Hong Kong Studio Imagi Animation Has Officially Shut Down
by Alex Billington
February 9, 2010
Over a year ago we reported that Imagi Animation, the animation studio behind TMNT and last year's Astro Boy, was having financial problems and was temporarily shutting down. Following that news I was called by Imagi's CEO and told that they were waiting for extra funding, but Astro Boy would be delivered on time. Indeed it was delivered on time, but it unfortunately wasn't big of success at all (making only $19.5 million in the US on a $65 million budget). It looks like that was the final nail in their coffin as Imagi has officially shut down. This news was originally reported by Twitch and confirmed by the Associated Press.
The AP article says that all of Imagi, with headquarters in Hong Kong and offices in Los Angeles, has shut down. "In its latest financial results, Imagi said it recorded a net loss of 726 million Hong Kong dollars ($93.4 million) for the six months that ended on Sept. 30, 2009 — just before Astro Boy was released in October." The studio had other projects in the works, including Gatchaman and Gigantor, but we're not sure what will happen to either. However, it is mentioned that they "will continue to develop movie ideas and outsource the actual animation work to mainland China and other countries, where costs are lower."
It's very sad to see Imagi shut down. I was actually a big fan of their animation and style, even more than DreamWorks Animation, and I would've been happy to see them stick around, putting out a good animated movie every few years. We need animation houses like this or we wouldn't get movies like TMNT or 9 or Coraline or any of that. I think Gatchaman has more potential and could be a bigger success (at least more than Astro Boy) but now we don't even know if that will even be finished. I think it was just a case of bad marketing from Summit Entertainment and bad timing for a CGI Astro Boy movie that caused it to flop.
Hopefully we'll find what's going on with Gatchaman soon. I just hope the quality won't suck if they finish it at another animation house, but I guess that's what happens when a studio shuts down. Another sad loss for Hollywood. I hope we don't have to report on more news like this again, it's depressing to write about.