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Prana Studios to Acquire Rhythm & Hues

A holding company associated with Prana Studios has submitted the winning bid to acquire visual effects studio Rhythm & Hues.

A holding company associated with Prana Studios submitted the winning bid to acquire visual effects studio Rhythm & Hues, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter.

The auction, which was scheduled to begin Wednesday morning, proceeded until 2 a.m. and continued Thursday at the offices of R&H reorganization counsel Greenberg Glusker.

A court hearing on confirmation of the winning bidder is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday.

Prana Studios is a VFX and animation studio with bases in Los Angeles and Mumbai. It is currently providing animation for Disney’s upcoming 3D feature Planes.

Other bidders in the auction included India’s Prime Focus; a Chinese entity involving Jiang Yanmin, president of China Lion (and a founder of Technicolor Beijing); and bicoastal animation company Psyop.

Since filing for bankruptcy, R&H -- the company behind the majority of the Oscar-winning VFX in Life of Pi -- has continued to operate thanks to $17 million in loans from Universal and Fox enabling the studio to continue work on Universal's R.I.P.D., scheduled for release July 19; and Fox's Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, scheduled for Aug. 16.

Also keeping R&H going is $5 million in financing from Legendary, which will pay R&H for the completion of VFX work on their movie, Seventh Son, which Warner Bros. plans to release October 18. R&H is a co-investor/co-producer on this film.

R&H filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection February 13, drawing global attention to the troubled VFX business climate, and serving as a catalyst for the VFX community to mobilize to bring attention to such  issues as globalization and subsidies.

In 2012, Digital Domain filed for bankruptcy protection, and its VFX business was acquired by China’s Galloping Horse and India’s Reliance MediaWorks for $30.2 million. Other VFX business, including Asylum, Cafe FX, and The Orphanage, have closed their doors in recent years as well.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.