Disney shut down Ice Age animation studio Blue Sky, citing its inability to financially sustain a third feature-length animation company.
The Mouse House acquired Blue Sky Studios after buying Fox’s movie and TV assets in March 2019. However, due to all the financial losses suffered from the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Disney announced it’s no longer able to sustain a third feature-length animation studio. A Disney spokesperson told Deadline, “Given the current economic realities, after much consideration and evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to close filmmaking operations at Blue Sky Studios.”
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Blue Sky will officially close its doors in April. Disney is currently working with the 450 employees at the studio’s animation house in Connecticut to “explore open positions at the other internal studios.” Blue Sky’s titles will remain part of Disney’s content library, including all five Ice Age movies and films like 2015’s The Peanuts Movie.
Prior to this development, Blue Sky was working on an Ice Age series for Disney+. The studio was also in production on Nimona, an animated film adaptation of Noelle Stevenson’s critically-acclaimed fantasy webcomic series. However, because there were still ten months of work left to be finished on the movie, the Nimona feature will no longer be released.
Blue Sky was founded by Chris Wedge, Michael Ferraro, Carl Ludwig, Alison Brown, David Brown and Eugene Troubetzkoy in 1987. Its first feature-length animated film, Ice Age, released in 2002 and grossed $383 million at the global box office. Blue Sky would go on to produce four more Ice Age movies, with 2009’s Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs becoming its highest-grossing release at $886 million worldwide. Over the same period of time, the studio also released original movies like Robots and Rio, in addition to the 2008 film adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s story Horton Hears a Who!
Blue Sky’s last film, 2019’s Spies in Disguise, featured Will Smith as the voice of a suave super-spy who’s accidentally turned into a pigeon by his awkward scientist sidekick (Tom Holland), forcing the pair to team up and save the world together. Spies in Disguise was delayed multiple times as a result of the Disney-Fox deal, ultimately bowing five days after Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Blue Sky had hoped to expand the movie into a franchise but abandoned those plans when Spies in Disguise disappointed at the box office, making $171.6 million on a $100 million budget.
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