Imagi Animation Studios

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Imagi Animation Studios Limited
Public SEHK
Industry CGI animation
Founded 2000
  • Michael Kao
  • Francis Kao
Defunct 2012
Headquarters Chai Wan, Hong Kong
Key people
  • President & Co-CEO: Francis Kao
  • Chairman: Francis Leung Pak To
  • Executive Director & Co-CEO: Soh Szu Wei
Owner Imagi International Holdings Limited
Number of employees
400 in Hong Kong[1]
Parent Boto
Slogan Turn Imagination into Reality

Imagi Animation Studios (a.k.a. Imagi Studios) is an animation studio that was established in 2000 by Imagi International Holdings Limited (SEHK585), a listed company on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.


In 1983 Michael Kao establishes Boto in Hong Kong, which grew to become the world's leading manufacturer of artificial Christmas trees and related products.

Michael Kao's son, Francis, joined Boto in 1999, which embarks on a number of new initiatives including DrFestive, targeted at creating a brand for the company's Christmas trees. The company commences on a new course under the direction of Francis Kao, who brings to life his vision of a world-class CG animation studio in Asia.

Imagi Animation Studios is set up in 2000, and production starts on its first project, the CG-animated television series, Zentrix.

In 2002 the artificial Christmas tree business unit is sold to The Carlyle Group for US $120 million. Boto is renamed Imagi International Holdings Limited.

The company has a studio in Chai Wan, Hong Kong, as well as a creative development and production facility in Los Angeles, California and a satellite office in Tokyo.

The company's first major CG-animated theatrical movie, TMNT was released March 23, 2007 by Warner Bros. in the U.S. and Canada, opening No. 1 at the box office, and was being distributed internationally by The Weinstein Company. Imagi's focus is to create high-quality CG-animated feature films with superhero themes to entertain global audiences, which the company achieves by combining Hollywood storytelling with computer animation done in Hong Kong.


In January 2009 Imagi's auditing firm announced that the studio lacked funding to complete the release of films Cat Tale (which was to have been released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer[2]) and Gatchaman, and art director Felix Ip reported that Gatchaman's release was not expected until later in 2009.[3] In June 2009 Imagi opened Gatchaman to licensing partners and announced a 3-D theatrical release for 2011.[4]

In January 2010, Imagi's Hong Kong based parent company Imagi International Holdings Limited announced that the Gatchaman project will be "delivered in 100% Stereoscopic 3D", and that in order to safeguard working capital it closed its United States subsidiaries. This closure was finalized in late January with the layoff of approximately 30 staffers, and the retaining of a few key personnel who will continue to work as consultants as Imagi seeks $30 million from investors to continue its animation projects.[5][6][7]

On February 7, 2010, Imagi Animation Studios closed down.[1][2][3]

As of July 21, 2010, Imagi Studios Group claims to be debt-free.


Feature films[edit]

Short films[edit]

  • The RRF in New Recruit (2010)
  • Astro Boy vs. The Junkyard Pirates (2010)

TV series[edit]



  1. ^ Ho, Pui Yan (2009-03-16). 意馬新動畫《阿童木》決定400港產創意壯士前路. MoneyMonday (in Chinese) (Hong Kong: Ming Pao). p. B3. 
  2. ^ Cat Tale at Animation Magazine
  3. ^ It closed its doors as Imagi to assume another company name as to avoid any unclaimed debts to investors and staff. "Astro Boy maintenu, Gatchaman sur la corde raide" (in French). Otakia. 9 January 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2010. [dead link]
  4. ^ Tribbey, Chris (3 June 2009). "Imagi Seeks Licensing Deals for ‘Gatchaman’". Home Media Magazine. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "Imagi Animation Studio Closes Los Angeles Office". Anime News Network. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  6. ^ McLean, Thomas J. (29 January 2010). "Imagi Closes L.A. Studio". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  7. ^ Gediminas, J. (26 January 2010). "Imagi International Holdings Ltd (OTCBB: IINHY) Still In Talks To Raise Capital". Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  8. ^ Vejvoda, Jim (August 4, 2013). "Footage From the Unproduced Legend of Zelda CG-Animated Movie". IGN. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 

External links[edit]