‘Spies in Disguise’ forever.

Scrat from Ice Age

I recently ranked the best Christmas Day releases of the 21st century. High upon the list, causing a bit of a “Really?!” kerfuffle from the Collider Slack, was Spies in Disguise. The animated comedy, produced by Blue Sky Studios and released by Disney, which had recently acquired Blue Sky’s original distribution partner 20th Century Fox, is a smart, sensitive, and star-studded spy comedy, one that made me excited for Blue Sky’s future. But now, it will be Blue Sky’s last.

Per Deadline, Disney has shuttered Blue Sky Studios, closing it down entirely. As a spokesperson stated bluntly, “Given the current economic realities, after much consideration and evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to close filmmaking operations at Blue Sky Studios.” Nearly 450 employees will be affected by this decision, while some will be given consideration to other positions within Disney’s internal operations. Blue Sky was in the middle of making the Patrick Osborne-directed fantasy/sci-fi hybrid Nimona, which had 10 months of production to go with a release date of January 14, 2022. This film’s production has stopped and will no longer be released by Disney in any form. The last day of Blue Sky will be in April.

Image via 20th Century Fox

Blue Sky Studios was originally founded in 1987 by a group of technological and animation pioneers Chris Wedge, Michael Ferraro, Carl Ludwig, Alison Brown, David Brown, and Eugene Troubetzkoy, who left a previous company’s shutting down. The team worked on character design for film, TV, and commercial production for some time, before pivoting into animated short and feature film production. 2002’s Ice Age was their feature debut, a massive hit that inspired a five-film franchise (a Disney+ series based on the property is still in the works). Their other feature films include RobotsDr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!, the Rio franchise, EpicThe Peanuts MovieFerdinand, and of course my beloved Spies in Disguise.

Here’s hoping the talented folks involved in this team find a new blue sky soon.

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And offers a bit of hope, too.

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