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Legendary Pictures Buys Lunch For Rhythm & Hues Artists

Life of Pi Film Still - H 2013

The gesture follows Thursday’s VFX "Pi Day" town hall meeting.

Legendary Pictures picked up lunch on Saturday for overtime employees at bankrupt VFX studio Rhythm & Hues.

It followed a similar gesture by the Animation Guild, Local 839 of IATSE, which earlier this month bought Saturday lunch for the studio’s artists.

R&H—which filed for bankruptcy protection on Feb. 13 and is scheduled to be auctioned on March 27—has typically provided lunch and dinner during overtime, which was apparently eliminated as a cost-cutting measure due to its bankruptcy, according to an employee.

GUEST COLUMN: Why VFX Houses Lose Money on Big Movies

A part of an email to R&H employees read: “Legendary has arranged for lunch on Saturday and a treat on Sunday for everyone working this weekend! On Saturday they are providing lunch from Border Grill food truck and on Sunday an ice cream treat from Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwich truck. … Please enjoy courtesy of our super cool and generous clients at Legendary Pictures!”

R&H remains operational thanks to $17 million in loans from Universal and Fox enabling the studio to continue work on Universal’s ., scheduled for release July 19; and Fox’s , scheduled for Aug. 16.

Also keeping R&H going is $5 million in financing from Legendary, which will pay R&H for the completion of VFX work on their movie, , which Warner Bros. plans to release on Oct. 18.

, a medieval adventure starring Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, is a special type of project for R&H. It’s the third film, following and , where the VFX studio acts as a co-investor/co-producer. The March 2010 agreement with Legendary Pictures entitles R&H to participation in the box office performance of the film, though that is contingent upon actually finishing work.

PHOTOS: The Making of ‘Life of Pi’

Pi Day – a multi-city international meeting of VFX artists – took place Thursday evening amid rising concern about the state of the industry. During the evening several speakers proposed a plan that involves the formation of a union for VFX artists and of a trade association for visual effects facilities, all aimed at addressing the troubled VFX business model.

An estimated 250 attendees participated in the Los Angeles town hall meeting, which was also streamed live and involved additionally group participation from roughly 75 VFX personnel in the Bay area, 25 in Vancouver, five in Austin, and 10 in Wellington, NZ.


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