Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies have been immensely praised for their superior implementation of special effects. Undoubtedly, the creation of Gollum takes the spotlight. Soon, this novel technology will be available to creators all over the world as Jackson is selling the technology division of his visionary visual effects studio Weta Digital to Unity Software, a platform that is renowned for making development software for famous 3D games.
The deal has been struck between Peter Jackson and Unity for $1.625 billion, where the latter will acquire Weta Digital’s “tools, pipeline, technology, and engineering talent,” as highlighted by the companies in their statement. They also established that the deal will not only amp up Unity’s aspirations in the world of VFX but also bring Weta’s “sophisticated visual effects tools,” which have been “incredibly exclusive” till now, to countless creators and artists across the world.
In their statement, the companies have also shared that they have joined hands to “shape the future of the metaverse.” Peter Jackson has assured that Unity and Weta Digital will ensure that any artist across the world can make use of their advanced and creative tools. “Offering aspiring creatives access to Weta Digital’s technology will be nothing short of game changing and Unity is just the company to bring this vision to life,” Peter Jackson said.
Established in 1993, Weta Digitals was founded by Peter Jackson, Jamie Selkirk, and Richard Taylor for creating digital special effects for 1994’s Heavenly Creatures starring Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey. Weta Digital has won six Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects to date, which includes creating characters and background for the following films: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), King Kong (2005), Avatar (2009), and The Jungle Book (2016).
Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital has also been critically praised for creating special effects for other films like The Adventures of Tintin (2011), Rise of the Planet of Apes (2011), The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008), The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Furious 7 (2015), and the recently released Black Widow, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, as well as Eternals. The studio also has many upcoming projects in its pipeline, including The Batman, Aquaman and The Last Kingdom, Avatar 2, Avatar 3, Avatar 4, Avatar 5, Peacemaker, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Hawkeye, etc.
For now, Weta Digital’s VFX and animation teams, known as WetaFX, will retain its status as a standalone entity and will be owned by Peter Jackson while CEO Prem Akkaraju will continue to lead it. The acquisition deal, which is currently in development, will most probably be signed and closed by Unity’s fourth quarter of 2021. Peter Jackson’s next directorial venture, the documentary series The Beatles: Get Back, will be soon debuting on Disney+. The series will be about the making of the Beatles’ 1970 album Let It Be and has used original material from the 1970 documentary based on the album. Jackson has shared that his series will be “tougher” than the film as it will be covering the many controversies connected with the album which the original documentary left out.