PORT ST. LUCIE, FL — The Associated Press has reported that Digital Domain, the production company founded by director James Cameron, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and agreed to sell the core of its business to a private investment firm for $15 million. Digital Domain Media Group is best known for its work on Cameron's Titanic, and has produced visual effects for more than 90 movies, including Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and the Transformers series.
Chief restructuring officer Michael Katzenstein said in court filings that the company is running out of cash and had violated cash and debt requirements set forth by its lenders. It tried to find additional outside sources of capital, but wasn't able get enough to restructure its debt and pay its operating expenses.
The company went public just 10 months ago and got the greenlight to create an Elvis Presley hologram for shows, film, TV and other projects worldwide, including appearances. But by August the company said it would review its options, suggesting a possible sale.
Based in Port St. Lucie, FL, Digital Domain has studios in California and Canada that create digital visual effects, animation and digital production for the entertainment and advertising industries. The company had spent the past few years building a new animation studio in Port St. Lucie, using millions in incentives from the city and the state. But it defaulted on a series of loans and just days ago said it would lay off about 280 workers and close its Florida facility. CEO John Textor, also the company's second-largest shareholder, resigned, protesting the decision.
As of June 30, the company had total assets of about $205 million and total liabilities of about $214 million.