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VFX Studio Behind Lion King Remake, Sonic, & More Closes Vancouver Studio

Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

One of the fears that people had about the Sonic the Hedgehog movie going back into production to entirely revamp the main character’s look was concern about the working conditions for the VFX staff and whether they would be compensated for their work properly. Well, with the news coming out from MPC’s Vancouver studio, it is looking like those fears were founded for many who worked on the Sonic film.

MPC (Moving Picture Company) is folding their studio in Vancouver, Canada effective immediately, according to Cartoon Brew. The report says that employees were told of the shutdown during a meeting, and that a letter was allegedly sent that claimed “increasing external market pressures in Vancouver and more attractive opportunities in other locations” was what caused the studio to close. Cartoon Brew notes that the studio has been responsible for: The Lion King (2019), The Jungle Book, Justice League, Blade Runner 2049, X-Men, Prometheus, Dumbo, Detective Pikachu, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

“The Vancouver team, in particular, played a significant role in the recent redesign of the main character in Paramount’s upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog,” the article makes sure to note.

Sadly, animation is still a medium that I feel does not always get its due when it comes to public appreciation. Too often, “cartoons” are treated as only for children, with Disney and Pixar being the exceptions. This ignores the immense work people put into animated programs behind the scenes, and the skill and craftsmanship it takes to create animated … anything. My elder sister is a professional animator, and I’ve seen her slave away over her own work and deal with carpal tunnel syndrome on and off for years.

We are constantly asking these mediums to push the envelope and become more and more intricate, but we also ignore them at the box office unless they come from a studio that “matters.” The amount of people I had to push into seeing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is bananas to me when Frozen II has been dominating the charts for the past few weeks—not to mention visual effects aren’t just for films like Detective Pikachu; they are also for films like The Irishman that want to use that technology to de-age actors and remove buildings … or remove mustaches that fit perfectly into the plot.

The original article also shares some alleged ex-MPC Vancouver employee thoughts that were posted on Reddit, and while they aren’t verified, they do seem to share a lot of the sentiment that has been shared from people under crunch culture. Regardless, this is a shame, and having it happen so close to the holidays can’t be easy.

I hope that, if anything, we can make one of the goals of 2020 to just pay people who work in animation and visual arts their worth.

(via Cartoon Brew, image: Paramount)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.