Passengers Impacted By MOVA Legal Limbo?

Two weeks ago a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction freezing the sophisticated motion capture technology called MOVA which is owned and exclusively licensed out by Digital Domain (DD3).

With that ruling came much concern that big studio productions already in the works that require the technology could be in big jeopardy. Now it looks like it may have claimed its first victim with the upcoming Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt sci-fi drama “Passengers” at Sony Pictures.

THR reports that the $120 million budget feature may be affected as though U.K. firm Moving Picture Company provides the bulk of the film’s VFX, DD3 is providing the motion capture work for the film.

Lawyers for Digital Domain have filed an appeal to have the injunction modified so as not to affect several of their ongoing projects, with “Passengers” in particular impacted. In that filing, DD3’s lawyers say: “DD3-Digital Domain already has captured data of an Academy Award-winning actress for a $120 million motion picture. The movie release date is December 2016. Although the capture is complete, the data from this project has not been processed and must be.”

The trade says the company provided two hours of high-resolution facial capture work on the film in February and then gave the data to Sony. While a studio source says the ruling: “will have no impact whatsoever on postproduction or the release of the film,” another source for the trade says the work will be reassigned and that with a lot of studios relying on MOVA, it has “put a lot of projects on hold. People are pretty much freaking out.”

“Passengers” is set onboard a spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people [that] has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 60 years early.