Tupac holograms don’t come cheap. Digital Domain, the visual effects company that blew minds earlier this year by digitally resurrecting late rapper at the Coachella festival, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware after a series of costly projects put it in financial jeopardy.
According to the Los Angeles Times Digital Domain Group has reached a deal with a private investment firm to sell its Venice, California, division, Digital Domain Productions Inc. — which provides visual effects for film, television and advertising — for $15 million. As of June 30, Digital Domain Media Group said it had assets of $205 million and liabilities of $214 million and the Times reported that the company’s core business won’t be affected by the Chapter 11 filing.
The bankruptcy filing came a week after Digital Domain defaulted on a $35 million loan to a group of investors and announced that it was closing its controversial 115,000-square-foot animation studio in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where it laid off most of its 320 employees.
Since it was co-founded in 1993 by “Avatar” director James Cameron and several partners, Digital Domain has grown into one of the busiest visual effects shops in the business. The company has created iconic effects for nearly 100 movies, including “Titanic,” “Tron: Legacy,” “Transformers,” “Speed Racer,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Thor” and “Star Trek.”
Following the intense buzz created by the ’Pac hologram, Digital Domain announced that it was working on a virtual Elvis and that there were discussions about taking the Shakur projection on a stadium tour. But, despite its successes and seven Oscar wins, the company posted losses of $14.8 million in the first quarter of 2012 as a result of the expensive new Florida studio, fewer film projects and the expensive price tags of some of its new efforts.