Disney Shutting Down Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers Studio
While this should be an obituary, to me it's cause for celebration. At the beginning of the decade, the once great director Robert Zemeckis gave up on live-action and dedicated himself to only making CGI movies (The Polar Express, Beowulf, and A Christmas Carol). Even though A Christmas Carol was a mild success for Disney ($137 million at the box office), the studio has decided to shut down Zemeckis' ImageMovers Digital studio in Marin County (near San Fran) as reported by the LA Times. The company will officially close its doors in January of 2011 once they finish work on the Zemeckis produced film Mars Needs Moms!.
The LA Times says it's a "cost-savings move" and the 450 employees at ImageMovers Digital will be phased out over the rest of the year until they close next January. "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," Disney President Alan Bergman said. Disney was one of the primary investors in the ImageMovers studio when it opened in 1997. They're still "hoping to create a long-term production deal" with Zemeckis, since they don't want to burn bridges, but he'll soon be without a studio. We're not sure what this means for his Yellow Submarine remake in the works or other projects in development, but I'm sure they'll still continue.
So why am I happy that ImageMovers has shut down? Shouldn't I be sad about losing a good company? No way! This has been something I've wanted to see happen for a long time and I'm so pleased to see the execs at Disney step up and shut down a studio that really didn't need to exist anyway. Sure, Zemeckis may have been using groundbreaking CGI back in 2004 when he was working on The Polar Express, but his last few movies have shown that not only has he lost his touch as a director, but the CGI is completely mediocre in comparison to Avatar and just about every other CGI movie, too. Out with the old, in with the new, I say!
Although Disney obviously funded ImageMovers, I never expected them to be the ones to shut it down, I thought it would always exist (and Zemeckis would keep making those damn CGI movies). I guess I should clarify - I'm not happy about people losing their jobs. However, this is good news because it may now force Zemeckis to consider returning to live-action, which is what he needs to do. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of seeing his CGI movies. Similar to how Pres. Obama made the General Motor's CEO step down in order to get that company on the right track, this is a decision that Disney's execs made that is certainly for the better. I fully support it and hope that this helps get Zemeckis back on the right track. Your thoughts?