Tuesday, November 23, 2010

IMD's Final Feature

In a few more weeks Image Movers Digital shuts down. Here's the last work of one of Disney's shortest-lived studios ...

When Dick Cook was shown the door at the House of Mouse, I wondered how long it would take before Robert Zemeckis's digital studio in northern California would get down-sized or closed. Since it was set up on Dick C.'s watch, I didn't figure its odds of survival were high, since the handiwork of ousted execs is often expunged with them.

In Image Movers Digital's case, the answer came quickly: "Not long."

In fact, IMD's life-span turned out to be shorter than the rodent cousins of the Disney corporate symbol. The studio was opened, "Christmas Carol" underperformed, and Mr. Cook's successor was prompt about seeing that I.M. Digital got shuttered as quickly as possible. (After the usual facility visit saying everything was peachy, of course.) Feature Number Two was well underway, so the decision was made to complete it in-house, closing each department as that unit's work came to an end.

So the second and last of IMD's produced features comes out next year, and we catch our first major glimpse of the movie in the trailer above.


Anonymous said...

The studio was opened, "Christmas Carol" underperformed, and Mr. Cook's successor was prompt about seeing that I.M. Digital got shuttered as quickly as possible.

It was pretty clear that Disney wanted "1001 Ways to Remake Polar Express" every Christmas on demand ("Nutcracker" was reportedly next on the slate), and when their first Christmas film flopped, there was suddenly less reason to come in Monday morning.

Although sadly, Mars would have been the first IMD feature NOT to have been name-directed by Zemeckis, and by an actual experienced director (Simon Wells, "Prince of Egypt".)
Not that the character design would've worked any more successfully, but at least the blocking would've been less "Stage play vs. Roller-coaster" as Z's films, and hints it would've been closer to the pacing of a "real" DW film--The spaceship scenes looked like they'd been filmed on Monsters vs. Aliens' old sets, and it's hard not to confuse the two.

Anonymous said...

I think circle 7 was a shorter lived studio.

Steve Hulett said...

Circle 7 was little more than a name-plate in Glendale that boarded a version of "Toy Story 3" but never made anything.

When Michael Eisner departed, the studio quickly died. And a lot of creative personnel were left high and dry (and weren't happy about it.)

Anonymous said...

Wow... I can't get over how many awful animated movies there are. Does anyone put any thought into these things before making them?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

@Anon 8:30
There may be more "awful" films, yet there are far more GOOD animated films per yer than ever before! 10+ years ago we were lucky to get 1 good animated film a year, yet this year we've had How to Train Your Dragon, Toy Story 3, Tangled, and to a lesser extent Despicable Me and Megamind.

So yes, people do put thought into films before releasing them. There are just more films being released so you also have to deal with the thoughtless films too.

(And if you didn't like ANY of the animated films listed above then maybe it is time to accept that you have grown cynical and bitter and nothing will ever be as good as it was in the "old days")

Steve Hulett said...

I saw "Tangled" this afternoon.

Another good animated film.

Distorteddogma said...

At a time when, according to articles in Animation Magazine, countries all over the world are providing government incentives to create and expand animation companies, once again the US is leading the pack... backward.

Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Germany and more are providing tax incentives or direct funding for new animation projects and company startups.

Anonymous said...

Such an ugly film. Good riddance to IMD.

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