With a huge shift in the entertainment industry, Disney is looking to scale back its international expansion, as part of a continued effort to save over $5 billion dollars. And today, it has been revealed that Disney will be closing down its VFX and animation studio in Singapore, which is run by Lucasfilm/ Industrial Light & Magic.
Over 300 employees have been impacted by the decision. Disney maintains studios in many other locations, including San Francisco, London, Mumbai and Sydney. Disney is going to be giving its employees as much notice as possible and some are being offered opportunities to relocate to one of the company’s other studios. Disney will also be hosting some job fair events to try to help employees move onto other jobs.
The Singapore studio opened in 2004 and is responsible for delivering complete shots and sequences on top-tier Hollywood films and regional projects, including “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” In 2013, the studio moved to a new Eclipse Building at Fusionopolis, which was nicknamed the “Sandcrawler Building,” since it looked a lot like the classic Jawa vehicle from the first “Star Wars” film. Lucasfilm sold the building back in January 2021 to the Blackstone Group for $133 million.
According to a statement by Disney:
“Over the next several months, ILM will be consolidating its global footprint and winding down its Singapore studio due to economic factors affecting the industry. ILM is giving employees as much notice as possible and offering opportunities to relocate to one of the company’s growing studios. ILM will be working with the local business community in Singapore to offer a job fair with companies identified as having a need for talent with similar skill sets”
And the Singapore government agencies, the Economic Development Board and the Infocomm Media Development Authority also added in a joint statement.
“Lucasfilm’s decision to wind down its Singapore operations is in response to changes in the industry and business conditions. The global media industry is facing disruption from rapid technological advancements, while studios are coping with challenges relating to talent and profitability.
Throughout Lucasfilm’s tenure in Singapore, the company has developed world-class digital animation talent for the industry through knowledge and skills transfer. Our Singaporean talent have worked alongside and learned from experienced producers, enabling them to develop their skills and play on the world stage,” the two agencies’ statement continued.
We are proud that Singaporeans have worked on Hollywood blockbusters such as ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ and Marvel’s ‘The Eternals.’ Many have moved on to roles in media companies like Netflix or have gone on to start their own companies. In addition, Lucasfilm’s leaders actively contributed to training generations of students in digital and tech skills at polytechnics and Institutes of Higher Learning.”
With Luke Hetherington, executive in charge of ILM’s Singapore and Sydney studios adding:
“We would like to thank the Singapore Government, industry, and community for their partnership over the past 17 years. We have been able to train and employ a generation of production talent, visual effects artists, and animators. We are very proud of the incredible work the team in Singapore has accomplished and look forward to providing new opportunities for Singapore talent to continue the innovative work they are doing,”
This is no doubt a blow to those working in Singapore, and it highlights the current pressures the entertainment industry is facing with consumers changing how they watch entertainment, with the shift from linear television to streaming and fewer visits to cinemas. Disney is continuing to slim down its global plans for growth and especially with Lucasfilm, planning on reducing the amount of Star Wars shows and films it creates, due to the oversaturation of the brand due to too many releases too close together, causing franchise fatigue.
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Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.