FormerlySouth Side Amusement Company (1984–1997) ImageMovers Digital (2007–2011)
Company typePrivate
IndustryMotion pictures, motion-capture & Computer animation
FoundedMarch 1, 1984; 40 years ago (1984-03-01) (original)
1997; 27 years ago (1997) (as ImageMovers)
FoundersRobert Zemeckis
HeadquartersNovato, California, U.S.
Key people
Robert Zemeckis, Doug Chiang, Steve Starkey, Jack Rapke
ProductsMotion pictures
Number of employees
450 (2011)

ImageMovers (IM) (formerly known as South Side Amusement Company), is an American production company which produces CGI animation, motion-capture, live-action films and television shows. The company is known for producing such films as Cast Away (2000), What Lies Beneath (2000), The Polar Express (2004), Monster House (2006), and Beowulf (2007). From 2007 to 2011, The Walt Disney Company and ImageMovers founded a joint venture animation facility known as ImageMovers Digital which produced two motion-captured CGI-animated films: A Christmas Carol (2009) and Mars Needs Moms (2011) for Walt Disney Pictures, neither of which were financially successful.


South Side Amusement Company (1984–1997)

On March 1, 1984, Robert Zemeckis incorporated and founded the company as South Side Amusement Company. The company was in-name only from the beginning.

In the early 1990s, Zemeckis signed a production deal with Universal Pictures, to release films under the South Side Amusement Company banner.[1] There, it is one of the producers of Death Becomes Her, Trespass, The Public Eye, The Frighteners and Contact.

Early years as ImageMovers (1997–2007)

In 1997, it was announced that South Side Amusement Company was rebranded as ImageMovers, and hired Creative Artists Agency employee Jack Rapke and producer Steve Starkey (who was a producer on Zemeckis' films he's directing since his stint as associate producer on 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit) came on board to join the company. It was also announced that ImageMovers signed a non-exclusive feature film deal with DreamWorks Pictures.[2]

In 2001, the studio tried to sign a deal with Warner Bros., but they ultimately failed.[3] After the Warner deal collapsed, the studio is reupping a first-look deal with DreamWorks to produce more films from that time.[4][5]

ImageMovers' first eight films under the name were What Lies Beneath (with Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer), Cast Away (with Tom Hanks), Matchstick Men (with Nicolas Cage), The Polar Express (also with Tom Hanks), The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (with Julianne Moore), Last Holiday (with Queen Latifah), Monster House (with Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, and Steve Buscemi), and Beowulf (with Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Robin Wright Penn, and Angelina Jolie).

Disney/ImageMovers Digital (2007–2011)

ImageMovers Digital
Company typeJoint venture
Founded2007; 17 years ago (2007)
FoundersRobert Zemeckis
Defunct2011; 13 years ago (2011)
HeadquartersNovato, California, U.S.
Key people
Robert Zemeckis
Walt Disney Studios
Number of employees

In 2007, ImageMovers and The Walt Disney Company set up a joint venture animation facility known as ImageMovers Digital, based in Marin County-based film company where Zemeckis would produce and direct 3D animated films using CGI performance-capture technology.[6]

On November 6, 2009, ImageMovers Digital released their first CGI film A Christmas Carol, a CGI performance capture film based on the Charles Dickens book of the same name and starring Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Cary Elwes. On March 12, 2010, Disney and ImageMovers announced that ImageMovers Digital would close operations by January 2011 after movie production on Mars Needs Moms was completed. Resulting in a lay-off of approximately 450 employees,[7] Walt Disney Studios president Alan Bergman said, "...given today's economic realities, we need to find alternative ways to bring creative content to audiences and IMD no longer fits into our business model."[8] The company had previously been reported to have Calling All Robots,[9] a remake of Yellow Submarine,[10] a Roger Rabbit sequel[11] and The Nutcracker[12] in development. Disney dropped all of these projects following the box-office failure of Mars Needs Moms.[13]

Universal Pictures (2011–present)

