Peter Jackson sells visual effects studio behind LOTR for $1.6B

Director Peter Jackson

Director Peter Jackson
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson, in addition to the mountains of cash he’s received from his many film endeavors, will add a whopping $1.6 billion to his pile with the sale of his visual effects studio Weta Digital to video game software developer Unity. Unity is known for games such as Fall Guys, Pokémon Go, and Call Of Duty: Mobile.

In a statement shared by Unity on Tuesday, it’s been revealed the company will purchase Weta Digital’s “tools, pipeline, technology, and engineering talent.” The six-time Academy Award winning studio has aided in the creation of films and series such as Avatar, Black Widow, Game Of Thrones, Lord Of The Rings, Planet Of The Apes, and The Suicide Squad.

In the exchange, Unity will acquire Weta’s 275 engineers that are known for architecting, building, and maintaining Weta Digital tools and core pipeline; tools such as Manuka, Gazebo, Barbershop, Lumberjack, Loki, Squid, Koru; a foundational data platform for interoperable 3D art creation, and a library of thousands of assets.

“We are thrilled to democratize these industry-leading tools and bring the genius of Sir Peter Jackson and Weta’s amazing engineering talent to life for artists everywhere,” Unity president John Riccitiello says.

Weta Digital’s visual effects teams will continue to exist as a standalone entity called WetaFX, which Jackson will maintains majority ownership over.

This WetaFX team of artists and engineers developed the company’s artist pipeline and set of tools to conduct advanced facial capture and manipulation, anatomical modeling, advanced simulation and deformation of objects in movement, procedural hair and fur modeling, and more.

“Weta Digital’s tools created unlimited possibilities for us to bring to life the worlds and creatures that originally lived in our imaginations,” said Sir Peter Jackson. “Together, Unity and Weta Digital can create a pathway for any artist, from any industry, to be able to leverage these incredibly creative and powerful tools.”

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