PDA

View Full Version : Digital Domain files for bankruptcy



Philbert
09-11-2012, 06:20 AM
"Digital Domain Media Group Inc, which won Academy Awards for visual effects in films including "Titanic," filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, days after it warned that it may need more cash to stay afloat."

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/09/11/us-digitaldomain-bankruptcy-idUKBRE88A0CH20120911

Edit: Looks like there's more news, Digital Domain Productions has been purchased by Searchlight Capital Partners for $15m.

http://www.deadline.com/2012/09/digital-domain-bankrupt-chapter-11/

robertoortiz
09-11-2012, 09:23 AM
We have a monstert thread at the CGSociety with the latest news on this fiasco:
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=2&t=1061774

geo_n
09-11-2012, 09:05 PM
Unbelievable and sad. Is that 15m for all DD including outside florida?

Dexter2999
09-12-2012, 12:47 AM
Unbelievable and sad. Is that 15m for all DD including outside florida?
One of the articles linked said it was for the Los Angeles and Vancuver facilities. The article also said that as of June the company had assets of like $205Million, but $214Million in debt on the books.

Looks like Textors pay put them over the tipping point.

geo_n
09-12-2012, 06:37 AM
Thats extremely cheap for what DD represented. Wonder how Intuition is doing?

massmusic
09-12-2012, 10:31 PM
Very sad and shocking given they just opened a studio here in S. Florida and is (was) slated to open a school, I planned to teach at.

Dexter2999
09-12-2012, 10:56 PM
While I dislike what Textor was all about, I will give credit where it is due. Had the board given his plan a chance it would have yielded some impressive gains.
The studio aspect would have put DD into the IP market, which is where the money lies long term.
The school would have yielded free labor but also tuitions that would have been not inconsiderable.

Profits with minimal labor expenditures.

Philbert
09-12-2012, 11:02 PM
Very sad and shocking given they just opened a studio here in S. Florida and is (was) slated to open a school, I planned to teach at.

The school is staying open last I heard.

Dexter2999
09-12-2012, 11:10 PM
Perhaps? The school was to be in conjunction with Florida State University. Which would have meant less profit for the school than a private institution like DAVESchool. BUT, a private school like that may not have qualified for as much state assistance.

The article linked said that of the 300 employees for the school/studio only a handful were being kept on.

rcallicotte
09-14-2012, 06:57 AM
Something about "free labor" doesn't hit me right. Oh, it must be because I work to pay my bills.



While I dislike what Textor was all about, I will give credit where it is due. Had the board given his plan a chance it would have yielded some impressive gains.
The studio aspect would have put DD into the IP market, which is where the money lies long term.
The school would have yielded free labor but also tuitions that would have been not inconsiderable.

Profits with minimal labor expenditures.

Philbert
09-14-2012, 08:22 AM
Saw something yesterday saying the schools classes were being suspended.

http://wap.pbpost.com/post/pm_117711/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=UqhOgPvw (link from CGTalk)

Dexter2999
09-14-2012, 08:44 AM
From the rest of that linked article
Classes for the 27 Florida State University students who transferred to the school’s new West Palm Beach campus this fall still are ongoing.

The suspended Digital Domain Institute’s “essential skills” program charged $4,400 for a 10-week course that taught students how to create digital animation for movies. Students could take up to four classes with the hopes that they would be hired at the company’s Port St. Lucie studio.

Days before filing for bankruptcy, Digital Domain laid off 252 of its 272 employees in Port St. Lucie, according to court filings. After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday, Digital Domain said Searchlight Capital Partners of New York had offered to pay $15 million for the company’s animation studios in southern California and Canada. The studio and college would not be included in the deal.

A new semester for DDI’s essential skills program was supposed to begin Tuesday with classes offered at half price. Students who paid full price last semester were offered a free course, and several of those students had re-enrolled.

“I will tell you, as of today, DDI is still functioning,” Digital Domain’s Brooks said. “We still have an educational component involved in the FSU degree program, and we are assessing the essential skills program.”

The college might survive in some form, he said, even if it’s not part of a buyout, which now must be approved by the bankruptcy court.

“There’s more to the story than Searchlight,” Brooks said. “I’m highly restricted under our Chapter 11 status of what I can discuss about the potentialities.”

Reuters on Tuesday reported that Prime Focus World, which created the special effects for the blockbuster “Avatar,” was contemplating a bid.

Brooks said it hasn’t been determined yet whether the students will be reimbursed for the suspended semester.

The program’s first graduate, Chris Ryan, put $8,000 in tuition on credit cards.

With the Port St. Lucie studio all but shut down, Ryan said students who were certified by Digital Domain will have to go out-of-state if they want to create visual effects for movies. This is after Digital Domain was paid $20 million in incentives by the state to bring the industry to Florida.

“It’s very unfortunate,” Ryan said. “That company really mismanaged their finances."

Also, fxguide just posted an informative article giving more detail about the corporate structure of DD.
http://fxguide.com/featured/dd_what_does_it_mean/

kopperdrake
09-15-2012, 02:42 AM
Dear me, $4,400 for a 10-week course, with a maximum of 4 courses per student. So "We'll take $17,600 from you until we let you know you're not good enough to work at our facilities." I wonder if there were any other criteria to get a place on the course other than a willingness to fork out the necessary cash, otherwise it can just be chalked up as another money-grabbing experiment by DD. The entire business plan seems dirty. Sure, it'll make money for investors if it all goes smoothly, but it really does feel like they were desperate for creating and saving money in any form, to keep themselves afloat in a market that is struggling with cheap labour in the East, and a world-wide recession. When backs are against the wall, true character, and that includes company character, really does show.

BigHache
09-15-2012, 07:06 AM
"We'll take.. from you until...

This seems to be the mindset of any school that offers courses in these fields. I don't think DD would be unique in this area.

Dexter2999
09-24-2012, 12:56 PM
DD SOLD!! For $25 Million.

http://fxguide.com/quicktakes/36546/

geo_n
09-24-2012, 01:09 PM
DD SOLD!! For $25 Million.

http://fxguide.com/quicktakes/36546/

Where's Intuition? Does that mean employees could/would also relocate to China? Not sure if China would pay good salary when their cg industry has way lower wages.
edit Reliance MediaWorks Ltd is indian based. Seems the industry is turning.

stiff paper
09-24-2012, 02:54 PM
Wasn't it an Indian company that bought StationX Studios way back when? That didn't turn out so well. It also didn't result in the industry "turning" in any way. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

50one
09-24-2012, 03:29 PM
Where's Intuition? Does that mean employees could/would also relocate to China? Not sure if China would pay good salary when their cg industry has way lower wages.
edit Reliance MediaWorks Ltd is indian based. Seems the industry is turning.

That part with people relocating to china, made me chuckle:)
No offence ofcourse, we all know that there's a shedload of artists out there, good enough and cheap enough and if not than training them will be really easy, sad but true...

geo_n
09-25-2012, 03:34 AM
That part with people relocating to china, made me chuckle:)
No offence ofcourse, we all know that there's a shedload of artists out there, good enough and cheap enough and if not than training them will be really easy, sad but true...

Don't laugh :D I know some very talented western artist who had to relocate to India, China, Dubai, etc just to stay afloat.
But DD caliber artist relocating to China, can't imagine them doing that.