Cinesite Takes Majority Stake in ‘Cracké’ Studio Squeeze

Animation & VFX studio Cinesite, which has recently marked its 30th anniversary, has announced it’s acquired a majority stake in animation & motion-capture studio Squeeze, located in Quebec City and Montreal.

Ranked on the 2020 Report on Business list of Canada’s Top Growing Companies, Squeeze is a Quebec animation studio with an international reputation, boasting a creative team of more than 200 artists and technical experts.

Co-founded in 2011 by CEO Denis Doré and CCO Patrick Beaulieu and quickly joined in 2014 by François Houde (current CFO), Squeeze works with the world’s entertainment industry elite, including Disney, Marvel, Universal, Illumination, Supercell, Warner Bros. and Ubisoft. The studio is also the creator of Cracké (Cracked), an animated TV series broadcasted in over 210 territories and counting over 600 million views worldwide on digital platforms.

“Squeeze is a fantastic addition,” Cinesite Group CEO Antony Hunt said in a statement, “not only for its successful original IP Cracké and for its world-class animation portfolio, but also for its mocap capabilities and scale, and the opportunity to further enhance a dynamic Montreal based hub for the Cinesite group as a rapidly growing family entertainment powerhouse.”

The majority acquisition will allow Cinesite to further increase its animation content and service offerings for international markets while bringing mocap and Unreal capabilities into the group to service video game and film productions. Last year, Squeeze was a recipient of an Epic MegaGrant from Epic Games, which has allowed Squeeze’s team of Unreal Engine specialists to focus on the development and combination of tools and systems that allows for the creation of uniquely styled and visually rich, animated footage.

“I’m very pleased to see Squeeze join a leading group like Cinesite, we share a common vision of creation and commercialization of original animation content and, most importantly, fundamental values such as excellence, humility and integrity,” said co-founer Doré. “Besides helping us strengthen our leadership position with our entertainment elite partners, this alliance will benefit our talented artists so they can deliver bigger than life character performances.”

Squeeze is the fifth studio to join the independently owned Cinesite group following Image Engine in 2015, Nitrogen Studios (renamed Cinesite Vancouver) in 2017, German VFX studio Trixter in 2018 and, most recently, Montreal’s L’Atelier Animation last month.

Squeeze will retain its brand and creative centre, its staff will continue to work under the leadership of Doré and Houde. The studio is currently in production on various gaming and theme park projects as well as an exciting animated feature film, to be announced.

The Squeeze management team led by Doré will be working with Cinesite Animation COO Brad Wald to integrate the company and expand their Montreal footprint to meet the growing demand for animated content. With this partnership in excess of 780 employees work for the Cinesite group across Canada to deliver animated content under the Cinesite, L’Atelier Animation and Squeeze brands.

Cinesite’s presence in the animation space had been steadily growing prior to today’s partnership announcement. Its studios in London, Montreal and Vancouver have completed 10 animated feature films to date, including The Addams Family 1 & 2 (MGM), Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank (Paramount Animation) and Riverdance: The Animated Adventure (Netflix) to name a few.

The studio is currently in production on Hitpig and Animal Farm (Aniventure), Iwájú (Disney+) and the CG reimagining of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Nickelodeon and Point Grey Pictures. With Iwájú, Cinesite is one of the first studios to work on a Disney animation project outside of Disney; the series will premiere in 2023.

Explore more of Cinesite’s 30-year legacy at cinesite.com/30th-anniversary.

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