For some reason, the visual effects in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings have held up much better than the CGI in The Hobbit trilogy, even though they were created by the same company and had a decade of technological advancement with which to improve.
Minor quibbles aside, it can’t be denied that Weta Digital have used Middle-Earth as a springboard to becoming one of the industry’s pre-eminent effects houses, a far cry from the company’s humble origins. Founded by Jackson, Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk back in 1993, the outfit has been involved in James Cameron’s Avatar, the Planet of the Apes reboots, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Fox’s X-Men franchise, the DCEU, the MonsterVerse and many more.
Even though it’s been his baby for close to 30 years, Deadline reports that Jackson has sold Weta Digital to interactive 3D firm and surging tech giant Unity. The eye-watering $1.625 billion deal gives the new owners access to Weta’s “tools, pipeline, technology, and engineering talent”, with 275 employees also making the jump.
Jackson remains as the majority owner of the rebranded WetaFX, with the company’s software set to be made available to millions of aspiring creators and artists via a cloud-based platform with potential metaverse applications in mind.