India-headquartered creative powerhouse enhances 3D visual experience of ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’

After delivering award-winning 3D conversion on Academy® Award winner Gravity, Prime Focus World (PFW), the creative services subsidiary of global media and entertainment industry services leader Prime Focus, has provided stereo VFX services for Transformers: Age of Extinction. PFW also delivered stereo services for the earlier installment of the mega franchise, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which released in 2011. 

PFW contributed a combination of stereo effects and 2D visual effects that spanned more than 70 minutes of the film, undoubtedly the most awaited release this summer. The US$ 2.6 billion franchise’s fourth installment has received an incredible opening weekend BO run of US$300 mn of which US$ 100 mn came from the US and an incredible US$ 90 mn from China, now the world’s second largest film market. 

Working closely with director Michael Bay and Paramount Pictures’ Executive Stereographer Corey Turner, Prime Focus’ creative teams across Mumbai and Vancouver helped deliver a stunning stereo film - it has rockets, it has explosions, it has got a huge amount of very high quality CG and very fast-paced action sequences - everything you would expect from a Transformers movie! 

“3D contribution to BO revenues has seen a steady climb post the runaway success of Gravity. There is a massive revival of interest in 3D movies to levels that existed post the success of Avatar. Our summer line up is testimony to this renewed interest in 3D,” said Namit Malhotra, Founder, Executive Chairman & Group CEO of Prime Focus Limited. “We kicked off the season with Maleficent and followed it up with Edge of Tomorrow. We are proud and honored to be associated with a visionary like Michael Bay on a tent pole like Transformers.” 

The movie which is rocking BO worldwide and all set to surpass the China BO records set by Avatar is also receiving positive feedback for its impressive use of 3D. As international magazine Variety states, “Michael Bay continues to evolve ways to make robotic shape-shifting look increasingly seamless and realistic in 3D... As the sine qua non of the franchise, it’s the robots — endowed here with character-rich physicality and almost human-scaled facial features — who give the film its emotional heft.” 

“The stereo VFX work we delivered for Transformers: Age of Extinction is exceptional, and helps make the film a great 3D visual experience for the audience,” said Merzin Tavaria, Chief Creative Director and Co-founder, Prime Focus. “Our main objective was to aid the storytelling with 3D and we successfully achieved this by giving the shots extreme scene depth, whilst ensuring the stereo to be believable and technically correct. It was a challenging project for the team – our vast stereo knowledge and experience helped in creating a stunning 3D film – the augmentation of native footage, integration of VFX elements and adding 3D moments. This hybrid approach allowed us to help produce one of the best stereo movies of the year.” 

Transformers 4 is a game changer of sorts as its success heralds the age of the globalized blockbuster – a film that succeeds in many markets around the world and not just the US. The film has strong connections with China which is intelligent and underlines the impact the mainland can have on the GBO destiny of a tentpole. In spite of severe restrictions on Hollywood imports, China with its state-of-the-art screening infrastructure and 3D crazy audiences is the holy grail of Hollywood wanting to expand its base. 

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Prime Focus is not just settle with  the recent achievement of merging giant VFX global player Double Negative but also there is further remarkable movement, in a transformational and industry game-changing move, Reliance Group, one of India’s leading business houses, and Prime Focus Ltd. (PFL), a global media and entertainment industry services leader, today announced the combination of the global film & media services business of Reliance MediaWorks’ (RMW) with Prime Focus Ltd. 

The combination of RMW – PFL and Academy® Award winning Double Negative, led by Matt Holben and Alex Hope, creates the world’s largest and the most integrated media services group with over 5500 people present across 20 locations offering visual effects, stereo 3D conversion, animation, and cloud-based digital media solutions that transcend the film, advertising and television industries. The combination brings instant benefits to global clients, with new levels of creativity, technology innovation, truly integrated Digital Media Services, unmatched scale, financial stability and sustainability. 

The body of work handled by the new powerhouse includes worldwide blockbusters and critically acclaimed films, such as The Dark Knight Trilogy, Transformers 4, Inception, Gravity, Harry Potter, and Avatar, to name a few. Equally within India, the PFL and RMW combination brings integrated services to the Bollywood industry from equipment rental, and shooting stages up to final digital distribution - a true one stop service. 

The combined group will also have the world’s first hybrid cloud-enabled Media ERP platform. This unique platform virtualizes the content supply chain and helps broadcasters, studios, brands, sports and digital businesses manage their business of content, by driving creative enablement, enhancing ecosystem efficiencies and sustainability, reducing costs and realizing new monetization opportunities. 

