Weta Digital, the famous VFX studio co-founded by Peter Jackson and owned by Jackson and Fran Walsh, announced the launch of Weta Animated, which will see the visual effects company producing its own original content for the first time in its history. According to a press release, the company will produce animated projects for both film and television, including streaming services. Jackson and Walsh will be playing a “key role” in Weta Animated, writing, producing, and directing content for the studio.
“We are huge fans of animated storytelling in all of its forms, but it can be a long, protracted, and often costly way to make movies,” Jackson said in the release. “That’s, in part, why we have created this company – to change the model and open the doors to filmmakers and storytellers who might not otherwise be given the chance to show what they can do.”
Jackson is no stranger to the protracted and costly process of filmmaking – dude spent 14 months and about $300 million filming hobbits in New Zealand, and that was just the first time. Adding an animation brand to Weta seems like a no-brainer, because he’s done just about everything you can do with live-action filmmaking. The release also announced that Prem Akkaraju, who co-founded SR Labs with Sean Parker, has been named CEO of Weta Animated. (Parker is also a Vice Chairman at Weta Digital, having invested in the company last year.)
“Weta Digital began with one machine and just one artist who created the digital effects in Heavenly Creatures,” Walsh added. “None of us knew what we were doing, but even in those early days we could see the incredible potential of this new technology. Since then, VFX has become a huge industry, but our goal has remained the same – to bring stories to life, through the power of imagination. If you can dream it, we can create it.”
Now that Weta has an animation brand that can churn out original content, I’m expecting Jackson to drown the world in hobbits. Barring that, maybe we’ll see an animated Meet the Feebles sequel.