Universal Buys Mac Guff for Illumination

The Blue Sky model is complete for Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment (Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Despicable Me). with Universal Pictures’ purchase of the Paris-based Mac Guff Ligne animation studio. Deadline reports that the studio will be renamed Illumination Mac Guff, and that the animators will now work full-time on Illumination projects (the VFX business will stay separate). Universal has also taken a long term lease on the the 35,000 square foot animation facility (housed above an Aston Martin dealership near the Eiffel Tower). Mac Guff president Jacques Bled and Illumination exec Janet Healy will serve as co-presidents of Illumination Mac Guff.

“In acquiring an animation studio located half way around the world, we are evolving our filmmaking model; one that is creating entertainment despite borders, boundaries and languages,” Meledandri said in a prepared statement.

The situation is similar to George Miller starting his own Dr. D Studios in Sydney to make Happy Feet 2 instead of continuing the collaboration with Animal Logic, which animated the Oscar-winning Happy Feet. Miller told me that it was much more efficient to have an animation start up that could handle the more expansive pipeline demands for animated features rather than a VFX facility that does animation part-time.

Likewise, this will enable Mac Guff to grow into a full-time animation facility that can better handle the artistic and technical demands of cutting edge animated features while still pulling off hybrids such as Hop as well.

Illumination has The Lorax (March 2, 2012), a Despicable Me sequel, a stop-motion Addams Family feature with Tim Burton, a Ricky Gervais-adapted Flanimals, and Uglydoll.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Books, Movies, Oscar, Tech, Trailers, VFX

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