'Sausage Party' Animation House Nitrogen Studios Acquired by Cinesite

Sausage Party Still 1-H 2016
Courtesy of Sony Pictures

The deal gives Cinesite a bigger profile in Vancouver for VFX and animated feature work after earlier merging with rival studio Image Engine.

British digital visual effects company Cinesite has expanded in Canada by acquiring Vancouver-based Nitrogen Studios.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Nitrogen last year became caught up in a pay dispute with local animators over work done for Seth Rogen's Sausage Party, which was produced by Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures and released by Sony Pictures.

Nitrogen Studios, which currently employs 70 creative and production staff, also did animation work on the iconic kids show Thomas and Friends and is at work on Guillermo del Toro’s Trollhunters for Dreamworks. Cinesite in July 2015 merged with another Vancouver animation studio, Image Engine.

"As one of the largest independent studio brands producing visual effects and animation, this acquisition delivers to our group the same capacity in Vancouver that we already have in Montreal, both for VFX and feature animation," Antony Hunt, CEO of Cinesite Studios Group, said Tuesday in a statement.

Cinesite gave no word on the current status of the Nitrogen Studios management, other than to say the U.K. parent will "be working with the Nitrogen senior team to develop a clear strategy to fast-track the Vancouver facility into the Cinesite Studios brand."

Nicole Stinn, principal at Nitrogen, in her own statement said: "We have known the folks at Cinesite for a long time and have admired what they have achieved over the past few years. When the opportunity presented for us to make our home with them, we knew it was right for all our stakeholders, staff, customers, suppliers and collaborators."