Well that’s a shocker:
Today ILM for the first time in its history was sold, as part of a deal by Disney to buy LucasFilm. fxguide spoke directly to ILM today who commented only that “for ILM and Skywalker Sound it’s business as usual.”
Meanwhile Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger commented on an investor call regarding ILM that, “our current thinking is that we will let it remain as is – they do great work – they work for multiple studios.”
Anybody’s guess as to what’s next however it’s pretty clear this purchase was for the Star Wars franchise:
Our valuation focused almost entirely on the Star Wars franchise
So what does this mean for ILM? If Variety’s David Cohen is correct it could be good news:
However the real assurance of the future of ILM probably lies in the news that there will be new “Star Wars” movies on a regular schedule. ILM was born out of production on the original “Star Wars” pics and George Lucas built it up so it would be able to pioneer digital production on the prequel trilogy. Keeping vfx spending in-house kept costs down and made it possible for the Star Wars pics to have more vfx than any other pics of the time.
However, on a potentially sobering front I echo the concerns by cartoon brew. Remember LucasFilm and Pixar were both caught by the Feds in regards to collusion. Now they’re both owned by Disney. The potentially good news is that Disney does have subsidiaries that have signed with The Animation Guild. Of course I’m under no impression that ILM or Pixar will go union anytime soon but it’s much more possible than when they were standing on their own.
I’m reminded of a post I wrote 2 years ago which was mostly a thought experiment: Why don’t VFX facilities work directly for the production studios? Two years later, you have almost all the big VFX Californian facilities owned by production studios. Many others are being gobbled up by Deluxe and Technicolor. Who’s next?