Director Robert Zemeckis‘ digital studio ImageMovers will be closing the doors to its Northern California facility. According to THR, The Disney-based studio run by Zemeckis, Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey will shut down its Marin County based location causing hundred’s of employees to lose their jobs.

ImageMovers announced today that after the director wraps production on the film Mars Needs Moms, the company will be shut down in its entirety by January 2011. Even though this sounds like the end of an era for the director and his business partners he still has several motion capture projects on the horizon including the remake of The Yellow Submarine. With that in mind, Disney is hoping to ink another long term deal with the trio that will include the Beatles-inspired project.

When ImageMovers was at its peak it employed 450 people and currently occupies two converted aircraft hangars on 120,000 square feet on a former Air Force base. Disney released an official statement regarding their decision to part with the studio citing the unstable economy as the main reason behind the closure.

“Bob and the entire IMD team successfully built a state-of-the-art studio and produced an amazing film, ‘A Christmas Carol,’ at a time when the dynamics of the industry are rapidly changing,” Disney Studios president Alan Bergman said in a statement. “But, given today’s economic realities, we need to find alternative ways to bring creative content to audiences, and IMD no longer fits into our business model.”

ImageMovers signed a deal with Disney back in 2007 and the partnership only managed to produce A Christmas Carol, which grossed 137 million domestically. In their eyes, the film was an expensive investment that didn’t yield the desired result.

Are you surprised that Zemeckis’ studio is closing? Do you think his brand of filmmaking in too costly?