Sony Pictures Imageworks Says Goodbye Culver City-Hello Canada
Joins Toyota and Growing List of Companies Bailing Out of California
Sony Pictures Imageworks is leaving Culver City and moving its headquarters to Vancouver, B.C. The company is moving into a new, state-of-the-art facility, capable of accommodating up to 700 employees, which will be the largest footprint for a visual effects company in Vancouver.
The Vancouver team, which recently completed work on Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros.) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Columbia Pictures), will lead Sony Pictures Imageworks' current and future projects, including Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney/Marvel), Pixels (Columbia Pictures), Angry Birds movie (Rovio), Hotel Transylvania 2 (Sony Pictures Animation) and the untitled Smurfs movie (Sony Pictures Animation).
The move builds on Sony Pictures Imageworks' growing presence in Vancouver. In 2010, the company opened a production office in Vancouver with a staff of 80 artists. Last year, during the production of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony Pictures Imageworks staff in Vancouver topped 350 people.
"Vancouver has developed into a world-class center for visual effects and animation production," stated Randy Lake, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Digital Production Services at Sony Pictures Digital Productions. "It offers an attractive lifestyle for artists in a robust business climate. Expanding our headquarters in Vancouver will allow us to deliver visual effects of the highest caliber and value to our clients."
Sony Pictures Imageworks' new 74,000 square foot production headquarters will be located at the Pacific Centre, a Cadillac Fairview property, in downtown Vancouver, near many of the city's most popular restaurants, hotels and cultural attractions, and close access to main railway and rapid transit lines.
Many states such as Louisiana, are offering subsidies, but the larger hardship for California studios rests with counties and regions offering substantial money to local productions. Vancouver (in particular, British Columbia) is one of those areas offering an enticing tax credit for entertainment companies and productions.
Current plans call for the Culver City facility to remain open with a skeletal staff of Imageworks employees to remain to service local clients. The campus on Washington Blvd. next to the Culver Studios will remain the home of Sony Animation which will remain in Culver City. Sony Pictures Entertainment plans to move units from other leased buildings in the area into the space vacated by Imageworks.
The move does not however appear to affect the main lot of Sony Studios Pictures Entertainment as the studio plans a new office building on the west side of the lot off Overland Ave. next to the former Tristar building.