Lord Of The Rings, Avengers VFX Studio Will Make Original Movies For The First Time

Weta Digital is launching a new animated film and TV division called Weta Animated.

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Weta Digital, the effects studio owned by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and screenwriter Fran Walsh, is expanding. The New Zealand-based company has launched a new animation studio, and it will make original content for the first time in the outfit's quarter-century history.

Prem Akkaraju has been named the CEO of Weta Animated. He is the co-founder of SR Labs with entrepreneur Sean Parker, who himself is a member of Weta Digital's board of directors and an investor in the company.

Weta Animated will make original animated content for cinema and streaming, Weta said in a press release announcing the venture. Jackson and Walsh will write, produce, and direct "several" of the new animated projects at Weta Animated.

Jackson said in a news release that Weta created the new animated division to help make movies faster and on a smaller budget. "We are huge fans of animated storytelling in all of its forms, but it can be a long, protracted, and often costly way to make movies," he said. "That's, in part, why we have created this company--to change the model and open the doors to filmmakers and storytellers who might not otherwise be given the chance to show what they can do."

Weta is known for creating the effects shots and practical props for Jackson's Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. The company got it starts 25 years ago on Jackson's 1994 psychological thriller Heavenly Creatures, and it's gone on to grow significant since then.

In addition to the Middle-earth movies, Weta has worked on numerous major movies and TV shows over the years, including Avatar, Avengers: Endgame, Game of Thrones, Deadpool 2, Birds of Prey, and The Jungle Book, among so many others.

None of Weta Animated's projects have been announced yet, but given the talent at Weta, big things are expected.

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