Michael Bay Buys His Very Own FX Company

by | May 16, 2006 | Comments

Michael Bay already owns his own production company (Platinum Dunes), so obviously he has to own his own FX house! This explains why the "Transformers" director and a partner dropped what must have been a LOT of cash to purchase well-regarded FX company Digital Domain.

Digital Domain, the Academy Award®-winning full-service digital studio and production company responsible for jaw-dropping visual sequences in such films as "Titanic," "The Day After Tomorrow" and "I, Robot" as well as commercials such as the recent Budweiser Super Bowl "Superfan" spot, has been acquired by South Florida-based Wyndcrest Holdings, LLC, a group led by director Michael Bay and investor John Textor.

Carl Stork, a long-time senior Microsoft executive and principal of Wyndcrest Holdings, has been elected chief executive officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Digital Domain, replacing Scott Ross who is stepping down as CEO and remaining a consultant to the company. C. Bradley Call will remain president and chief operating officer. Bay and Textor will co-chair the Board of Directors.

"At a time when every top grossing motion picture is relying on digital visual effects to help tell compelling and entertaining stories, we believe this translates into a bright future for companies in this field, and we believe Digital Domain represented a unique opportunity to invest," said Stork, whose accomplishments at Microsoft included leading the development of Windows® 95/98. "The creative and talented team at Digital Domain has a great reputation in both the feature film business and in the commercial advertising community for high-quality, award-winning work. Adding the expertise, business acumen and diverse relationships of the Wyndcrest principals will allow Digital Domain to capitalize on the rapidly expanding opportunities in the entertainment business.

"On behalf of all involved with Digital Domain, I would like to thank Scott Ross for his remarkable contributions as a founder and leader of the company over the past 13 years," Stork said. "We intend to draw on his advice and counsel over the coming years and we wish him well in his future endeavors."

"Having worked with Digital Domain in the past, I am well aware of the talent and creativity of the team here, and understand first-hand why the company has a well-earned reputation for creative and high-quality work," said Bay. "Rapidly evolving digital visual effects technology is going to allow motion picture directors to tell even more compelling and visually stunning stories in the future, and we believe that Digital Domain is uniquely positioned to take advantage of these new technologies, as well as new distribution channels and platforms."

"Digital Domain is well-positioned with exceptional people and leading technology at a time when reliance on visual effects is increasing in every sector of entertainment," said Textor, who has known Bay since their days at Wesleyan University and has been his business partner for eight years. "We look forward to combining these attributes with a renewed commitment to build the commercial and film industries’ leading director-centric visual effects business. Through the addition of new capital and the appropriate strategic relationships, we are also committed to the extension of the Digital Domain business into the direct development of animated films and effects-reliant live action films."

"While we all believe we’ve accomplished a great deal in the industry, we’re incredibly enthusiastic about the future as we believe this new ownership group will provide the necessary capital and strategic resources to allow us to grow our business profitably in both feature films and in advertising while retaining an environment that encourages our artists to strive for ever-greater heights of creative excellence," said Call, a decade-long Digital Domain executive who assumed the presidency of Digital Domain, as well as day-to-day responsibility for leading the company, in 2002.

"We know that our future depends on continuing to satisfy the creative needs of our clients in a manner, and on a budget, that other competitors cannot match," Call added.

Stork will take over as Digital Domain CEO effective immediately.

–Digital Domain press release courtesy of ComingSoon.net.

In addition to the three titles mentioned above, Digital Domain also provided visual effects for movies such as "True Lies" (their first flick), "Apollo 13," "The Fifth Element," "Armageddon," "Fight Club," "X-Men," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Stealth," "Aeon Flux," and the upcoming "My Super Ex-Girlfriend."

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