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‘Ender’s Game’ Producers Seek Assurances From Digital Domain

Collapse of special effects studio could affect upcoming film

The studio behind the upcoming film “Ender’s Game” want to make sure that the collapse of special effects house Digital Domain doesn’t affect its production schedule as the company makes its way through the bankruptcy courts.

Oddlot Entertainment has filed documents with the Delaware bankruptcy court asking that all of its contracts with the studio remain in one piece, no matter where they end up, according to the South Florida Business Journal. Because Digital Domain will likely be split up and auctioned off, there is a chance that existing contracts could be broken up as well, and Oddlot is looking to keep all of its agreements together so that the special effects work on the film based on Orson Scott Card’s book can be completed.

“It is of paramount importance to OLE that the visual, digital and animation effects for ‘Ender’s Game’ be completed according to schedule,” Oddlot said in its motion. “Given the importance of the assumption of all of the agreements to the success of ‘Ender’s Game,’ OLE is particularly concerned that a buyer may agree to assume all of the agreements at the auction, only to turn around and assume only certain [of them] after the sale.”

Oddlot wants a judge to require the full contracts stay enforced, and together, with a single entity.

“Ender’s Game” is from writer and director Gavin Hood and stars Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin and Ben Kingsley. The film, set for a Nov. 1, 2013 release date, is currently in post-production, and Digital Domain had already been tasked to do the special effects work ahead of its Sept. 11 bankruptcy protection filing.

Digital Domain upset many in the special effects industry last spring when it proposed bringing in students interested in doing work for their film projects, but having the students pay tuition instead of the students be paid for the work. It made the news again last week when it suddenly closed its Florida location that employed nearly 300 people. The closings came as the company was losing tens of millions of dollars each quarter, both of which prompted chief executive officer John Textor to quit.

Share prices fell from $9 last May to just over 50 cents a share last week.

In its bankruptcy filing, Digital Domain listed debt of just under $215 million and assets of $205 million, according to the South Florida Business Journal. The company defaulted on a $35 million loan as well just ahead of its bankruptcy filing.

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