The visual effects studio Moving Picture Company has apparently shut down its Vancouver, Canada, office which was known for work on films such as the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, new reports have claimed. A letter which was said to be distributed to employees of the Technicolor-owned Vancouver studio said that the branch will "cease operations effective immediately" with layoffs reportedly ensuing now that the office is reportedly being shuttered. MPC is also known for its works on films like Disney's new version of The Lion King.
News of the alleged studio shutdown first came from a letter which was shared online in places like the VFX subreddit. This followed discussions beforehand that foreshadowed the news when people said they'd heard rumors of closures and layoffs. The embedded image of the letter below shows what's said to be a statement from MPC where it told affected employees about the Vancouver office's shutdown.
Cartoon Brew first reported on the news, though it said at the time it was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the letter and the identity of the person who shared it. Following this first report, the story was picked up by other outlets like the Los Angeles Times which cited a statement from MPC about the studio closure. It's the same statement as seen in the letter though, and MPC doesn't appear to have publicly issued a statement about the decision yet.
"Increasing external market pressures in Vancouver and more attractive opportunities in other locations have created a challenging environment for MPC to sustain the Studio," Technicolor said in a statement reported on by the Los Angeles Times and also found in the letter above. "MPC Film and Technicolor's VFX brands, including Mill Film, MR. X and Mikros, will continue to grow and expand in Montreal, Paris, Adelaide [Australia], LA and Toronto."
Head to MPC's site and you'll see that it's filmography indeed includes the Sonic the Hedgehog movie among other upcoming works. Cartoon Brew reported that the Vancouver office specifically was working on the redesign of Sonic the Hedgehog for the character's upcoming movie. The new design of Sonic followed backlash over disappointment regarding Paramount's first version of Sonic and was said to have been built from the ground up to create a more pleasing version of the character.
Sonic the Hedgehog releases in theaters on February 14, 2020.