Disney to Close Blue Sky Studios, Effective this April

Known mostly as the animation studio responsible for the Ice Age films, Disney is shutting down the Blue Sky Studios they acquired as part of the 20th Century Fox acquisition back in 2019, according to Deadline.

What’s Happening:

  • As part of the 20th Century Fox acquisition that took place in 2019, Disney acquired Blue Sky Studios, an animation house known mostly for its work on the Ice Age films.
  • Today, it was announced that Disney will be closing the studio, as sustaining a third animation studio (after Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios) has proven to be no longer viable given the current economic realities caused by the global Covid 19 pandemic.
  • A statement from a studio spokesperson read: “Given the current economic realities, after much consideration and evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to close filmmaking operations at Blue Sky Studios.”
  • Reportedly, the last day for the Connecticut studio will come in April, impacting approximately 450 employees. Disney will be working with those affected to explore open positions at other studios internally.
  • The Blue Sky library will stay with Disney, including the aforementioned Ice Age films, as well as Ferdinand, Robots, The Peanuts Movie, and their latest release, Spies in Disguise, among others.
  • A production that was currently in progress at the studio, Nimona, will no longer be released. Originally slated for release in 2022, that production still had approximately ten months before it would be complete. Nimona followed a young shape-shifter who teams up with a mad scientist named Lord Ballister Blackheart to expose the ruler of the kingdom.
  • Interestingly, a series based on the Ice Age characters was announced at the recent Walt Disney Company Investors Day coming exclusively to Disney+. Though the series was already in production, there are no updates as to whether or not that series will continue.
  • The two Co-Presidents of the studio, Andrew Millstein and Rob Baird, are expected to leave the company as Blue Sky shuts down.
  • The studio was founded in 1987, eventually partnering with tech company MAGI, to create animation for commercials, as well as supply characters for films like MouseHunt, A Simple Wish, and Alien Resurrection. It was the 1998 short, Bunny, and a subsequent Oscar win that would allow Blue Sky to venture into the world of feature animation.