In August 2011, it was announced that ImageMovers has entered a two-year first-look producing deal with Universal Pictures.[14]


Year Film Director Co-production/distributor Budget Gross
1984 Romancing the Stone Robert Zemeckis 20th Century Fox $10 million $115.1 million
1985 Back to the Future Universal Pictures
Amblin Entertainment
$19 million $389.1 million
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Touchstone Pictures
Amblin Entertainment
$50.6 million $329.8 million
1989 Back to the Future Part II Universal Pictures
Amblin Entertainment
$40 million $335.9 million
1990 Back to the Future Part III $246.1 million
1992 Death Becomes Her Universal Pictures $55 million $149 million
Trespass Walter Hill $14 million $13.7 million
The Public Eye Howard Franklin $15 million $3.06 million
1994 Forrest Gump Robert Zemeckis Paramount Pictures
The Steve Tisch Company
Wendy Finerman Productions
$55 million $678.2 million
1996 The Frighteners Peter Jackson Universal Pictures
WingNut Films
$26 million $29.3 million
1997 Contact Robert Zemeckis Warner Bros. Pictures $90 million $171.1 million
2000 What Lies Beneath DreamWorks Pictures
20th Century Fox
$100 million $291.4 million
Cast Away $90 million $429.6 million
2003 Matchstick Men Ridley Scott Warner Bros. Pictures
Scott Free Productions
$62 million $65.6 million
2004 The Polar Express (CGI Motion-Capture) Robert Zemeckis Warner Bros. Pictures
Castle Rock Entertainment
Shangri-La Entertainment
Golden Mean Productions
$165 million $310.6 million
2005 The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio Jane Anderson DreamWorks Pictures $12 million $689,028
2006 Last Holiday Wayne Wang Paramount Pictures $45 million $43.3 million
Monster House (CGI Motion-Capture) Gil Kenan Columbia Pictures
Amblin Entertainment
$75 million $140.2 million
2007 Beowulf (CGI Motion-Capture) Robert Zemeckis Paramount Pictures (US)
Warner Bros. Pictures (International)
$150 million $196.4 million
2009 A Christmas Carol (CGI Motion-Capture) Walt Disney Pictures; as ImageMovers Digital $175–200 million $325 million
2011 Mars Needs Moms (CGI Motion-Capture) Simon Wells $150 million $39.2 million
Real Steel Shawn Levy Touchstone Pictures
DreamWorks Pictures
Reliance Entertainment
21 Laps Entertainment
$110 million $299.3 million
2012 Flight Robert Zemeckis Paramount Pictures
$31 million $161.8 million
2015 The Walk[15] TriStar Pictures
TriStar Productions
$35–45 million $108.4 million
2016 Allied Paramount Pictures
GK Films
$85–113 million $120 million
2018 Welcome to Marwen Universal Pictures
DreamWorks Pictures
Perfect World Pictures
$39–50 million $12.9 million
2020 The Witches Warner Bros. Pictures
Esperanto Filmoj
Double Dare You Productions
Necropia Entertainment
$26.9 million
2021 Finch Miguel Sapochnik Apple TV+
Amblin Entertainment
Reliance Entertainment
Walden Media
Misher Films
2022 Pinocchio[16] Robert Zemeckis Disney+
Walt Disney Pictures
Depth of Field Studios
2024 Here Sony Pictures Releasing

Television series (Compari Entertainment)

ImageMovers' first foray into television production was The Borgias, which aired on Showtime from 2011 to 2013. On August 25, 2016, Compari Entertainment, the company's television division, was founded, with NBC's Manifest, which premiered on September 24, 2018, as their first television series.[17]

Cancelled projects

Yellow Submarine

This motion capture remake of the 1968 Beatles film was developed by Robert Zemeckis. Disney canceled the project due to the box office failure of the Zemeckis-produced motion capture film Mars Needs Moms and aesthetic concerns about the technology.[23] After its cancellation at Disney, Zemeckis then tried to pitch the film to other studios, before eventually losing interest in the project.[24]