Namit Malhotra will be the Executive Chairman and Global CEO of Prime Focus Ltd. 

“We are hugely excited about the transformational growth opportunity created by the powerful combination of the global film and media services business of Reliance MediaWorks and Prime Focus,” said Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, Group Managing Director, Reliance Group. “Namit is an enormously passionate leader, who has created and run a highly successful global media services business. We are delighted to have the opportunity to support PFL as the Company moves to the next orbit of growth under Namit’s dynamic and ‘turbo-charged’ leadership”, he added. 

 

“This is a very exciting time in the life of Prime Focus”, said Namit Malhotra, Founder, Prime Focus and Executive Chairman & Group CEO, Prime Focus Group. “From being able to partner the world’s finest visual effects provider Double Negative, to having the Reliance Group come on board, to help mobilize our strategy in building the bridge between the West and the East. I am very confident about the benefits this combination brings to all our customers, employees and stakeholders worldwide.” 

“We are very pleased to combine our global film and media services business with Prime Focus,” said Venkatesh Roddam, CEO, Reliance MediaWorks. “This is a natural and synergistic combination that will optimize resources, and create enhanced value and new opportunities for all stakeholders, including customers in India and overseas, and our dedicated team of people”. 

RMW and the promoters of Prime Focus, Naresh and Namit Malhotra, will each infuse fresh equity capital of INR 120 crore into Prime Focus at INR 52 per share, through a preferential allotment, aggregating INR 240 crore. The equity proceeds will be used to fund the recent merger of Double Negative with PFW. 

As part of the transaction, the India and overseas operations of RMW’s Film and Media Services business, which has shown a significant turnaround towards profitability in the last few quarters, will be combined with PFL through a slump sale. The net consideration will be paid in the form of fresh equity shares of PFL valued at INR 52 per share. Post the preferential allotment and the business combination as above, the fully diluted shareholding of the promoters of PFL will be 33.5%, while RMW will be at 30.2%. 

The promoters of PFL and RMW simultaneously also announced the mandatory open offer in Prime Focus, to the extent of 26% of the fully diluted share capital of PFL, at INR 52 per share, in compliance with applicable SEBI rules and regulations. 

The combination will result in the immediate extension of Prime Focus’ infrastructure across India, UK and North America including inter alia: 

  • a total of one million sq. ft. of facilities including studio facilities in Film City, Mumbai

  • 30% stake in renowned Hollywood VFX house, Digital Domain, widely acclaimed for its award winning VFX work on Titanic and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button etc.
  • 100% ownership of Los Angeles-based digital film restoration firm, Lowry Digital, an Oscar winner for Scientific and Technical Achievement in 2012.

EY India was the exclusive Advisor to Reliance MediaWorks for the transaction, and Centrum Capital was the exclusive Advisor to Prime Focus.  

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Take a walk through the creative process of your favourite pizza! 

Domino's, India's fastest growing fast food service restaurant has launched its first televised ad campaign for its online order platform. The campaign created through the joint efforts of Eeksaurus and Contract advertising, blends together life stories of friends, spouses and siblings with live action and stop motion animation to detail the process of online delivery.

 

The concept of ‘OLO’ or ‘Online Order’ created by Contract is a perfect blend into Dominos long standing slogan of ‘Yeh Hai Rishton ka Time’, encouraging people of all age groups to bond over food. Placing an order over the Dominos online platform not only adds to the promise of ‘30 minutes or free’ but also helps the consumer to further experience the creating of their favourite product through a step-by-step process.

 

Suresh Eriyat, Founder & Director at Eeksaurus

Speaking on the creation of the campaign, Suresh Eriyat, Founder & Director at Eeksaurus says, “When Contract came to us with this script, they told us that they would like to add detail to the whole process of OLO. In the current market online delivery is commonly highlighted through underlining the website at the end of the shot, hence we choose to blend in with the story line to end with a lip smacking finish. With Dominos already being a beautiful product, live action helped us to accentuate its ‘yumminess’ that appeals to people across different age groups.” 

Sharing his thoughts on his experience Harneet Singh Rajpal, Vice President, Marketing from Dominos says, “Dominos was the first fast food service to launch an ecommerce platform in India. Launched three years back, 20% of our delivery revenue comes from our online service. With the rise of internet usage in India, consumers are getting savvier with online delivery. Furthermore, the use of smartphones has made online delivery more accessible and time saving. After active digital advertising for Online platform, we next wanted to explore traditional forms of media as well to take the Online Ordering service to masses. Eeksaurus has helped us share a fresh perspective on online delivery through detailing the process.”

