Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Colossal Pictures

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San Francisco

31 August 1999



USFX, M5 Industries, WildBrain

Key people
Drew Takahashi Gary Gutierrez Japhet Asher

animation stop-motion computer graphics special effects interactive live action

USFX (1982-96) BIG Pictures (1989-94) Noyes and Laybourne (1991-96)

Opening a new can of worms daily.

Colossal pictures and dpi of children s television workshop logos

Colossal Pictures (styled as (Colossal) Pictures or (C)P) was an entertainment company that developed and produced television programming, advertising, network branding, and visual effects. Colossal's work has won every major industry award, from the Clio, Emmy and Grammy to the Cannes Gold Lion and Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Top Honor.



In the mid-1970s, Drew Takahashi and Gary Gutierrez were working with John Korty on animated shorts for children's programs such as Vegetable Soup. When Vegetable Soup was renewed for a second season, Korty began working on a movie, and suggested to Drew and Gary that they start their own production company. The two founded (Colossal) Pictures in 1976, and worked on projects such as shorts for Vegetable Soup, the opening sequence of The Grateful Dead Movie and commercials for Boise Cascade Company, KQED, KSAN-FM and Gap Inc. The Boise Cascade commercial received national attention and attracted many businesses to Colossal.

In 1981, Colossal began producing dozens of network IDs for MTV, which led to the company receiving more high-profile clients including Nickelodeon, Levi's, and Coca-Cola. The following year, Gary Gutierrez launched USFX, a new division of Colossal Pictures, while he was working on The Right Stuff. Colossal Pictures started producing computer animation in 1983, when they collaborated with Pacific Data Images to produce a commercial for the Atari game Joust and a network ID for MTV. In 1986, Colossal began working with Western Images using a Quantel Harry unit, resulting in Colossal being able to create state-of-the-art computer graphics. In 1989, Colossal Pictures launched a new division, BIG Pictures, which produced television programs. That September, Colossal Pictures began representing Pixar to produce CGI commercials. As part of the deal, Colossal would receive a project and develop the storyboards, while Pixar animated the project. Colossal Pictures terminated its relationship with with Pixar in 1992 when they started production on Toy Story for Walt Disney Pictures.

In the early-1990s, well-known artists like Caroline Leaf and Henry Selick were hired to direct commercials at Colossal. In 1991, Colossal Pictures began representing Sculptoons and the Brothers Quay. That same year, Colossal Pictures joined forces with New York City production company Noyes and Laybourne, and it became (C)P's East Coast division. After Colossal Pictures' relationship with Pixar ended, the company hired Brad deGraff to head a new digital media division, which produced projects such as The Moxy Show, RoboCop: The Ride, and two Living Books games. In October 1994, (C)P employees John Hays, Phil Robinson, and Jeff Fino left the company and launched a new animation studio, WildBrain. Colossal Pictures closed BIG Pictures shortly after.

Earlier in 1994, Colossal Pictures created exhibits for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Due to cost overruns, production delays and other problems, the museum refused to pay all of Colossal's bills. In April 1996, Colossal Pictures laid off a third of its staff, including co-founder Gary Gutierrez, and on May 30, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Colossal sued the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for $1,200,000 in damages plus $10,000,000 in punitive damages. That year, Colossal Pictures signed a development deal with the Disney Channel to produce longer content. The deal led to (C)P producing interstitial series Frankenguy & The Professor and The Mix-ups plus the Zoog Disney block for the channel. After (C)P decided to restructure itself into a smaller company, consolidating all of its activities into one building in the process, they emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 1, 1997. Jamie Hyneman, manager of Colossal Pictures’ model shop, took over the facility and turned it into M5 Industries.

Although Colossal Pictures was able to sustain itself the following year with a lean work force, the company experienced a downturn in revenue at the beginning of 1999. On August 31, Colossal Pictures closed after 23 years in business. The decision was made in order to liquidate property and honor outstanding debts. Many of Colossal Pictures' employees, such as Ed Bell, Charlie Canfield, and George Evelyn moved to WildBrain as a result. Colossal Pictures' main building is currently occupied by Wingz.


Colossal Pictures Wikipedia

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