Imagi Animation is Out of Money and Temporarily Shutting Down?
by Alex Billington
January 25, 2009
We just heard some rather interesting, and alarming, news from a friend in the industry. Apparently Imagi Animation Studios is running out of money and may be temporarily shutting down operations. The official news will supposedly hit the wire tomorrow, but employees are being told not to show up to work starting on Monday. Imagi, based out of Hong Kong, is the animation company behind 2007's TMNT as well as the upcoming Astro Boy movie and also Gatchaman. We've already seen a teaser for Astro Boy and the film is slated to hit in October, which means it might be delayed if production stops for too long.
As soon as we got confirmation, we'll update this news. I'm sure Imagi will do their best to hide their financial troubles, so it'll be interesting to hear what they have to say. As much as I like Imagi, I'll admit that I could see this coming. Astro Boy and Gatchaman are their only two films actually in production, and TMNT wasn't that big of hit ($54 million in theaters). They've also had numerous internal issues, including a director change on Astro Boy at one point. The studio is scrambling to get extra funding to keep working and may even drop Tusker, a project they picked up from DreamWorks Animation last year.
I'd really like to see this studio continue to exist in the animation marketplace, but they obviously need to get things figured out first and learn how to streamline their animation work. Note: Until we have confirmation on this story, take this news as only a rumor. Stay tuned for updates!