ILM to Phase Out Commercials Division

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Industrial Light & Magic has begun winding down the operations of its commercials division and intends to shutter ILM Commercial Productions by this summer. Lucas Digital president Jim Morris announced the plan last Thursday in a memo to staff that calls for the division to close its doors on June 28. "We've had a good run in the commercials business, but the current slump in the advertising industry has been difficult for both us and our competitors," ILM spokeperson Ellen Pasternack says of the decision.

ILM Commercial Productions, which was founded in 1989 and produces more than 65 spots a year, has been behind such high-profile spots as Budweiser's "Come Home" -- a hit for DDB/Chicago at the 2001 Super Bowl -- and the launch campaign for XM Satellite Radio out of TBWA/Chiat/Day/Los Angeles.

Pasternack says that ILM expects to continue to handle some spot work for key clients, although that work will now be handled by the features division. ILM's future presence in the commercial world "will have more to do with availability and resources," she says. "There won't be as many resources standing by waiting for commercial work to come in. It's giving us a lot more flexibility."

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