End of an Era for Technicolor As It Sells Postproduction Business

The Lion King Live-Action Still 17 - Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Technicolor-owned VFX company MPC will work on Disney’s new 'Lion King' prequel

The global postproduction landscape is going through a dramatic change with a deal involving one of Hollywood’s largest (and oldest) players.

Two months after post giant Company 3 was sold to VFX house Framestore, holding company Streamland Media — the parent of leading audio post facility Formosa Group as well as such companies as Picture Shop and Picture Head — revealed its intent Jan. 14 to acquire Technicolor’s post business for $36.5 million. Expected to close in the first half of the year, the deal is backed by investment firms Trive Capital and Five Crowns Capital.

As part of the buy, Streamland CEO Bill Romeo plans to expand its talent pool and global reach by merging the Technicolor Post business into Streamland’s post businesses, which also include Ghost VFX, The Farm Group and Finalé Post. Technicolor’s sizable TV audio post business, for instance, could further grow Formosa, one of Hollywood’s largest sound companies, home to Oscar winners including Karen Baker Landers, Per Hallberg and Mark Mangini.

The deal also means that Technicolor — a century-old brand synonymous with motion picture color and widely recognized for its contributions to classics like 1939’s The Wizard of Oz — effectively exits the color grading business. It’s not a complete surprise as Technicolor has been struggling; in 2020, the France-headquartered business went through a restructuring after filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 15.

Technicolor plans to stay in the business with a principal focus on its visual effects and animation companies MPC, The Mill, Mr. X and Mikros Animation, which service film, TV, advertising, gaming and live events and are not part of the deal. (MPC has seen recent success with its innovative work on The Lion King and VFX Oscar winner 1917; however, a little more than a year ago, it also shut down its Vancouver facility. Upcoming VFX projects include Disney’s live-action adaptations of The Little Mermaid and Pinocchio as well as its The Lion King prequel.)

Technicolor also maintains its connected home business, which includes its broadband gateway boxes and set-top boxes, as well as home entertainment services such as DVD mastering and replication. Technicolor CEO Richard Moat says that the sale of its post division was part of a “long-term vision” for the service “to focus on VFX and animation for the entertainment industry and creative services and technologies for the advertising industry.”

This story first appeared in the Jan. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.