Netflix is snapping up premiere visual-effects house Scanline VFX, announcing a deal to acquire the company that has done work on Netflix originals like “Stranger Things” as well as tentpole movies for Marvel, DC and others.
Financial terms of the pact were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals and other usual closing conditions.
Netflix said it will operate Scanline VFX as a standalone business that will continue to work with a variety of clients. Founded in 1989 in Munich, Scanline VFX also operates locations in Los Angeles, London, Vancouver, Montreal, Stuttgart and Seoul.
It’s the second major M&A deal in the VFX space this month, after game-development software vendor Unity said it will buy Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital technology and tools business for $1.625 billion.
For Netflix, Scanline VFX has provided effects for “Stranger Things 3” — and is currently in production on Season 4 — plus the live-action series of “Cowboy Bebop” and horror movie “Blood Red Sky” and upcoming projects including Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up,” Anthony and Joe Russo’s “The Gray Man,” Shawn Levy’s “The Adam Project” and “Slumberland” starring Jason Momoa.
Beyond Netflix, Scanline has worked on Marvel’s “Eternals” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Black Widow,” “Black Panther,” “Captain Marvel,” “Iron Man 3” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” as well as “Game of Thrones,” “Godzilla vs King Kong,” “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” “Free Guy,” “Joker” and Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter.”
Scanline VFX’s projects that are currently in production include “The Batman,” “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” “The Flash,” “Black Adam” and “Moonfall.”
Scanline VFX is “one of the most creative and innovative VFX studios in the world” and “is known for its complex, photorealistic effects and expertise in virtual production,” Amy Reinhard, Netflix’s VP of studio operations, said in a blog post announcing the deal. In particular, Scanline is noted for its creation of natural phenomena such as fire, smoke and water through its work on disaster epics including “San Andreas” and “Independence Day: Resurgence.”
Scanline is led by president Stephan Trojansky, a VFX supervisor whose proprietary fluid rendering system Flowline won a technical achievement award at the 2008 Academy Awards’ Scientific & Technical Awards. Trojansky will remain with the company post-acquisition.
According to Reinhard, Netflix will invest in Scanline’s pipeline, infrastructure and workforce and continue to support the “pioneering work that Scanline’s Eyeline Studios is doing in virtual production to push the boundaries of what is visibly possible.” In addition, Netflix plans to continue to work with many other VFX studios worldwide “so we can continue to ensure that our creators have access to the world’s most innovative tech,” she added.