Disney closes 20th Century Fox animation house Blue Sky Studios
After just over three decades running under 20th Century Fox and subsequently the House of Mouse following their acquisition of the studio, Disney is officially closing the doors on animation house Blue Sky Studios, the company behind the Ice Age franchise and many others, according to 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,” a studio spokesperson said in a statement.
Founded in 1987 by Chris Wedge, Michael Ferraro, Carl Ludwig, Alison Brown, David Brown and Eugene Troubetzkoy, the studio has produced 13 films in its near 34 years of operation, beginning with the 2002 Oscar-nominated family adventure pic Ice Age, whose success would spawn a franchise consisting of four theatrical sequels, multiple short films, two television specials and four video games, with the films adding up to a global box office gross of $3.2 billion.
Sources report that the decision comes as the House of Mouse faced economically tough decisions with the global pandemic keeping its global theme parks and cruise lines closed and concluded that it would not be able to carry a third animation studio alongside Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. Blue Sky’s last day of operation is currently set for sometime in April and while word comes that there are no talks for another studio to absorb it, Disney is reportedly going to work with the 450 employees at the Connecticut-based animation house to explore possible open positions at other studios under Disney’s large umbrella, which will maintain hold of the Blue Sky library and IP.
The studio was in the midst of production on an adaptation of the fantasy webcomic Nimona and was reportedly 75 percent of the way through it, with just 10 months left and was slated for a January 2022 release, but sources report the Patrick Osborne-helmed project is coming to a full stop and will no longer be released.
Other films from Blue Sky included the Ewan McGregor and Robin Williams-starring Robots, Horton Hears a Who!, the Rio films, Epic, The Peanuts Movie, Ferdinand and Spies in Disguise, the final of which proved to be an underperformer for the then-still-active 20th Century Fox and stifled the studios’ hopes of spawning another franchise.