Cinesite acquires a majority stake in animation and motion capture studio Squeeze

Cinesite has announced that it has acquired a majority stake in animation and mocap studio Squeeze, located in Quebec City and Montreal. Ranked on the 2020 Report on Business list of Canada’s top growing companies, Squeeze is an animation studio with an international reputation. 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 L’Atelier Animation last month.  

“Squeeze is a fantastic addition,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,” Cinesite Group CEO Antony Hunt said in a statement.

“I’m very pleased to see Squeeze join a leading group like Cinesite, we share a common vision of creation and commercialisation of original animation content and, most importantly, fundamental values such as excellence, humility and integrity. 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,” said Quebec and Montreal-based Squeeze co-founder and CEO Denis Doré.

The studio has a creative team of more than 200 artists and technical experts. Co-founded in 2011 by Denis Doré and Patrick Beaulieu and quickly joined in 2014 by François Houde (current CFO), Squeeze works with the world’s elite in the entertainment industry including Disney, Marvel, Universal, Illumination, Supercell, Warner Bros and Ubisoft. The company has a mocap studio in Montreal and is also the creator of Cracké, an animated TV series broadcasted in over 210 territories and counting over 600 million views worldwide on digital platforms. 

The move 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. The MegaGrant 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.

Squeeze will retain its brand and creative centre, its staff will continue to work under the leadership of CEO and co-founder Denis Doré and CFO and partner, François Houde. The studio is currently in production on various gaming and theme park projects as well as an exciting unannounced animated feature film.

The Squeeze management team led by co-founder and CEO Denis 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, 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, Animal Farm Iwaju (Disney+) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ CG reimagining from Nickelodeon and Point Grey Pictures. Cinesite is one of the first studios to work on an animated Disney project outside of Disney, the series will premiere in 2023.

Cinesite recently acquired Montreal studio L’Atelier Animation. The deal will expand its creative and production capacity to meet demand in Quebec and elsewhere.