Calling All Robots

On March 26, 2008, Michael Dougherty was set to direct the animated sci-fi adventure film Calling All Robots with Zemeckis producing the film through ImageMovers Digital for Walt Disney Pictures.[25]

Roger Rabbit sequel

In December 2007, Marshall stated that he was still "open" to the idea,[26] and in April 2009, Zemeckis revealed he was still interested.[27] According to a 2009 MTV News story, Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman were writing a new script for the project, and the animated characters would be in traditional two-dimensional, while the rest would be in motion capture.[28] However, in 2010, Zemeckis said that the sequel would remain hand-drawn animated and live-action sequences will be filmed, just like in the original film, but the lighting effects on the cartoon characters and some of the props that the toons handle will be done digitally.[29] Also in 2010, Hahn, who was the film's original associate producer, confirmed the sequel's development in an interview with Empire. He stated, "Yeah, I couldn't possibly comment. I deny completely, but yeah... if you're a fan, pretty soon you're going to be very, very, very happy."[30] In 2010, Bob Hoskins stated he was interested in the project, reprising his role as Eddie Valiant.[citation needed] However, he retired from acting in 2012 after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease a year earlier, and died from pneumonia in 2014.[31] Marshall confirmed that the film would be a prequel, similar to earlier drafts, and that the writing was almost complete.[32] During an interview at the premiere of Flight, Zemeckis stated that the sequel was still possible, despite Hoskins' absence, and the script for the sequel was sent to Disney for approval from studio executives.[33]

The Nutcracker

On November 26, 2009, Zemeckis had signed on to produce and direct the motion capture animated film adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker through ImageMovers Digital for Walt Disney Pictures.[34] On July 21, 2016, Universal Pictures revived the adaptation, which may or may not use motion capture, with Zemeckis only set to produce the film and Evan Spiliotopoulos was hired to write the script.[35] There has been no information since.

How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack

On April 14, 2011, Zemeckis had signed on to produce and potentially direct the live-action/animated hybrid film adaptation of Chuck Sambuchino's book How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack along with The Gotham Group and Sony Pictures Animation.[36] In November that year, Chad Damiani and JP Lavin were hired to write the script.[37]

Tooned Out

On October 29, 2019, at the HBO Max launch event, it was announced a live-action/animated hybrid TV series featuring Looney Tunes characters to be produced by Warner Bros. Animation, the series was in development after it was announced as Tooned Out, to be released on the then upcoming WarnerMedia streaming service. Zemeckis teamed up with Jared Stern to write the series.[38] There have been no new updates since.


