(from Billboard.biz, September 12, 2012) Less than one year after becoming a publicly traded company, Digital Domain Media Group Inc. is filing for bankruptcy. Digital Domain made a large splash in the live music industry this year with a Tupac Shakur hologram that appeared on stage alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.
Digital Domain was founded by director James Cameron. They have produced digital effects for more than 90 movies, including Titanic and the Transformers series. Digital Domain used the technology they have used on the big screen for years to create a new live music experience. The performance by Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and the hologram at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival had a huge reaction. Within 48 hours, a video of the performance on YouTube was hit 15 million times. This helped the struggling company gain some stock value.
When Digital Domain Media Inc. went public in November 2011, nearly 5 million shares were purchased at $8.50 each. By the spring, the stock price hovered around $5. Following the Coachella performance in April, the stock price jumped as high as $9.20. After this, Digital Domain was given permission to create an Elvis Presley hologram. They would be able to use this hologram in live appearances and recordings. The positive turnaround did not last long, unfortunately, as shares have tumbled as low as 44 cents for the struggling company prior to filing. In August, Digital Domain said they would review their option and possibly sell.
Digital Domain is based out of Port St. Lucie, Florida. They have spent recent years building a new animation studio in Port St. Lucie. Millions of dollars in incentives helped Digital Domain build the facility and employ their workers. After defaulting on loans, they decided to lay off 280 workers and close the facility. Florida Governor Rick Scott has ordered an investigation into the process used to award Digital Doman these incentives.
With the Chapter 11 filing, day-to-day operations will not be affected, and they have agreed to sell the company to Searchlight Capital Partners LP, pending an auction process and court approval.