After the Canadian long weekend, Toronto's Arc Productions has officially shut down. The news of the animation company's bankruptcy was first announced by TorontoVFXJobs and later reported by CartoonBrew. Hundreds of employees are currently locked out and many of the artists are missing wages.
“We regret to inform you that Arc is experiencing significant financial difficulties and a liquidity crisis,” wrote CEO Tom Murray to his staff. “Despite the very best efforts of management to find a solution to this financial emergency, we have not been able to resolve this matter with our lender.”
Arc's pedigree of work may not be reviewed as amazing, but it does include children's titles such as Gnomeo & Juliet, 9, and The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A Veggietales Movie. These productions were done when the company was still known as Starz Animation, which was their name until 2011 when they re-branded.
The company then began co-producing titles with Disney, which included the LEGO Marvel animated specials and the upcoming Netflix series, Tarzan and Jane. Arc was set to produce their next original animated film, Blazing Samurai, for a 2017 release date and was going to be distributed by Open Road Films. There is no news about the current state of the project and whether it is cancelled.
Artists knew that something was amiss last Friday when they were not paid, which was apparently caused by a "glitch" in the system. Now that employees know that in fact it was not a glitch, but the unaware financial security of the company, they want the money they are owed.
“We are still working diligently to find a solution that will allow us to pay outstanding wages due to you, but, in the event that wages are not paid and the Receiver is appointed, there is a federal government program known as the Wager Earner Protection Program where employees of companies that have gone into receivership may be able to make a claim for unpaid wages, severance and vacation pay," Murray wrote.
Our thoughts go out to the affected people of this unfortunate circumstance and we hope that they will be able to find work soon. Another studio, Fireforge Games, has also filed for bankruptcy today.