Moving Picture Company Vancouver, the animation studio that assisted in the redesign of the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie, has been shut down "effective immediately". According to CBC, an internal email said that “increasing external market pressures in Vancouver and more attractive opportunities in other locations” forced the studio to close.
At its peak, the studio employed more than 800 artists, but more recent figures are significantly lower. MPC’s studios across the world will continue to operate. The company has previously been responsible for VFX work on films including Guardians of the Galaxy, multiple live-action Disney remakes, and Detective Pikachu. The Vancouver studio won an Oscar for its work on Life of Pi in 2012.
The studio was also understood to have played a major part in the Sonic movie redesign. After the launch of its first trailer, fan backlash caused Paramount to develop a significantly less-horrifying version of the character. That redesign is said to have cost roughly £3.8 million, but fans had already expressed concern about the way in which the designers responsible would be treated.
Rumours regarding the shutdown began earlier this week. Last night, a version of what appears to be the internal email seen by CBC was anonymously uploaded to Imgur. It states that the studio would “cease operations effective immediately,” and asks former staff to “consider other opportunities to join MPC film” at other locations, which include Montreal, Paris, and London.