Mayur Hola, Executive Creative Director from Contract Advertising further adds, “Dominos is the first QSR brand to build upon the concept of online delivery hence, we wanted to showcase its uniqueness. We created ‘OLO’ to stand for online delivery so as to make it fit into the common parlance terms as well as add an aspect of social currency. Whereas online delivery is usually conceived to be missing the personal touch, through this campaign we have tried to maintain the balance between the emotional and functional aspect of the brand. We wanted to showcase that every relationship signifies a different type of OLO, hence you will get to see a ‘Married wala OLO’ or a ‘Fukreywala OLO’.” Highlighting the brief, Pooja Malhotra, Senior Vice President from Contract Advertising says, “Through the brief given to us, we wanted to assimilate life stories of friends and family so as to create an emotional connect around the brand along with showcasing the functional ease & convenience of ordering online. The concept of combining animation and live action in the films has been a unique effort towards this endeavour and one of its first kinds in the category. Dominos has always been about celebrating relationships and hence aspects of personal relationships are portrayed through this campaign.”

Eeksaurus  through their effectual narrative and design centric approach have brought ideas that have enabled brands to break free from the clutter. The medium was never a challenge for these creative geniuses having pioneered in 2D, 3D, clay animation, stop animation, and now combining live action and creating pure live action films, Eeksaurus has successfully weaved stories by combining modern sensibilities to Indian aesthetic traditions. Eeksaurus was established with a core objective of creating ads with high quality live production combined with animation. Having worked with leading brands such as ICICI, Britannia Nurtrichoice, Horlicks, Sony Pix Films, Bank of Baroda, Sulekha.com, Google, Usha Janome, Woodland, Dulux, Cadbury Gems, BP, Ixigo, Levis and Channel [V] , Eeksaurus recognizes the need for fresh perspective in each campaign they work on

Eeksaurus further aims to create new and engaging campaigns further challenging itself to not only connect more to the consumer but also give brands the creative twist that they are on the constant look out for. 

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Prime Focus’ creative services subsidiary Prime Focus World and VFX house Double Negative have reached an agreement to merge, marking a major shift in the global visual effects market.

In an unprecedented move, global media and entertainment industry services leader Prime Focus Limited (BSE code: 532748) has announced the merger of its creative services subsidiary Prime Focus World (PFW) and Double Negative, one of the largest visual effects services providers to the global film industry. The agreement will create what is indisputably the world’s largest independent VFX, stereo conversion and Animation Company serving the Hollywood film industry. 

With the announcement of merge the roadmap is already ahead subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in July. 

London-based Double Negative is one of the world’s top vfx studios, founded in 1998 with a team of just 30, has grown to become one of the industry's success stories and is now Europe's largest independent provider of visual effects for Films got recognition from the Visual Effects Society (for Inception and Sherlock Holmes), BAFTA (for Inception and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2) and the Academy® Awards (for Inception).  Their recent work includes Transcendence and Godzilla. Shows currently in production include Jupiter Ascending, Interstellar, In The Heart of the Sea, Book of Exodus, Hercules, Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Terminator: Genesis, Insurgent, Grimsby, and Ant-Man. 

 A Still from Film Gravity

Prime Focus World, a subsidiary of Prime Focus Limited, provides visual effects, 3D conversion and animation services to major media and entertainment companies. PFW has brought its expertise to many wide release Hollywood films including Transformers: Age of Extinction, Gravity, Maleficent, Edge of Tomorrow, Noah, White House Down, The Wizard of Oz, The Great Gatsby, World War Z, Men in Black 3, Star Wars: Episode I, II & III, Dredd 3D, Total Recall, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Avatar. Shows currently in production include Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Expendables 3, Kingsmen: The Secret Service, Mortdecai and Hercules. 

Prime Focus World and Double Negative have worked together as co-lead vendors on a number of marquee Hollywood projects. They had the opportunity to closely watch each other perform, deliver and grow through the years. There is a great amount of mutual admiration, regard and trust in relationship across levels within both organizations. 

Both Prime Focus World and Double Negative have a power packed summer line up. Prime Focus World kick started the season with its work on Maleficent and Edge of Tomorrow. It is also the lead conversion house and a VFX provider on Transformers: Age of Extinction and the exclusive stereo VFX partner on Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. Prime Focus World is involved in almost half of all releases from the mainstream studios this summer where as Double Negative has delivered stunning visual effects for high-profile blockbusters such as Godzilla, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, Jupiter Ascending from Andy and Lana Wachowski, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, and Brett Ratner’s Hercules, among others.

