run 3D conversion and animation,” Prime Focus founder and CEO Namit Malhotra told Variety.

Prime Focus will hold 80% to 85% of shares following merger, Malhotra said in a TV interview today. Hope and Holben will run be members of the new company’s board, with Malhotra as board chairman.

Said Malhotra, “We have ceded control to them. They’ve embarked on a strategy to take Double Negative global. That means: They’ve got to have Canada, they’ve got to have China, they’ve got to have India, and they will make sure the Double Negative gold standard of service is inducted into those locations.”

London-based Double Negative is one of the world’s top vfx studios. Christopher Nolan routinely brings his pictures there and the company won an Oscar for his “Inception.” His next picture, “Interstellar,” is in production there now. The company has also announced a feature animation division.

Hope said that Double Negative and Prime Focus have been partnering “on and off” for the past three years, beginning with “Total Recall.” The two companies worked together on the upcoming “Hercules” (pictured).

Prime Focus World is the creative services branch of Indian company Prime Focus. PFW has branches in Los Angeles, Vancouver, New York, London, Dubai, Mumbai and China. and provides vfx, animation and 3D conversion.

Malhotra told Variety this merger will not simply mean that PFW’s branches will be re-branded with the Double Negative name. Hope and Holben will have free reign to look at PFW’s existing visual effects technology and infrastructure and choose what to keep, said Malhotra. PFW’s London location will exit the vfx business and focus entirely on 3D conversion and animation. Malhotra said that as a result of the merger, he expects Double Negative to grow and add jobs.

While it is a large and established company, Prime Focus has been considered a second-tier vfx studio and has long sought to buy its way  into the first rank of visual effects studios; it was a bidder for Rhythm & Hues Studios as that company came out of bankruptcy, and previously pursued Digital Domain when that company was bankrupt and for sale. This merger finally gives Prime Focus the top-flight vfx talent and brand it has long desired.

“We’ve been looking on the visual effects side to add alignment,” said Malhotra, “because in an already crowded market, it’s certainly critical to have a company that has the credibility, the technology and infrastructure to take it to the next step. Double Negative has that talent and quality of work.”

 

 

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Frank Grillo'Avengers: Endgame' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Matt Phelps Tapped as President of Joe Carnahan, Frank Grillo's Warparty

    Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan’s Warparty productikon banner has appointed Matt Phelps president of the company. Phelps will head the Los Angeles office and be responsible for overseeing all film and television projects. “We searched long and hard to find the right fit for Warparty and felt that Matt embodied everything that we were looking [...]

  • Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent,

    Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent, Dies at 88

    Jack Gilardi, a longtime ICM Partners agent who represented such stars as Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Jerry Lewis, Charlton Heston and Shirley MacLaine, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 88. Gilardi was known for his gentlemanly style, love of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his skill at representing top actors. He [...]

  • Nexstar Completes Tribune Acquisition, Sean Compton

    Nexstar Completes Tribune Acquisition, Sean Compton to Head Programming

    Nexstar Media Group has become the nation’s largest owner of TV stations after completing its $4.1 billion acquisition of Tribune Media. The deal creates a broadcasting colossus with more than 200 stations serving more than 100 markets, although a number of stations will be divested to keep Nexstar in compliance with FCC ownership limits. Nexstar, [...]

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    Judge Sides With Michael Jackson Estate in 'Leaving Neverland' Dispute

    A federal judge is leaning towards granting the Michael Jackson estate’s move to take HBO to arbitration in its dispute over the documentary “Leaving Neverland.” Judge George Wu issued a tentative ruling on Thursday in which he denied HBO’s motion to dismiss the estate’s case. Wu is expected to make the ruling final by the [...]

  • Homecoming

    Peak Storytelling Here as Podcasts, Short Form Ride New Wave

    The concept of peak TV is nothing new. But scratch the surface of original content these days, and it’s no longer about television — from podcasts and short-form video, storytelling itself is at a peak. Thanks to audio, video and other new platform companies including Gimlet, Quibi, Wondery, iHeartMedia and Serial Box, listeners and viewers [...]

  • Patti Smith Cambridge Folk Festival

    Patti Smith Muses Over the Many Ways to Tell a Story

    It’s Sept. 11, and Patti Smith has been thinking a lot about people who died. This is understandable. It is, of course, the 18th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and an annual time of mourning for New York City, the city that Smith adopted as her hometown 50-plus years [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content