Disney is shuttering Blue Sky Studios, the $5.9 billion global grossing former 20th Century Fox animation division which during its run churned out 13 features including the Ice Age franchise.
One can say that the writing was always on the wall for Blue Sky, especially after Disney acquired 20th Century Studios and its assets in March 2019. However, the past year has been challenging for Disney on many fronts, of course due to the pandemic, not just on the studio side but with theme park closures and cruise line dockings as well. Sustaining a third feature animation studio was no longer viable for Disney given the current economic realities caused by Covid. The last day for Blue Sky will be in April. The number of Blue Sky employees being impacted numbers 450. Disney will be working with the employees at the Greenwich, CT based animation house to explore open positions at the other internal 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 spokesman said.
The Blue Sky’s library and IP will remain part of Disney, and there are reportedly no plans for another major studio to absorb Blue Sky’s employees and operations. A series based on Blue Sky’s Ice Age characters is already in the works for Disney+. Through five movies, the Ice Age series grossed $3.2 billion at the global box office.