VFX Shop Rhinoceros Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (Exclusive)

The 23-employee commercials and feature film effects company is struggling with its NYC lease

New York-based Rhinoceros Visual Effects and Design, which has done VFX work on films such as “Salt,” “Tower Heist” and the “Got Milk?” ad campaign, has filed for Chapt. 11 bankruptcy in part to help resolve a lease dispute, according to court documents and the company’s lawyer.

“We’re confident that this company can be made profitable,” attorney Paul Aloe told TheWrap.

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Rhinoceros, also known as Gravity, produces computer-generated visual effects and has 23 employees and 16 independent contractors. Its main source of business is television commercials for clients such as BMW, though it also does feature film and digital work.

The U.S.-based VFX space has been rocked with financial woes in recent months, but Aloe said Rhinoceros is not far from profitability and merely needs restructuring. He told TheWrap that Rhinoceros’ financial struggles came to a head in a separate dispute with their Madison Ave. landlord.

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An affidavit filed with the bankruptcy papers in New York District Court say the company no longer needed all 13,000 square feet of its office space after downsizing, and that the landlord reneged on a deal to surrender one of its floors. Presented with rent bills they can’t possibly pay, the company faces eviction if its bankruptcy is not granted, according to the document.

“This is a classic case of what Chapt. 11 is for,” Aloe said.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report