Unity to Acquire Weta Digital

Weta's visual-effects teams will continue to exist as a standalone entity, WetaFX, which will remain under majority ownership by Peter Jackson.

Filmmaker Peter Jackson has sold Academy Award-winning visual-effects house Weta Digital to Unity, a platform for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3D content, for $1.625 billion.

Unity will acquire Weta’s tools (i.e., Manuka, Lumberjack, Loki, Squid, CityBuilder), pipeline, technology and engineering talent. Ultimately, the acquisition is designed to put Weta’s VFX tools into the hands of millions of creators and artists around the world through a cloud-based workflow.

Weta’s VFX teams will continue to exist as a standalone entity known as WetaFX and is expected to become Unity’s largest customer in the media/entertainment space. WetaFX will remain under majority ownership by Jackson and will continue to be helmed by CEO Prem Akkaraju. 

“Weta Digital’s tools created unlimited possibilities for us to bring to life the worlds and creatures that originally lived in our imaginations,” says Jackson, chairman and cofounder of the company. “Together, Unity and Weta Digital can create a pathway for any artist, from any industry, to leverage these incredibly creative and powerful tools.” 

Weta Digital has contributed VFX and animation to a variety of movies and TV shows, including AvatarGame of ThronesLord of the Rings and Planet of the Apes.

“Weta’s goal has always been to inspire and motivate a whole new generation of creators, and it’s exciting to pass the mantle over to Unity,” Akkaraju says. “I see a future where more and more content shares the same level of visual fidelity as Avatar and Game of Thrones, and Unity is the ideal company to lead us into this future.” 

“Weta Digital’s sophistication is represented by dozens of tools that all build on the same unified pipeline,” notes Marc Whitten, senior vice president and general manager of Unity Create. “Alone, each tool is uniquely powerful, but as a complete platform, they represent a quantum shift in our ability to make it easy for artists to bring their imagination to life and work together.”

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