As far as VFX Industry is concerned, Hollywood VFX is a 2.5 billion dollar opportunity. Double Negative is Europe’s largest independent VFX house and one of the most acclaimed in the world. So the focus is certainly on growing VFX business and market share.

The merger makes Double Negative a global VFX company that can leverage the best of creative talent, tax subsidies (Vancouver, London), and scale (4000 staff across US, UK, Canada, China and India). 

For Prime Focus the deal offers a clear path to growth where revenues would have more than doubled. With a combined order book of ~US$ 150 mn (INR 900 cr), the company will be in a strong position to sustain growth, generate free cash flows, pare down debt by ~30-40% over the next 4-6 quarters and offer significant value to its stakeholders. 

“Our business proposition is already recognized in other industries,” concluded Namit Malhotra who will return to Prime Focus Limited as Executive Chairman of the Board and Group CEO. “The delivery of unmatched creative design and development by the best that the West has to offer, supplemented by the unbeatable infrastructure, scale and cost efficiency of the East. We are establishing a new and sustainable direction for our company, whilst ensuring both growth for our investors and huge financial benefits for our clients. This is a substantive validation of Prime Focus’ phenomenal growth story, and marks the beginning of a new trajectory for the company.” 

The new VFX business, which will trade under the ‘Double Negative’ brand, will be led by Double Negative’s current management team of Alex Hope (Managing Director) and Matthew Holben (CEO). In addition to the existing creative talent at its London and Singapore facilities, Double Negative will be opening in Vancouver by bringing key talent and technology besides having complete access to all production and technology infrastructure in India.

“We have ambitious plans to build on what we’ve achieved in VFX over the last 15 years,” said Double Negative’s management team of Matthew Holben (CEO) and Alex Hope (Managing Director). “This deal allows Double Negative to develop into a truly global operation that provides great work for our clients and great opportunities for our staff.”

The holding structure for the new entity will be a 100% subsidiary of Prime Focus World which is the creative services subsidiary of BSE/NSE listed Prime Focus Limited.

The transaction will be supported by Standard Chartered Private Equity, Macquarie Capital and AID Capital Partners, all existing investors in Prime Focus entities, and existing bankers across the Group, Centrum Capital. The existing investors will be providing equity and debt financing for the transaction. 

This transformative deal is definitely going to takes Prime Focus World to the Number 1 position in the world as an integrated creative services provider to Hollywood. On the technology side, PFT recently acquired DAX to fuel its strategic expansion in North American market. 

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Mr. Naresh Malhotra, Chairman of Prime Focus, received the prestigious and much coveted 'Dadasaheb Phalke Award' this year, for his immense contribution to, and excellence in the video and films industry. He was honored at a ceremony held in Mumbai, where Hon'ble Governor of Maharashtra, K. Sankaranarayanan, was the chiefs guest. 

Accepting this accolade, Naresh Malhotra, Chairman of Prime Focus said, “I am humbled to receive the Shri Dadasaheb Phalke Award. I would like to extend my gratitude to the Government of India for recognizing my contribution in the world of cinema, and honoring me with the highest award in the industry.” 

“During my 40 year professional journey, I have been involved in every facet of the entertainment industry, from direction to production, and seen Prime Focus grow from a garage company to a global success story. I would like to thank all my close friends, family and employees who have made this journey more meaningful.”  

The 69-year-old cinema veteran entered the ranks of Bollywood as an Assistant Director and Controller of Production with the well-known director Mr. Asit Sen and producers M/S MR Productions. They made several films together, including Khamoshi, Safar, Anokhi Raat, Sharafat and Bairaag, after which Mr. Malhotra ventured into producing films on his own, including the popular Shahenshah, with Amitabh Bachchan as the lead star. The Prime Focus chairman also recognized the potential boom in the Indian television industry, and set up India’s first digital audio studio and then, in 1990, ventured into the business of providing services for the production of TV programs and ad films by leasing equipment to production houses and Ad filmmakers. His mentorship was instrumental to the launch of Prime Focus in 1997. Over the years, he has been recognized as a pioneer in contributing to the Entertainment and Media industry. 

The 195th Dadasaheb Phalke Awards were organized by Dadasaheb Phalke Academy. Amitabh Bachchan, Asha Bhosale and the late Yash Chopra are some of the past recipients of the award.

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