Business & Economy

VFX company Sony Imageworks moving to Vancouver; 270 LA-area jobs up in the air

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2"

Sony Pictures Imageworks — the visual-effects company behind "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" and "Edge of Tomorrow" — is relocating its headquarters to Vancouver, Canada, from Culver City, the company announced Friday. 

The company — which currently employs about 270 in Culver City — will take over a new 74,000-square-foot building next year, which will accommodate up to 700 employees, the Vancouver Sun reported. About 150 of the firm's visual-effects technicians already work in Vancouver.

It's unclear what will happen to the current Culver City workers, reported.

Its current and future big-ticket projects include Disney/Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy, Columbia's Pixels, the Angry Birds movie, and Sony's Hotel Transylvania 2 and the untitled Smurfs sequel — all of which will be spearheaded by the Vancouver team as the company preps its move into a new 74,000-square-foot state of the art facility in Vancouver?s Pacific Centre.

Imageworks' move is part of the ongoing trend of such jobs moving out of Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The move will allow the company to cut costs by capitalizing on generous tax breaks that aren't available in California.

Film companies operating in British Columbia, the province in which Vancouver is located, can recoup about 60 percent of what they spend on local labor costs. Those incentives have made Vancouver a major hub for film and TV production, as well as visual-effects work.

Some Imageworks staff will remain in Culver City, at least for the foreseeable future, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

That includes Ken Ralston, the company's four-time Academy Award winning senior VFX supervisor, as well as CTO/VFX supervisor Rob Bredow ("Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs") and VFX supervisors Daniel Kramer ("Edge of Tomorrow"), Jerome Chen ("The Amazing Spider-Man 2"), Scott Stokdyk ("Oz The Great and Powerful"), Jay Redd ("Men In Black 3") and Pete Travers ("Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2").

Sony Pictures Imageworks