×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hologram Specialist Pulse Receives $10 Million Investment From Chinese Companies (EXCLUSIVE)

Pulse Evolution, a specialist in creating holograms, has received a $10 million investment from Chinese companies Original Force Computer Animation Co. and Shanghai U9 Game Co., Variety has learned exclusively.

The companies have bought $10 million in Pulse common stock at a valuation of $1 per share. Both Original Force and U9 Game are backed by Chinese digital-entertainment giant Tencent Holding Limited.

Pulse Evolution’s executive chairman John Textor gained notice for the computer-generated animation of Tupac Shakur, projected in holographic form at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music Festival. Textor was CEO of Digital Domain Media at the time.

Textor launched Pulse in 2014 with the production of a “virtual” Michael Jackson at the Billboard Music Awards.

“We are certainly pleased to have the support of Original Force and its chairman, Harley Zhao,” said Textor. “We have great respect for their commitment to story-based content, and we share a belief that the greatest of stories deserve the very best in visual imagery.”

Textor said the investment by Shanghai U9 Game is a validation of its technology. “Digital humans are pervasive across the game space, and we will enjoy the opportunity to upgrade the standards of digital life with such an impressive and fast-growing video-game company,” he added.

The investment is part of a larger strategic relationship through which Original Force and U9 Game have become the first licensees of Pulse Evolution’s human animation software. Original Force and U9 Game have also become partners of Pulse’s affiliated entertainment production companies.

Pulse Evolution has secured exclusive rights to the digital likeness of Jackson, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe and counts each of these estates as founding shareholders.

Original Force founder and president Harley Zhao said in a statement: “Original Force has always aspired to the highest ideals of rich storytelling and stunning visual imagery in our films and in our games. The people of Pulse represent the greatest traditions of computer animation, and their new company has quickly become the gold standard of human animation. We are thrilled to be their partners.”

U9 Game CEO Liang Liu said, “As the convergence of film, games and live performance continues, it is critical that we are able deliver the most visually stunning, believable and engaging human characters into the increasingly digital domain.”

Rene Eichenberger, vice chairman of Pulse, noted its shareholder group includes the principals behind Highlight Communications, Constantin Film and Lego.

Pulse has about 40 employees in San Rafael, Calif., and another 10 at its Florida headquarters.

Original Force is producing the animated film “Duck Duck Goose” with a voice cast that includes Jim Gaffigan, Carl Reiner, Stephen Fry, Jennifer Grey, Molly Shannon, Diedrich Bader and Rick Overton.

“Duck Duck Goose” is the first of three animated films currently in production at Original Force Animation. The company opened a Los Angeles-based production and development office in August, led by Penney Finkelman Cox and Sandra Rabins.

More Film

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

  • Zac Efron Amanda Seyfried

    Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried Join Animated Scooby-Doo Film as Fred and Daphne

    Zac Efron has signed on to voice Fred Jones while Amanda Seyfried will voice Daphne Blake in Warner Bros.’ animated Scooby-Doo feature film “Scoob.” It was revealed earlier this month that Will Forte had been set to voice Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, while Gina Rodriguez would be voicing Velma Dinkley. The mystery-solving teens and their talking [...]

  • 'Staff Only' Review: Cultures And Values

    Film Review: 'Staff Only'

    Marta (Elena Andrada) is 17, from Barcelona and alternately bored and mortified to be on a Christmas vacation to Senegal with her estranged dad, Manel (Sergi López), and annoying little brother, Bruno (Ian Samsó). For her, the freedoms of imminent adulthood, such as the occasional poolside mojito, are tantalizing close but still technically forbidden, rather [...]

  • Rocketman

    Candid 'Rocketman' Dares to Show Elton John as 'Vulnerable,' 'Damaged,' 'Ugly'

    Elton John movie “Rocketman” dares to portray the singer’s personality early in his career to have been, at times, “ugly,” Taron Egerton – who plays the pop star – told an audience at London’s Abbey Road Studios Friday, following a screening of 15 minutes of footage from the film. It is a candid portrayal, showing [...]

  • Ben Affleck

    Ben Affleck's Addiction Drama Set for Awards-Season Release

    Warner Bros. has given Ben Affleck’s untitled addiction drama an awards-season-friendly release date of Oct. 18. The film, which has been known previously as “The Has-Been” and “Torrance,” is directed by Gavin O’Connor and stars Affleck as a former basketball player struggling with addiction, which has led to him losing his wife. As part of [...]

  • Jordan Peele'Us' film premiere, Arrivals, New

    Jordan Peele Explains the Meaning Behind the 'Us' Michael Jackson Reference

    Jordan Peele’s horror movie “Us” is filled with pop culture references, from “Jaws” to “Goonies.” But the most divisive might be right in his opening sequence. Warning, minor spoilers ahead. The movie about a couple (played by Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke) and their children being hunted and brutalized by a mysterious family that looks just [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content