The unit, called Lucasfilm Animation, is an offshoot of his
special effects company, Industrial Light & Magic, that has
been a pioneer in the field of digital effects and works on
Lucas' own "Star Wars" films.
Lynne Hale, spokeswoman for his San Rafael,
California-based Lucasfilm Ltd., said the new unit was "still
in its beginning stages" and did not even have a project to
As a result, details were limited. Hale confirmed that
Lucasfilm Animation will be formed from a nine-person team
housed with Industrial Light & Magic. The new division will be
headed by senior vice president Patty Blau.
Lucas is a vocal proponent of using digitally produced and
computerized special effects in the movies. His companies have
been active in designing new cameras for shooting digital
films, and his most recent "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of
the Clones" was shot in the digital format.
Until now, however, he has lacked a production company
dedicated to making computerized animation movies such as
"Shrek," "Monsters, Inc." or last year's "Ice Age."
Those three films have been smash hits with combined global
ticket sales of $1.36 billion. On its own, "Monsters, Inc.,"
which was produced by Pixar and The Walt Disney Co., raked in
$529 million in global ticket sales.
Lucas is no stranger to digital animation. Indeed, Pixar
had been Lucasfilm's computer graphics division 17 years ago
before Lucas sold it to Apple Computer's Steve Jobs (news - web sites) for $10
Pixar now has a market capitalization of roughly $3.2
Lucas, too, has tried to mount efforts to make digitally
animated movies, such as a version of "Frankenstein" that was
scrapped by Universal Pictures in 1999.