IMAGI Animation Studio Shutting Down 'Astro Boy' Production

by Joey Paur

I am not sure if you have heard of IMAGI which is a CGI animation studio that has worked on films such as the latest 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' which actually wasn't that bad. They were most recently working on a big screen version of a cartoon called 'Astro Boy'. They released a little teaser trailer for that not to long ago and it looked like it could be pretty cool. IMAGI seems to have a lot of talent behind it, but what they don't seem to have a lot of is money.

The Animation Guild (TAG), Local 839 IATSE business rep. Steve Hulett and President Kevin Koch run a blogthat talks about the animation industry and lets us in on the ups and downs of  living and working as a professional animator, and this is what they have to say on the matter.

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. goes on to talk about what what kind of went down with the money situation and why IMAGI ran out of it.

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.

That is just awful! The money was their and now it not. That is really quite sad. I hope this shut down is not permanent. Like I said IMAGI has a lot of talent, and they are also very young, but if they work this all out and it gets fixed, then play their cards right I think they could be the next big animation studio in town. I guess we'll have to wait and see how this all plays out.

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