In yet another sign of the difficult economic realities of the animation and visual effects production business, Toronto's C.O.R.E Digital closed down yesterday, suspending operations and laying off 150 people.
According to Michael Carter, President of CASO, Computer Animation Studios of Ontario, founding member and leading animation and visual effects house C.O.R.E Digital has shut down. Founded in 1994, the Toronto-based C.O.R.E. was a full production and output facility offering a broad range of services such as C.O.R.E. Visual Effects, C.O.R.E. Toons, C.O.R.E. Film Productions and C.O.R.E. Feature Animation. C.O.R.E. Digital’s cg work included Disney's "The Wild," animated features "Ant Bully" for Warner Bros. Entertainment and Walt Disney's "Valiant," the Showtime hit "The Tudors" and Vincenzo Natali's indie film "Splice."
According to The Canadian Animation Resources website, 150 staff members were let go yesterday afternoon and that as of this past Friday had not been paid. The Hollywood Reporter reported that the company’s financial difficulties were caused by a number of factors, including currency valuation changes against the US dollar, decreasing margins on production work, and their failure to secure loan guarantees from the Ontario provisional government, which has previously granted such subsidies to Starz Animation and Ubisoft.
This latest shut down comes on the heels of the just announced upcoming January 2011 closure of Robert Zemeckis’ ImageMovers Digital, The Orphanage in February 2009 and numerous layoffs across the industry in the face of the global economic downturn.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.