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IndustryMotion pictures, performance capture & CGI animation
Founded1997; 23 years ago (1997)
FoundersRobert Zemeckis
Jack Rapke
Steve Starkey
HeadquartersNovato, California, U.S.
Key people
Robert Zemeckis, Doug Chiang, Steve Starkey, Jack Rapke
ProductsMotion pictures

ImageMovers is an American independent film production company founded by director Robert Zemeckis and producers Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey in 1997. The company is known for producing such films as Cast Away (2000), What Lies Beneath (2000) and The Polar Express (2004). From 2007 to 2011, The Walt Disney Company and ImageMovers founded a joint venture animation facility known as ImageMovers Digital which produced two performance captured animated films: A Christmas Carol (2009) and Mars Needs Moms (2011) for Walt Disney Pictures.


Early years (1997–2007)[edit]

ImageMovers' first eight films were What Lies Beneath (with Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer), Cast Away (with Tom Hanks), Matchstick Men (with Nicolas Cage), The Polar Express (also with Tom Hanks), The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (with Julianne Moore), Last Holiday (with Queen Latifah), Monster House (with Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, and Steve Buscemi), and Beowulf (with Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Robin Wright Penn, and Angelina Jolie).

Disney/ImageMovers Digital (2007–2010)[edit]

ImageMovers Digital logo

In 2007, The Walt Disney Company and ImageMovers set up a joint venture animation facility known as ImageMovers Digital, a Marin County-based film company where Zemeckis would produce and direct 3D animated films using performance capture technology.[1]

On November 6, 2009, ImageMovers Digital released their first film A Christmas Carol, a performance capture film based on the Charles Dickens book of the same name and starring Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Cary Elwes each in multiple roles. On March 12, 2010, Disney and ImageMovers announced that ImageMovers Digital would close operations by January 2011 after production on Mars Needs Moms was completed. Resulting in a lay-off of approximately 450 employees,[2] Walt Disney Studios president Alan Bergman said, "...given today's economic realities, we need to find alternative ways to bring creative content to audiences and IMD no longer fits into our business model."[3] The company had previously been reported to have Calling All Robots,[4] a Yellow Submarine remake,[5] a Roger Rabbit sequel[6] and The Nutcracker[7] in development. Disney dropped all of these projects following the box-office failure of Mars Needs Moms.[8]

Universal Pictures (2011–present)[edit]

In August 2011, it was announced that ImageMovers has entered a two-year first-look producing deal with Universal Pictures.[9]


Year Film Co-production/distributor Budget Gross
2000 What Lies Beneath DreamWorks
20th Century Fox
$100 million $291.4 million
Cast Away $90 million $429.6 million
2003 Matchstick Men Warner Bros. Entertainment $62 million $65.6 million
2004 The Polar Express Warner Bros. Entertainment
Castle Rock Entertainment
Shangri-La Entertainment
$165 million $310.6 million
2005 The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio DreamWorks $12 million $689,028
2006 Last Holiday Paramount Pictures $45 million $43.3 million
Monster House Columbia Pictures
Amblin Entertainment
$75 million $140.2 million
2007 Beowulf Paramount Pictures (US)
Warner Bros. Entertainment (International)
$150 million $196.4 million
2011 Real Steel DreamWorks
Touchstone Pictures
$110 million $299.3 million
2012 Flight Paramount Pictures
$31 million $161.8 million
2015 The Walk[10] TriStar Productions
TriStar Pictures
$35-45 million $61.2 million
2016 Allied Paramount Pictures
GK Films
$85-113 million $120 million
2018 Welcome to Marwen Universal Pictures[11] $39-50 million $12.9 million
2020 Chaos Walking Lionsgate $90-100 million
Bios Universal Pictures
Amblin Entertainment
The Witches Warner Bros. Entertainment
Esperanto Filmoj
The Jim Henson Company
TBA Steel Soldiers[12] STX Entertainment

ImageMovers Digital[edit]

Year Film Co-production/distributor Budget Gross
2009 A Christmas Carol Walt Disney Pictures $175–200 million $325.3 million
2011 Mars Needs Moms $150 million $38 million

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reuters (February 5, 2007). "Disney, "Polar Express" director in animation deal". Reuters. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  2. ^ Eller, Claudia (March 13, 2010). "Disney to shut ImageMovers Digital studio". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  3. ^ Finke, Nikki (March 12, 2010). "Disney Closing Zemeckis' Digital Studio". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  4. ^ Graser, Marc (March 26, 2008). "Michael Dougherty calls 'All Robots'". Variety. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
  5. ^ The Walt Disney Studios (September 11, 2009). "The Walt Disney Studios, The Beatles' Apple Corps Ltd., and Oscar(R)-Winning Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis Dive Into New Magical 3D Adaptation of the 1968 Classic Yellow Submarine". PR Newswire. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  6. ^ Ditzian, Eric (November 3, 2009). "EXCLUSIVE: Robert Zemeckis Indicates He'll Use Performance-Capture And 3-D In 'Roger Rabbit' Sequel". MTV. Archived from the original on November 3, 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  7. ^ Rowles, Dustin (November 11, 2009). "Robert Zemeckis to Uglimate The Nutcracker". Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  8. ^ Kit, Borys (March 14, 2011). "Disney torpedoes Zemeckis' "Yellow Submarine"". Reuters. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  9. ^ Fleming, Mike (August 2, 2011). "Universal Makes Two-Year Deal With Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers". Deadline. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  10. ^ Cieply, Micahel (May 17, 2015). "Tom Rothman's High-Wire Act at Sony Pictures". The New York Times. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  11. ^ "Film releases". Variety Insight. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (February 6, 2018). "Robert Zemeckis, STX, Alibaba Partner on Sci-Fi Film 'Steel Soldiers'". Variety. Retrieved April 2, 2018.

External links[edit]