Movie Picture Company (MPC), the animation studio behind the live-action Sonic the Hedgehog character redesign, closed its Vancouver location on December 11. In a company email obtained by CBC News, the film animation and visual effects studio cited “Increasing external market pressures” in Vancouver as well as more attractive opportunities in other locations.
The Vancouver studio won an Academy Award for 2012’s Life of Pi. At its peak in 2013, the location employed more than 800 artists. The studio worked on the VFX for Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel. Their more recent projects include multiple live-action Disney remakes and Detective Pikachu for Warner Bros.
Following the initial reaction to Paramount’s first trailer for the live-action Sonic, fan backlash prompted a character redesign. The studio recruited MPC Vancouver to front the changes to a warmer reception.
Sonic tries to navigate the complexities of life on Earth with his newfound best friend — a human named Tom Wachowski. They must soon join forces to prevent the evil Dr. Robotnik from capturing Sonic and using his powers for world domination.
Jeff Fowler directed while Pat Casey, Josh Miller, Oren Uziel, Van Robinchaux, and Evan Susser wrote. The film is based on the popular Sega video game franchise. The film stars James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Jim Carrey, and Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic.
Characters in the Sonic franchise appeared in over 90 titles for Sega. He’s even appeared in a number of titles for the company’s one-time rival Nintendo from their Mario v Sonic Olympics series to the Super Smash Bros franchise. The mascot also appeared in a series of American comics, manga and multiple animated series in the US and Japan.
Sonic the Hedgehog comes to theaters February 14.