Anime Vice News

More Bad News for Imagi: Layoffs!

The CG anime studio is probably in serious trouble.


 This does not look good.
 This does not look good.
As if more people needed to lose their jobs than already had, Imagi, the studio behind the recent CG Astro Boy film, laid off more than 300 employees on Friday. This comes after a 100-employee layoff back in December and the closing of their L.A. office just a couple of weeks ago, but supposedly these are "short-term" layoffs while the company keeps trying to find new investors to fund its projects.

This isn't the first time Imagi has resorted to sudden dramatic moves to deal with a cash crunch: during the development of Astro Boy almost a year ago today, Imagi actually shut down its studios for a couple of days until it got a cash injection. Unfortunately I don't think anything is definitively pending at the moment, so here's hoping that Imagi gets some more money soon-- I enjoyed their Astro Boy and would like to see their planned Gatchaman film. The only problem is, if Astro Boy didn't make up its money, can the follow-up?

See, Astro Boy had a reported budget of $65 million, but so far has made less than $25 mil. Sure, it might make up some of that in the DVD market (it's due out on DVD and Blu-Ray on March 16th), but probably not $40 million, short of some kind of viral catch-on. That's a big loss for a young company. So basically the company has to convince investors that Gatchaman will not only turn a profit, but probably turn enough profit to make up for Astro Boy's losses.

Which is really a shame. I'm going to say again that while Astro Boy was definitely no Up, it was a pretty enjoyable film. When it comes out, I'd suggest going ahead and spending a few bucks to rent it, especially if you have a kid sibling or cousin to share it with.

...And not just because I want to see Gatchaman. I swear.    
lanaswifton Feb. 6, 2010 at 11:26 a.m.

Astro Boy was decent, but I have way less interest in Gatchaman, so while I feel bad for the employees, I can't say I feel too upset.

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A Hong Kong-based CG studio that's producing films based on manga/anime such as Astro Boy and Gatchaman.

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