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Maker of Tupac Shakur hologram files for bankruptcy

Rolling Stone

The company that created the hologram of Tupac Shakur that performed at this year's Coachella festival has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after going public in November, CNN reports. The filing by Digital Domain Media came as no surprise: the company, which had warned of long-term debt and overhead difficulties, had seen its stock price drop from a peak of $9.20 per share in May to just 55 cents Tuesday -- a decrease of 94 percent.

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Besides the buzzworthy Tupac hologram, the company worked on special effects for blockbusters including "Transformers," "Pirates Of The Caribbean" and "Titanic," and won an Oscar for its work on "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Digital Domain had planned an Elvis hologram, while the estates of Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison had expressed interest in staging holographic live shows.

The company, which counts James Cameron among its founders, was generally hired by Hollywood studios on a contract basis, which meant it had a small revenue stream. Digital Domain had boost its bottom line by dipping into the live performance market with its holograms. CEO John Textor resigned last week, and the company closed its offices in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and laid off around 320 employees.

Private investment firm Searchlight Capital Partners is planning to buy Digital Domain's core production business for $15 million, pending approval of the bankruptcy court. Digital Domain had partnered with Lionsgate to make a film adaptation of beloved sci-fi novel "Ender's Game." A Lionsgate representative said the film's production is still on schedule for release Nov. 1, 2013.

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