Legendary Pictures Buys Lunch for Rhythm & Hues Artists

Fox 2000 Pictures

The gesture follows Thursday's VFX "Pi Day" town hall meeting.

Legendary Pictures picked up lunch on Saturday for overtime employees at bankrupt VFX studio Rhythm & Hues.

It followed a similar gesture by the Animation Guild, Local 839 of IATSE, which earlier this month bought Saturday lunch for the studio’s artists.

R&H -- which filed for bankruptcy protection on Feb. 13 and is scheduled to be auctioned on March 27 -- has typically provided lunch and dinner during overtime, which was apparently eliminated as a cost-cutting measure due to its bankruptcy, according to an employee.

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A part of an email to R&H employees read: “Legendary has arranged for lunch on Saturday and a treat on Sunday for everyone working this weekend! On Saturday, they are providing lunch from Border Grill food truck, and on Sunday an ice cream treat from Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwich truck. … Please enjoy, courtesy of our super cool and generous clients at Legendary Pictures!”

R&H remains operational thanks to $17 million in loans from Universal and Fox enabling the studio to continue work on Universal's R.I.P.D., scheduled for release July 19; and Fox's Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, scheduled for Aug. 16.

Also keeping R&H going is $5 million in financing from Legendary, which will pay R&H for the completion of VFX work on their movie, Seventh Son, which Warner Bros. plans to release on Oct. 18.

Seventh Son, a medieval adventure starring Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, is a special type of project for R&H. It's the third film, following Yogi Bear 3D and Hop, where the VFX studio acts as a co-investor/co-producer. The March 2010 agreement with Legendary Pictures entitles R&H to participation in the box office performance of the film, though that is contingent upon actually finishing work.

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Pi Day -- a multi-city international meeting of VFX artists -- took place Thursday evening amid rising concern about the state of the industry. During the evening several speakers proposed a plan that involves the formation of a union for VFX artists and of a trade association for visual effects facilities, all aimed at addressing the troubled VFX business model.

An estimated 250 attendees participated in the Los Angeles town hall meeting, which was also streamed live and involved additional group participation from roughly 75 VFX personnel in the Bay area, 25 in Vancouver, five in Austin, and 10 in Wellington, NZ.