Sony Pictures Imageworks is wasting no time moving on without Robert Zemeckis with its proprietary Imagemotion performance capture technologies, announcing three new features in development, including two from Sony Pictures Animation: NEANDERTHALS and an untitled thriller from Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisor Jerome Chen (THE POLAR EXPRESS and BEOWULF), marking his directorial debut.
The previously announced NEANDERTHALS is an original project from Jon Favreau (IRON MAN), currently being developed with Jay Redd, the visual effects supervisor on MONSTER HOUSE.
Additionally, Imageworks is presently in discussion with Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Seaside Prods. with Steven Paul to participate in the production of a movie based on the bestselling author James Patterson's MAXIMUM RIDE. Arad, a producer of the SPIDER-MAN franchise for which Imageworks has created the visual effects and animation, recently optioned the science-fiction thriller to be developed as a performance capture feature. In this bestselling series, six children with altered DNA, 98% human and 2% bird, have wings and extraordinary powers.
Imagemotion provides another digital tool in the Sony arsenal: "Each of these projects is unique in their approach to moviemaking and Imagemotion affords the filmmakers tremendous creative freedom," said Yair Landau, president of Sony Pictures Digital Ent.
Imagemotion has been the basis for all-CG productions such as THE POLAR EXPRESS, MONSTER HOUSE and the upcoming BEOWULF.By utilizing Imagemotion, directors are given the flexibility to reach beyond the physical limitations of human beings.
"The core of our business is Imagination," said Tim Sarnoff, president of Sony Pictures Imageworks. "Developing Imagemotion was a lengthy and complex process, and we couldn't be happier with the results of our efforts as filmmakers embrace its possibilities."
"Imagemotion is extremely liberating," said Debbie Denise, Sony Pictures Imageworks' evp of Production Infrastructure and exec producer. "Each filmmaker finds their own unique way to apply the technology. Imagemotion allows filmmakers to capture the magic and spontaneity of performances, with the subtle nuances and movements that bring characters to life. All of this can now be accurately recorded and applied to these digital creations."
Sarnoff said Imagemotion performance capture continues the Imageworks heritage of project inspired innovation, developing tools, techniques and technology to help filmmakers bring their visions to the screen. "Our business is predicated on our ability to produce what has not been done before, from our earliest performance capture work on Hollow Man, and the lifelike fur and cloth that we created for STUART LITTLE to more recent breakthroughs such as our proprietary lighting tools and the 'Sandstorm' software that helped to create the Sandman character in SPIDER-MAN 3. Devising ways to turn the impossible into something believable that can emotionally connect with the audience is what we enjoy doing, and we do it well."
Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc. (www.imageworks.com) is an Academy Award-winning, state-of- the-art visual effects and character animation company dedicated to the art and artistry of digital production and character creation.