Blue Sky Studios, the $5.9 billion global-grossing former 20th Century Fox animation business that produced 13 feature films, including the Ice Age saga, is being shut down by Disney.
Why is Disney closing Blue Sky Studios?
Blue Sky’s fate seemed inevitable, especially when Disney purchased 20th Century Studios and its properties in March 2019. Nevertheless, the previous year has been difficult for Disney on several fronts, not least because of the epidemic, which has resulted in theme park shutdown and cruise ship dockings. Given the present economic realities induced by Covid, Disney could no longer support a third feature animation division.
Blue Sky will be discontinued in April. There are 450 Blue Sky employees that will be affected. Employees at the Greenwich, Connecticut-based company will be consulted about available roles at other Disney 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 representative said.
When Disney shuttered Blue Sky Studios, what’ll happen next?
Blue Sky’s library and IP will belong with Disney, and there are no proposals for Blue Sky’s workers and operations to be taken over by another large company. A Disney+ series based on Blue Sky’s Ice Age figures is already in development. The Ice Age franchise made $3.2 billion worldwide over the course of five films.
Production on the Patrick Osborne-directed Nimona has been halted, and the picture will no longer be released on January 14, 2022. Nimona follows a youthful shape-shifter who partners up with a crazy scientist named Lord Ballister Blackheart to reveal the kingdom’s monarch, which had 10 months of manufacturing remaining to finish.
After Disney’s acquisition of Fox, Andrew Millstein, president of Walt Disney Animation Studios, was elected co-president of Blue Sky Studios in August 2019, with co-president Rob Baird. Following Blue Sky’s closure, both Millstein and Baird are anticipated to leave.
Spies in Disguise, the most recent Blue Sky film, was distributed by Disney in December 2019 and fared poorly, collecting $66 million domestically and $171 million internationally. The film, starring Will Smith and Tom Holland, was expected to launch a series.
How was Blue Sky Studios created?
After their employer, tech company MAGI (which, ironically, developed the visual effects for Disney’s 1982 masterpiece Tron), closed down, Chris Wedge, Michael Ferraro, Carl Ludwig, Alison Brown, David Brown, and Eugene Troubetzkoy started Blue Sky Studios in February 1987. Bell Atlantic, Rayovac, Gillette, and Braun were among Blue Sky’s early customers, and the studio developed the animated insects for the 1996 MTV film Joe’s Apartment.
The animation firm began working on models for Alien Resurrection, A Simple Wish, Mouse Hunt, Fight Club, and Star Trek: Insurrection after 20th Century Fox’s VFX business, VIFX, acquired controlling ownership in Blue Sky in August 1997. Chris Meledandri, who was president of 20th Century Fox Animation at the time, was the catalyst for this.