In a massive deal, Peter Jackson has sold the tech assets and name of his effects company Weta Digital to Unity Software for a hefty $1.625 billion. This deal doesn’t mean that Weta won’t have an effects division as Jackson’s company will stay separate from the deal and has been renamed/rebranded as WetaFX.
Unity’s acquired company, the tech assets of Weta, will be titled Weta Digital, while Peter Jackson’s Weta visual effects business will remain separate under the banner of WetaFX.
On the tech side, with this transaction Unity acquires Weta’s 275 engineers and proprietary technology including Weta’s cloud service and tools including Manuka and Gazebo renderers, Barbershop hair and fur system, Loki physics-based simulation tool for water and smoke; and facial capture technology.
Weta Digital, now called WetaFX, has been a pioneer of digital effects alongside fellow VFX house Industrial Light & Magic. They’re known for working on films such as The Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit, King Kong, multiple pics in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and DCEU.
It’s nice to know that Weta’s effects division will continue under Jackson’s oversight and won’t stop doing visual effects for films/television, something that might have confused fans that maybe only read headlines about the deal.
Below is the original press release.
Unity (NYSE: U), the world’s leading platform for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3D (RT3D) content, announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Weta Digital’s tools, pipeline, technology, and engineering talent. Ultimately, this acquisition is designed to put Weta’s incredibly exclusive and sophisticated visual effects (VFX) tools into the hands of millions of creators and artists around the world, and once integrated onto the Unity platform, enable the next generation of RT3D creativity and shape the future of the metaverse.
Weta Digital will join Unity’s Create Solutions focused on the continual evolution of Weta Digital’s dozens of proprietary graphics and VFX tools, such as Manuka, Lumberjack, Loki, Squid, Barbershop, HighDef, CityBuilder, and many more. In the future, with Unity’s deep expertise in real-time, these world-class artist tools will be available to creators through an accessible cloud-based workflow.
Weta Digital’s Academy Award-Winning 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 and Entertainment space. WetaFX will still be under majority ownership by Sir Peter Jackson and helmed by CEO Prem Akkaraju.