Disney’s Lucasfilm to shut Singapore operations
Entertainment company Lucasfilm is winding down operations in Singapore after almost two decades here due to economic factors, and changes in the industry and business conditions, said parent company Disney.
“Over the next several months, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) will be consolidating its global footprint and winding down its Singapore studio due to economic factors affecting the industry,” said Disney, in response to media queries on Tuesday.
The entertainment conglomerate had announced in February that it would eliminate 7,000 jobs in its global workforce as part of an effort to save US$5.5 billion (S$7.3 billion) in costs and make its money-losing streaming business profitable.
“Lucasfilm’s decision to wind down its Singapore operations is in response to changes in the industry and business conditions,” said Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in a joint statement on Tuesday.
IMDA and EDB noted that the global media industry is “facing disruption from rapid technological advancements, while studios are coping with challenges relating to talent and profitability”.
The joint statement added that Lucasfilm and the relevant government agencies are helping affected employees to find roles in other companies, and that employees will be given retraining and upskilling opportunities so they can take on roles in a variety of emerging areas across media and creative industries.
“The technical and creative skillsets of these employees - who are trained across roles such as designers, tech engineers and tech support staff - continue to be in high demand, both within the broader media industry, and also in other industries that are going digital,” it said.
It is not known how many employees will be affected.
Disney said that ILM is giving employees as much notice as possible and “offering opportunities to relocate to one of the company’s growing studios.”
In 2006, ILM expanded its operations beyond its San Francisco headquarters and opened its first international studio in Singapore. It now has studios in Vancouver, London, Sydney and Mumbai.
Disney added that ILM will be working with the local business community in Singapore to offer a job fair with companies identified as having a need for talent with similar skill sets.
Lucasfilm’s visual effects and animation studio arm ILM Singapore has contributed to Hollywood blockbusters, including films in the Marvel, Star Wars and Jurassic Park franchises.
“Our Singaporean talent have worked alongside and learned from experienced producers, enabling them to develop their skills and play on the world stage,” said IMDA and EDB.
“We are proud that Singaporeans have worked on Hollywood blockbusters such as Jurassic World: Dominion and Marvel’s The Eternals.”
In 2013, Lucasfilm moved into The Sandcrawler building in one-north.The building, which was inspired by the Sandcrawler fortresses in the Star Wars movies, was sold to US buyout firm Blackstone Group for $176 million in 2021.