Spotlight : September 1997

VIFX and Blue Sky Merge
By Todd Vaziri

Long before anyone could catch their breath after reacting to the news that Boss Film Studios announced they were closing their doors forever, another bombshell rocked the effects industry.

VIFX, the Los Angeles-based effects company, announced it had acquired a 'majority interest' in Blue Sky Studios, the Harrison, NY animation house. The new organization, apparently dubbed Blue Sky|VIFX, emerges as a heavy hitter in the effects industry.

VIFX was one of the few full-featured effects houses in Hollywood, providing 2D compositing, 3D animation, along with model and miniature services, while Blue Sky was one of the industry's premiere 3D animation houses. While VIFX flexed their CG muscles with their fantastic animation for 1997's THE RELIC, and Blue Sky continued to dazzle everyone with their brilliant animation for 1996's JOE'S APARTMENT (pictured) and the upcoming ALIEN RESURRECTION, this merger creates a formidable power in character animation.

The new company now holds a workforce of 250, lifting the new venture into the stratosphere of effects houses. Blue Sky|VIFX can easily be considered one of the 'big boys', ultimately replacing Boss Film Studios on the list. Companies that not only maintain a digital workforce, but also have a model shop and stages are considered to be the giants of the industry; frequently considered within this pantheon are Industrial Light & Magic, Digital Domain, Dream Quest Images and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Richard Hollander, one of the original founders of VIFX/Video Image, is the President of the new venture, while Blue Sky's former President, David Boyd Brown, will take on the position of CEO. The company will be headquartered in L.A., and the New York facility will continue to function. The L.A. headquarters will soon move into a new 90,000 square foot facility.

The merger of VIFX and Blue Sky is even more proof of the widening berth between the giants of the industry and the boutique, specialty effects houses. Twentieth Century Fox, the parent owner of Blue Sky|VIFX, further strenthens its position in the industry by owning a powerhouse of an effects company. With Disney's acquisition of Dream Quest, and Sony's birth of SPI, one must wonder if Universal and Paramount are eyeing to purchase an existing effects house. The industry was shown, earlier this year, that building an in-house effects facility isn't as easy as it seems, as Warner Digital was forced to shut down after its parent, Warner Bros., realized there was no way to keep the company profitable in the current climate.

Related Links: The new Blue Sky|VIFX effects house page

Back to the Spotlight Main Menu

. . VFX HQ Produced by Todd Vaziri . . . . e-mail: . .
All text Copyright © 1998 Todd Vaziri, unless otherwise noted