In what is not a shocking move, Disney is closing down Blue Sky Studios, the animation studio the company acquired in the Fox merger two years ago.
According to Deadline, Disney could not sustain operating a third animation studio. This is due to the ongoing pandemic, which has affected the studio financially on multiple levels. The studio will officially shutter in April, in which Disney will work with the 450 employees at the studio to help explore open positions at the other internal studios.
“Given the current economic realities, after much consideration and evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to close filmmaking operations at Blue Sky Studios,” a studio rep told Deadline.
Blue Sky Studios IP will remain with Disney as the studio is already in development on Ice Age and Rio projects. There are no plans for another major studio to absorb Blue Sky’s employees and operations. Disney had placed a release date on Nimona, Blue Sky Studios next project, sadly, production has stopped and the film will no longer be released. The film had 10 months of production still left to complete.
Following Disney’s acquisition of Fox, it was announced in August 2019 that Walt Disney Animation Studios President Andrew Millstein was named Co-President of Blue Sky Studios, serving alongside Co-President Rob Baird. Both Millstein and Baird are expected to exit in the wake of Blue Sky closing its doors.
he studio was founded in 1987 by Chris Wedge, Michael Ferraro, Carl Ludwig, Alison Brown, David Brown, and Eugene Troubetzkoy after the company they worked in, MAGI, one of the visual effects studios behind the film Tron, shut down. Using its in-house rendering software, the studio had worked on visual effects for commercials and films before completely dedicating itself to animated film production in 2002 starting with the release of Ice Age by 20th Century Fox. Ice Age and Rio are the studio’s most successful franchises, while Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! and The Peanuts Movie are its most critically praised films. 2019’s Spies in Disguise was the first and only Blue Sky Studios film to be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.