Early in his tenure as the new head of Walt Disney Pictures, Rich Ross flew up to Northern California to visit ImageMovers Digital to see their digs in Marin County...
Now we know he was casing the joint. With all the money it took to create "A Christmas Carol" versus all the money it made, a decision was made to cut the Mouse's losses. That's right, a movie that made over well over three hundred million dollars is a looser in this day and age. As of 2011, Disney is shuttering the facility/production company and its 400+ employees. Sad day for those affected by this action.
Here is the official press release:
BURBANK, Calif. – March 12, 2010 – The Walt Disney Studios and ImageMovers Digital (IMD) today announced that they will close operations at IMD’s Marin County facility after production is completed on Mars Needs Moms. The IMD facility is expected to be closed by January, 2011.
“Bob and the entire IMD team successfully built a state of the art studio and produced an amazing film, A Christmas Carol, at a time when the dynamics of the industry are rapidly changing,” said Alan Bergman, President of The Walt Disney Studios. “But, given today’s economic realities, we need to find alternative ways to bring creative content to audiences and IMD no longer fits into our business model.”
“I’m incredibly proud of the talented team that we assembled at IMD and the fantastic work they have accomplished,” said Robert Zemeckis, one of the co-founders of ImageMovers Digital. “Their pride and dedication to making quality movies is evident in everything we have produced.”
The Studio is hoping to create a new long-term production deal with Zemeckis and his IMD partners, Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey, which will include the continued development of the Yellow Submarine project.
Quite a bit different that what Bergman said just a couple years ago with the creation of IMD:
Amazing how a couple years, one film and mediocre box office can change one's perspective, eh?
"We're really excited about this new performance-capture company," said Alan Bergman, president of Walt Disney Studios. "We think it's going to play a huge role in making film going forward. We want to be at the cutting edge of this technology."
I'm not a huge fan of the hyper-realistic MoCap that Zemeckis has used or more particularly, the stories he's chosen to make, but I am a fan of Bob Zemeckis. He's produced some truly wonderful films in my childhood through the end of my college years as a star quarterback for, wait. Sorry, dreaming there for a moment. But many of Mr. Zemeckis' films have littered the shadowy corners of my brain and I thank him for it. I do wish he'd join the world of the living though and stop making films in a warehouse with guys wearing ping pong balls on their outfits.
Perhaps he'll now make a Roger Rabbit sequel that has actual actors in it. No final word yet on what will become of "Yellow Submarine," but the deal could be a stopgap measure to ensure he continues working for Disney. It's hoped that something along those lines will keep the animators busy for a couple more years. And maybe the director can put some other exciting ideas he has into development.
Time will tell...