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Animation house C.O.R.E. shuts down, Cookie Jar lays off 35

In a surprise move, Toronto-based animation and visual effects house C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures closed its doors late Monday, putting approximately 150 employees out of work. And in an unrelated move, Cookie Jar Entertainment, whose HQ is also in Toronto, said it has cut 35 animation production jobs as it refocuses more on live-action programming during the economic downturn.
March 17, 2010

In a surprise move, Toronto-based animation and visual effects house C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures closed its doors late Monday, putting approximately 150 employees out of work. And in an unrelated move, Cookie Jar Entertainment, whose HQ is also in Toronto, said it has cut 35 animation production jobs as it refocuses more on live-action programming during the economic downturn.

Bob Munroe, who launched C.O.R.E. Digital in 1994 along with William Shatner, John Mariella and Kyle Menzies, in an email on March 16 confirmed the sudden closure of the effects house.

Munroe could not be reached for additional comment at press time.

The website canadiananimationresources.ca late Monday first reported that around 150 employees at work on Nickelodeon’s Planet Sheen project were called to a hastily arranged meeting at C.O.R.E. Digital and told an apparent cash crunch had ended their employment as the company tipped into receivership.

The effects credits at C.O.R.E. Digital, dating back to Shatner’s 1994 sci-fi series Tekwar, included the 2006 Disney CGI film The Wild, The Tudors and Vincenzo Natali’s upcoming creature feature Splice.

Elsewhere, Cookie Jar Entertainment said it was cutting 35 animation jobs to do more live action programming.

‘We are re-aligning our resources and investments in response to the current environment in the global economy and new opportunities in our industry,’ the prodco said in a statement.

‘Consequently, we have made the difficult decision to right-size our activities, mainly in animation, so that we can invest further and faster in live-action programming to complement our industry-leading animation library,’ the company added.

Cookie Jar said it was expanding consumer products subsidiary CPLG and shifting the licensing agency’s headquarters to London, England, and would continue to maintain its 16 offices around the world.

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