Los Angeles's last major vfx studio to depart immediately
For months, as Sony has sought to slash its studio budget, there has been speculation that the Sony Pictures would sell or shut down its Imageworks visual effects and animation company.
But late Thursday came a different announcement: Sony Pictures Imageworks is moving its headquarters from Culver City to a new facility in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The move, confirmed by Sony, parallels that of Digital Domain, which moved vfx production from Los Angeles to Vancouver some time ago. With the addition of these moves to the bankruptcy of Rhythm & Hues Studios, the feature film visual effects industry in Los Angeles is in full collapse.
Imageworks spokesman Steven Argula told Variety that Sony is committed to keeping Imageworks open and a part of Sony.
“Sony’s investment in this move shows their commitment to Imageworks – not just for animation but for live-action vfx,” said Argula.
The new Imageworks facility in Vancouver’s Pacific Centre neighborhood will have capacity for up to 700 staff, twice as many as Imageworks employed in Vancouver during its peak of production on “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Only a small office will remain in Los Angeles to work with Los Angeles-based clients.
The rest of the story is here at Variety. Now this move was long known within the community - particularly when top staff people were house hunting in Vancouver at least six months ago, but no one in local or state government spoke out on this or publicly tried to stop this move. And the delays by Jerry Brown and the state legislature in providing the necessary tax credits to save LA's signature film industry and its vanishing new tech industry made it inevitable that this would happen.
But as bad as this is - it is only the start of a far larger exodus of tech and entertainment companies from not just Los Angeles, but all of California