|The Smurfs are leaving LA|
Strikingly confirming what we said recently, Sony Pictures Imageworks has announced that it is joining the exodus of animation shops out of Los Angeles and heading to the financially sunnier climes of Vancouver. The move, of course, is to take advantage of generous tax credits provided by the Canadian government that neither Los Angeles nor California matches.
Thus, even if California takes action to give animation companies tax breaks, it's too little and too late for this major outfit. That bird has flown. To Canada.
Imageworks produces the animation for Sony Pictures Animation (SPA) films such as "The Smurfs" and its sequels. It also does the special effects for many live action films such as Disney/Marvel's upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy." The company is a major player in the industry.
There currently are 270 Imageworks employees in Los Angeles. Those are good, well-paying jobs for talented artists. The new facility that Imageworks is moving to in Vancouver, above a shopping mall, will be able to accomodate up to 800 employees. There is no word on what will happen to Imageworks' current California employees or if there will be additional new hiring of Canadians.
The Los Angeles/California tax structure is slowly but surely strangling the film industry that remains in Hollywood, the golden film goose that laid the golden egg in the Golden State exactly 100 years ago after leaving New York and now is getting increasingly restless for a new home.