Visual effects and animation studio Cinesite has launched its animated production division Cinesite Animation, and unveiled a slate of nine animated feature films that will go into production over the next five years in Montreal, with backing from the Quebec government. The first project will be “Klaus,” written and directed by Sergio Pablos, co-creator of “Despicable Me.”
Investissement Quebec, acting on behalf of the Quebec government, is advancing a loan of C$2.4 million ($1.72 million) to Cinesite Animation to help set up the production infrastructure in Montreal. An additional loan guarantee of C$19.6 million ($14.1 million) toward an overall budget of at least C$90 million ($64.6 million) is being advanced to the production company to help with financing each of the first three animated films.
Six more films are planned to follow, which will see the facility at full capacity with more than 500 new permanent jobs by 2020. ...
If the company is budgeting these pics at $65 million apiece, then they'll be spending some serious money because the province will be subsidizing the production costs, above and beyond loan guarantees.
The question, of course, is can Mr. Pablos deliver a commercial picture in the same manner he helped birth the Despicable Me series and its spinoffs, which have made mountains of money for Comcast/Universal. One thing is pretty clear: some large effects houses see animated features as a growth area, and are happy to jump into the sector with both feet.