Fuse Group, a visual effects firm that has acquired a number of smaller shops in recent years with private equity backing, has changed its name to Pitch Black as it looks to grow into a top post-production vendor for studios and streamers who need to produce content at high volume.
Pitch Black CEO Sébastien Bergeron said the new moniker is meant to invoke a broad range of possibilities presented by a dark screen. “It’s mysterious for us — it’s like a blank canvas of our own universe,” he told Variety.
Despite the rebranding for the parent company, Pitch Black’s banners will retain their own names and label identities in the marketplace. The business case behind the Pitch Black roll-up is to offer big studio and streamer clients a menu of vfx labels, each with different specialities, but in a one-stop shopping environment under one corporate umbrella with offices around the world. In fact, one of its biggest growth areas is coming from Spanish-language content produced in Latin American countries.
“We want to keep the flavor and filter of all our brands but give (producer clients) the opportunity to tap into one global network,” Bergeron said. “We can offer them complexity but at scale and with a much more human touch.”
The erstwhile Fuse Group has been scooping up vfx firms with various specialties since 2018 with the backing of New York-based EagleTree Capital. Under founder and chairman David Altenau and Bergeron, the company has bought up vfx firms FuseFX, Folks, Rising Sun Pictures and most recently El Ranchito. Pitch Black now employs about 1,400 vfx pros in 13 locations around the world. The company is approaching $200 million in annual revenue after strong growth in 2022, Bergeron said. It aims to compete with Hollywood’s marquee vfx names such as WetaFX and Industrial Light and Magic.
About 90% of Pitch Black’s business comes from mainstream Hollywood productions. But the company has stitched together operations in the U.S., Canada, India, Australia, Spain and Colombia with the goal of doing business with local producers as well as offering global options to core studio clients.
“Mostly we’re working for Hollywood but there’s a big market out there especiallyin Latin America,” Bergeron said. “There’s a lot of Spanish-language content being produced and more than ever it requires visual effects.”