Disney absorbed Blue Sky, the studio behind hit films like Ice Age and Rio, in its 2019 acquisition of Fox. Though Disney already owned two animation studios, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, originally it seemed like Blue Sky would remain running. However, due to financial hardships caused by the covid-19 pandemic, Disney has now decided three’s a crowd and will close the studio as well as let go of its 450 employees.
“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 Disney spokesperson told Deadline, which broke the news.
According to that piece, “Disney will be working with the employees at the Greenwich, CT-based animation house to explore open positions at the other internal studios.”
Founded in 1987, Blue Sky is best known for the Ice Age franchise, which has grossed over $US3 ($4) billion, and movies like Ferdinand, which was nominated for Best Animated Oscar. Other titles include Epic, Horton Hears a Who, The Peanuts Movie, and last year’s Spies in Disguise. The studio’s latest project, an adaptation of the comic Nimona, still had almost a year of production to be completed, hence the cancellation.
Disney retains rights to all of these films, though, so a planned Ice Age show coming to Disney+ is still in the works. While cool stuff like this week’s WandaVision cameo might be the main thing fans think about when they think of the Fox deal, news like this reminds us of the not-so-fun side of big business in Hollywood.