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Technicolor Buys Toronto VFX Studio Mr. X

Company Will Operate Separately Alongside MPC, Addressing TV and Independent Feature Markets

Technicolor is purchasing the Toronto VFX studio Mr. X, which it will operate alongside The Moving Picture Company (MPC) as a wholly owned subsidiary within Technicolor's Production Services Division, the company said today. MPC will remain as Technicolor's flagship VFX provider for studio and advertising clients, and the two companies are expected to retain their own distinct identities. 

Mr. X President Dennis Berardi, who co-founded the company in 2001, will become global managing director of Mr. X, reporting to Technicolor President of Production Services Tim Sarnoff. Mr. X will be the company's brand for television VFX services, while continuing to work on genre features and international film co-productions. In addition to Mr. X's work on features including RoboCop and Anchorman: The Legend Continues, the company is also well-known for its work on television series such as History Channel's Vikings, Showtime's Penny Dreadful, and FX's upcoming The Strain.

Sarnoff told StudioDaily that none of Mr. X's more than 200 jobs in Toronto and New York are expected to be lost, with both offices remaining open and in growth mode. "The head count remains the same," he said, "and we intend to grow that head count."

The acquisition came about, according to Sarnoff, because Mr. X was already involved in markets where Technicolor sought a broader presence. "Mr. X is a fabulous brand and a great studio with Dennis in charge that has been working directly in the spaces that Technicolor has been interested in — co-financing independent films and TV product — and their presence in Toronto was also of interest," Sarnoff said. "Technicolor has a good relationship with those types of producers and directors in our post space, and this will give our clients a more rounded experience, including the opportunity to work with us on visual effects."

Mr. X has been taking advantage of co-production opportunities in independent film for years, Berardi said, pointing to the company's involvement with titles including A History of Violence, A Dangerous Method, Pompeii, and all five Resident Evil movies. The Technicolor acquisition, he said, will make Mr. X a more valuable partner for producers.

"It's not the major studios that finance those movies but independent producers who go around the world, selling into various jurisdictions, leveraging tax credits, and partnering with us to define the scope of the work," Berardi said. "We live and breathe in that space. I find it very exciting, and I'm very comfortable there. So the most important thing for me in this whole deal is that it will enhance Mr. X's service offerings to those types of producers."

Those enhancements include access to Technicolor's global infrastructure, including DI and audio post, Berardi said, not to mention on-set image processing and other services. "There's so much more we can bring to the table now," he said.

Technicolor said it will provide no details on the financial terms of the acquisition, which is subject to approval by the Canadian Government.

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