  1. ^ unknown, unknown (1990s). "unknown". Variety. ((cite news)): Cite uses generic title (help)
  2. ^ Busch, Anita M. (June 18, 1997). "Zemeckis, Rapke wrap up DreamWorks deal". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  3. ^ Brodesser, Claude; Hayes, Dade (December 28, 2001). "Zemeckis migrates to Warner". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  4. ^ Fleming, Michael; Hayes, Dade (April 19, 2002). "Imagemovers stands its ground". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  5. ^ Hayes, Dade; Fleming, Michael (April 21, 2002). "Inside Move: Zemeckis shingle gets new run". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  6. ^ "Disney, "Polar Express" director in animation deal". Reuters. Reuters. February 5, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  7. ^ Eller, Claudia (March 13, 2010). "Disney to shut ImageMovers Digital studio". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  8. ^ Finke, Nikki (March 12, 2010). "Disney Closing Zemeckis' Digital Studio". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  9. ^ Graser, Marc (March 26, 2008). "Michael Dougherty calls 'All Robots'". Variety. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
  10. ^ The Walt Disney Studios (September 11, 2009). "The Walt Disney Studios, The Beatles' Apple Corps Ltd., and Oscar(R)-Winning Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis Dive Into New Magical 3D Adaptation of the 1968 Classic Yellow Submarine". PR Newswire. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  11. ^ Ditzian, Eric (November 3, 2009). "EXCLUSIVE: Robert Zemeckis Indicates He'll Use Performance-Capture And 3-D In 'Roger Rabbit' Sequel". MTV. Archived from the original on November 3, 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  12. ^ Rowles, Dustin (November 11, 2009). "Robert Zemeckis to Uglimate The Nutcracker". Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  13. ^ Kit, Borys (March 14, 2011). "Disney torpedoes Zemeckis' "Yellow Submarine"". Reuters. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike (August 2, 2011). "Universal Makes Two-Year Deal With Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers". Deadline. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  15. ^ Cieply, Michael (May 17, 2015). "Tom Rothman's High-Wire Act at Sony Pictures". The New York Times. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  16. ^ "Robert Zemeckis Closes Deal To Direct & Co-Write Disney's Live-Action 'Pinocchio'". Deadline Hollywood. January 24, 2020. Archived from the original on January 24, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  17. ^ "COMPARI ENTERTAINMENT Trademark of ImageMovers, L.L.C. – Registration Number 5649739 – Serial Number 87150678 :: Justia Trademarks".
  18. ^ "Borgias to replace 'Tudors'?". September 18, 2009.
  19. ^ "Robert Zemeckis-Produced Thriller 'Manifest' Scores NBC Pilot Order". January 23, 2018.
  21. ^ "History to open Blue Book with Robert Zemeckis". May 26, 2017.
  22. ^ "Renée Zellweger to Star in 'What/If' Netflix Series from Mike Kelley". August 17, 2018.
  23. ^ Kit, Borys (March 14, 2011). "Disney torpedoes Zemeckis' "Yellow Submarine"". The Hollywood Reporter – via Reuters.
  24. ^ Han, Angie (December 27, 2012). "Robert Zemeckis Gives Up On the 'Yellow Submarine' Remake". /Film. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  25. ^ Graser, Marc (March 26, 2008). "Michael Dougherty calls 'All Robots'". Variety. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  26. ^ Shawn Adler (September 11, 2007). "Roger Rabbit Sequel Still In The Offing? Stay Tooned, Says Producer". MTV Movies Blog. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2008.
  27. ^ Eric Ditzian (April 29, 2009). "Robert Zemeckis 'Buzzing' About Second 'Roger Rabbit' Movie". MTV Movies Blog. Archived from the original on June 27, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2009.
  28. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Robert Zemeckis Indicates He'll Use Performance-Capture And 3-D In 'Roger Rabbit' Sequel". Archived from the original on November 3, 2010. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  29. ^ "Toontown Antics – Roger Rabbit's adventures in real and animated life: Roger Rabbit 2 – In 3D?". July 20, 2010. Archived from the original on October 3, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  30. ^ "Exclusive: The Lion King To Go 3D! | Movie News". Empire. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  31. ^ "Bob Hoskins retires from acting". August 8, 2012. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  32. ^ "Frank Marshall Talks WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT 2 Sequel, THE BOURNE LEGACY, THE GOONIES 2, More". Collider. Archived from the original on October 11, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  33. ^ Fischer, Russ (October 15, 2012). "Despite Bob Hoskins' Retirement, the 'Roger Rabbit' Sequel is Still Possible". /Film. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  34. ^ Rowles, Dustin (November 26, 2009). "Robert Zemeckis to Uglimate The Nutcracker". Pajiba. Archived from the original on October 15, 2021. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  35. ^ Rowles, Dustin (July 21, 2016). "Evan Spiliotopoulos Tapped To Write "The Nutcracker" For Robert Zemeckis And Universal (EXCLUSIVE)". The Tracking Broad. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  36. ^ Snieder, Jeff (April 14, 2011). "Sony Animation, Zemeckis dig 'Gnome'". Variety. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  37. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (November 7, 2011). "Robert Zemeckis Sets Writers For 'Garden Gnome Attack' Film". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  38. ^ "HBO Max Sets New Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Robert Zemeckis Hybrid Series 'Tooned Out', More for Kids & Family Slate". October 29, 2019.