ImageMovers (IM), originally known as South Side Amusement Company until 1997, is an American production company which creates Animation, Mo-Cap, & Live Action Television & Films. The company is known for producing such films as Cast Away (2000), What Lies Beneath (2000), The Polar Express (2004), and Monster House (2006). From 2007 to 2011, The Walt Disney Company and ImageMovers founded a joint venture animation facility known as ImageMovers Digital which produced two performance captured animated films: A Christmas Carol (2009) and Mars Needs Moms (2011) for Walt Disney Pictures.

FormerlySouth Side Amusement Company (1984–1997)
IndustryMotion pictures, motion capture & Computer animation
FoundedMarch 1, 1984; 37 years ago (1984-03-01)
FoundersRobert Zemeckis
HeadquartersNovato, California, U.S.
Key people
Robert Zemeckis, Doug Chiang, Steve Starkey, Jack Rapke
ProductsMotion pictures


South Side Amusement Company (1984–1997)Edit

On March 1, 1984, Robert Zemeckis incorporated and founded the company as South Side Amusement Company. The company was in-name only from the beginning.

In the early 1990s, Zemeckis signed a production deal with Universal Pictures, to release films under the South Side Amusement Company banner.[1] There, it is one of the producers of Death Becomes Her, Trespass, The Public Eye, The Frighteners and Contact.

Early years as ImageMovers (1997–2007)Edit

In 1997, it was announced that South Side Amusement Company was rebranded as ImageMovers, and hired Creative Artists Agency employee Jack Rapke and producer Steve Starkey (who was a producer on Zemeckis' films he's directing since his stint as associate producer on 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit) came on board to join the company. It was also announced that ImageMovers signed a non-exclusive feature film deal with DreamWorks.[2]

In 2001, the studio tried to sign a deal with Warner Bros., but they ultimately failed.[3] After the Warner deal collapsed, the studio is reupping a first-look deal with DreamWorks to produce more films from that time.[4][5]

ImageMovers' first eight films under the name were What Lies Beneath (with Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer), Cast Away (with Tom Hanks), Matchstick Men (with Nicolas Cage), The Polar Express (also with Tom Hanks), The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (with Julianne Moore), Last Holiday (with Queen Latifah), Monster House (with Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, and Steve Buscemi), and Beowulf (with Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Robin Wright Penn, and Angelina Jolie).

Disney/ImageMovers Digital (2007–2011)Edit

ImageMovers Digital logo

In 2007, The Walt Disney Company and ImageMovers set up a joint venture animation facility known as ImageMovers Digital, a Marin County-based film company where Zemeckis would produce and direct 3D animated films using performance capture technology.[6]

On November 6, 2009, ImageMovers Digital released their first film A Christmas Carol, a performance capture film based on the Charles Dickens book of the same name and starring Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Cary Elwes each in multiple roles. On March 12, 2010, Disney and ImageMovers announced that ImageMovers Digital would close operations by January 2011 after movie production on Mars Needs Moms was completed for Resulting in a lay-off of approximately 450 employees,[7] Walt Disney Studios president Alan Bergman said, "...given today's economic realities, we need to find alternative ways to bring creative content to audiences and IMD no longer fits into our business model."[8] The company had previously been reported to have Calling All Robots,[9] a Yellow Submarine remake,[10] a Roger Rabbit sequel[11] and The Nutcracker[12] in development. Disney dropped all of these projects following the box-office failure of Mars Needs Moms.[13]

Universal Pictures (2011–present)Edit

In August 2011, it was announced that ImageMovers has entered a two-year first-look producing deal with Universal Pictures.[14]


Year Film Co-production/distributor Budget Gross
1984 Romancing the Stone 20th Century Fox $10 million $115.1 million
1985 Back to the Future Amblin Entertainment
Universal Pictures
$19 million $389.1 million
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Amblin Entertainment
Touchstone Pictures
$50.6 million $329.8 million
1989 Back to the Future Part II Amblin Entertainment
Universal Pictures
$40 million $335.9 million
1990 Back to the Future Part III $246.1 million
1992 Death Becomes Her Universal Pictures $55 million $149 million
Trespass $14 million $13.7 million
The Public Eye $15 million $3.06 million
1994 Forrest Gump The Steve Tisch Company
Wendy Finerman Productions
Paramount Pictures
$55 million $678.2 million
1996 The Frighteners WingNut Films
Universal Pictures
$26 million $29.3 million
1997 Contact Warner Bros. $90 million $171.1 million
2000 What Lies Beneath DreamWorks Pictures
20th Century Fox
$100 million $291.4 million
Cast Away $90 million $429.6 million
2003 Matchstick Men Warner Bros. Pictures
Scott Free Productions
$62 million $65.6 million
2004 The Polar Express (Mo-cap) Warner Bros. Pictures
Castle Rock Entertainment
Shangri-La Entertainment
$165 million $310.6 million
2005 The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio DreamWorks Pictures $12 million $689,028
2006 Last Holiday Paramount Pictures $45 million $43.3 million
Monster House (Mo-cap) Columbia Pictures
Amblin Entertainment
$75 million $140.2 million
2007 Beowulf (Mo-cap) Paramount Pictures (US)
Warner Bros. Pictures (International)
$150 million $196.4 million
2009 A Christmas Carol Walt Disney Pictures $175-200 million $325 million
2011 Rango (Mo-Cap) Paramount Pictures
Nickelodeon Movies
$135 million $245.7 million
Mars Needs Moms Walt Disney Pictures $150 million $39.2 million
Real Steel DreamWorks Pictures
Touchstone Pictures
$110 million $299.3 million
2012 Flight Paramount Pictures
$31 million $161.8 million
2015 The Walk[15] TriStar Productions
TriStar Pictures
$35–45 million $61.2 million
2016 Allied Paramount Pictures
GK Films
$85–113 million $120 million
2018 Welcome to Marwen Universal Pictures[16] $39–50 million $12.9 million
2020 The Witches Warner Bros. Pictures
Esperanto Filmoj
Double Dare You Productions
Necropia Entertainment
$26.9 million
2021 Finch Universal Pictures
Amblin Entertainment
Ducth Angle
Alibaba Pictures
Apple TV+
TBA Steel Soldiers[17] STX Entertainment
TBA Pinocchio[18] Walt Disney Pictures/Depth of Field

