We were going to hold off on this till at least Monday, when we could get more information, but a commenter below has broken the news: it appears that Imagi, maker of Astro Boy and Gatchaman, may currently be out of cash and temporarily shutting down operations. We've heard from one of Imagi's Los Angeles animators that he was called at home on Saturday, Jan. 24, and told that the studio was out of cash, and that he should not report to work on Monday. Since this is all happening over the weekend, we've been unable to get any confirmation from official studio sources.
We've previously noted that the company informed the Guild in December that the company was having cashflow problems related to the credit crisis, and it's noteworthy that just a few days ago the studio reported it had found a new depositary bank for their American depositary receipt program, so clearly they're scrambling to get additional funds.
There's also this telling quote from a Jan. 14 Forbes.com article:
Their boss, Douglas Glen, Imagi's chief executive, had just come back from the American Film Market in Los Angeles, which was devastated by the gloom and doom spanning the globe. "If markets don't return to some semblance of normalcy, it is going to be difficult to keep operations going," an ashen-faced Glen told a visitor. Only two months before he had triumphantly secured $30 million in financing for his movie animation company. Then $20 million of it fell through.
We want to emphasize that right now we have only second-hand information from a single Imagi employee. We're hoping this is a temporary hiccup for a company that has a good-looking feature well on its way to completion, and a couple of more features well along in the development pipeline.
Imagi employees are encouraged to call the Animation Guild office this coming week at (818) 766-7151.
Hulett Add On: I'm in Albuquerque on business this coming week (In fact, I'm in Albuquerque now), but I'll be in touch with TAG's office by phone. As we receive more info, we'll disperse it.
Add On Too: Word spreads on the intertubes, probably from similar sources (employees who've been told not to come into work).