Montreal-based visual effects house Modus FX closed its doors on Friday after seven years, laying off over 100 employees.
Founded in 2007 by Hybride alumni, executive producer Yanick Wilisky and president Marc Bourbonnais, the studio specialized in attracting Hollywood and international film work, rarely taking on Canadian domestic projects or television work. Most recently, Modus contributed high-end visual effects for such films as Source Code, The Avengers, RoboCop and Riddick. The company’s recent foray into animation, Sarila, was shortlisted for the animation Oscar but didn’t make the final cut.
The Wrap reported that “The company was undone after a number of projects it was slated to work on were delayed… After a payment for a past job failed to materialize last Friday, Wilisky said he and his partners decided they could no longer afford to stay in business.”
In an interview with the French-language daily La Presse, Wilisky said that in hindsight, Modus mismanaged its growth. “Other studios in Quebec are more conservative,” Wilisky told La Presse. “When we started, we wanted to take more risks. It gave us great successes, but it has also led us to the current situation.”
According to the La Presse report, in 2012 the studio won two major contracts for the films This Is the End and Now You See Me. “We took two contracts that were too big at the same time,” said Wilisky. He called it “a misalignment of the planets.”
Modus was one of the 10 biggest VFX facilities in Quebec offering a full scope of services from its 12,000-square-foot studio in the Montreal suburb of Sainte-Thérèse.
Recently, Framestore and MPC have opened up facilities in town. Wilisky said that he is confident the artists will find work at some of the other thriving Montreal facilities.
“I am very proud of my staff,” said Wilisky. “Together, we made beautiful things.”