ImageMovers DigitalEdit

Year Film Co-production/distributor Budget Gross
2009 A Christmas Carol (Mo-cap) Walt Disney Pictures $175–200 million $325.3 million
2011 Mars Needs Moms (Mo-cap) $150 million $39 million

Television series (Compari Entertainment)Edit

ImageMovers' first foray into television production was The Borgias, which aired on Showtime from 2011 to 2013. On August 25, 2016, Compari Entertainment, the company's television division, was founded, with NBC's Manifest, which premiered on September 24, 2018, as their first television series.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ unknown, unknown (1990s). "unknown". Variety. Cite uses generic title (help)
  2. ^ Busch, Anita M. (June 18, 1997). "Zemeckis, Rapke wrap up DreamWorks deal". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  3. ^ Brodesser, Claude; Hayes, Dade (December 28, 2001). "Zemeckis migrates to Warner". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  4. ^ Fleming, Michael; Hayes, Dade (April 19, 2002). "Imagemovers stands its ground". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  5. ^ Hayes, Dade; Fleming, Michael (April 21, 2002). "Inside Move: Zemeckis shingle gets new run". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  6. ^ "Disney, "Polar Express" director in animation deal". Reuters. Reuters. February 5, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  7. ^ Eller, Claudia (March 13, 2010). "Disney to shut ImageMovers Digital studio". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  8. ^ Finke, Nikki (March 12, 2010). "Disney Closing Zemeckis' Digital Studio". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  9. ^ Graser, Marc (March 26, 2008). "Michael Dougherty calls 'All Robots'". Variety. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
  10. ^ The Walt Disney Studios (September 11, 2009). "The Walt Disney Studios, The Beatles' Apple Corps Ltd., and Oscar(R)-Winning Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis Dive Into New Magical 3D Adaptation of the 1968 Classic Yellow Submarine". PR Newswire. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  11. ^ Ditzian, Eric (November 3, 2009). "EXCLUSIVE: Robert Zemeckis Indicates He'll Use Performance-Capture And 3-D In 'Roger Rabbit' Sequel". MTV. Archived from the original on November 3, 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  12. ^ Rowles, Dustin (November 11, 2009). "Robert Zemeckis to Uglimate The Nutcracker". Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  13. ^ Kit, Borys (March 14, 2011). "Disney torpedoes Zemeckis' "Yellow Submarine"". Reuters. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike (August 2, 2011). "Universal Makes Two-Year Deal With Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers". Deadline. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  15. ^ Cieply, Michael (May 17, 2015). "Tom Rothman's High-Wire Act at Sony Pictures". The New York Times. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  16. ^ "Film releases". Variety Insight. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  17. ^ McNary, Dave (February 6, 2018). "Robert Zemeckis, STX, Alibaba Partner on Sci-Fi Film 'Steel Soldiers'". Variety. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  18. ^ "Robert Zemeckis Closes Deal To Direct & Co-Write Disney's Live-Action 'Pinocchio'". Deadline Hollywood. January 24, 2020. Archived from the original on January 24, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  19. ^ "COMPARI ENTERTAINMENT Trademark of ImageMovers, L.L.C. - Registration Number 5649739 - Serial Number 87150678 :: Justia Trademarks".
  20. ^ "Borgias to replace 'Tudors'?". September 18, 2009.
  21. ^ "Robert Zemeckis-Produced Thriller 'Manifest' Scores NBC Pilot Order". January 23, 2018.
  23. ^ "History to open Blue Book with Robert Zemeckis". May 26, 2017.
  24. ^ "Renée Zellweger to Star in 'What/If' Netflix Series from Mike Kelley". August 17, 2018.
  25. ^ "HBO Max Sets New Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Robert Zemeckis Hybrid Series 'Tooned Out', More for Kids & Family Slate". October 29, 2019.

External linksEdit