ILM: The "M" Will Never Stand for "Models"

ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) has announced that it's selling off its model division ("physical unit") to an ILM staffer: Mark Anderson. The unit will be remonikered Kerner Optical, for its location in ILM's former headquarters on Kerner Avenue in San Rafael, Calif., and will focus on all physical production. Once spun off, Kerner Optical will pick up the slack by seeking work that ILM would not get. Kerner will become a preferred subcontractor for ILM.
In the mid-late 1980s, Lucasfilm and ILM entered this dark era after the first three Star Wars films. They kept doing lots of work, but they seemed to miss the spark. Now, we're a year after the release of the Revenge of the Sith. Again, Lucasfilm and ILM are heading towards a slump. Their raison d'etre is Star Wars. Without the recent echo or the coming fury of a Star Wars movie, ILM just seems like another special effects house.
I think the torch has crossed the Pacific. WETA Digital did the special effect for this summer's X-Men : The Last Stand. The capper to the Lord of the Rings trilogy (Return of the King) swept the Academy Awards. With six times at bat, the Star Wars series has never taken home a major Oscar.

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