Framestore’s next expansion will take place in Mumbai, where the company plans to open a “full digital production facility” in suburban Goregaon in 2020.
The new studio in the Nesco IT Park will extend Framestore’s investment in India after its purchase of a stake in Pune VFX house Anibrain from Jesh Krishna Murthy in September 2017. Murthy will be a production partner in the new Mumbai facility, the company said.
Framestore said it will look to open the new Mumbai facility with a staff of 500, combining existing Framestore personnel with local talent.
“The fact of the matter is there’s a need for capacity,” said Framestore founder and CEO Sir William Sargent in a prepared statement. “We need a certain headcount to take advantage of global industry growth, and Mumbai is a logical next step.”
Interest in the Indian VFX market remains strong, with analysts expecting strong growth over the next several years. In August, KPMG estimated that the Indian VFX and post-production has grown at a compound annual rate of 19.4% since 2014, reaching ₹68.4 billion ($950 million) in 2019. The firm estimates even stronger growth through 2024, when it expects the industry to be valued at ₹147.2 billion ($2.05 billion) — a compound annual growth rate of 16.6%.
Framestore’s current film projects include Disney’s Artemis Fowl and Mulan as well as The King’s Man and Dolittle. It delivered all of the VFX for the first season of His Dark Materials, currently airing on the BBC and HBO, including the creation of 50 different animal-like daemons and panserbjørn polar bears. It has also designed and installed an integrated digital content system at the Hudson Yards development in Manhattan and created ride media for five attractions at the recently opened Lionsgate Entertainment World theme park on Hengqin Island, China.
Framestore is majority-owned by China’s Cultural Investment Holdings, which took a 75% stake in the company in 2016, though Sargent still runs the business with his management team.