Visual effects and animation studio Rhythm & Hues has purchased the VIFX portion of Marina del Rey based-effects house Blue Sky/VIFX from 20 Century Fox for approximately $5 million. Under the Rhythm & Hues banner, the combined companies will be the largest privately owned visual f/x house in Los Angeles. The core management team at VIFX will remain intact although layoffs are expected for some of VIFX's 100+ employees because of an overlap of job functions once the merger is completed. Richard Hollander, president of Blue Sky/VIFX will become president of Rhythm & Hues' feature film division while John Hughes will continue to serve as president and CEO of R&H. Fox had originally purchased VIFX in 1996 for the purpose of having them produce the CG-animated sci-fi pic PLANET ICE, which after creative changes, has ended up in the hands of Don Bluth's Fox Animation Studios in Phoenix, Arizona. Harrison, New York-based Blue Sky is unaffected by this deal and is still under Fox ownership. Among other projects, VIFX is currently in production on Disney's FANTASIA 2000 while Rhythm & Hues is doing f/x work for Universal's live-action sequel FLINTSTONES: VIVA ROCK VEGAS.