Disney to Shut Down Blue Sky Animation Studios
Just about every major Hollywood studio has their own animation division. For many years, Blue Sky Studios was 20th Century Fox’s. Though the company never achieved the level of fame or critical praise as competitors like Pixar or Illumination, Blue Sky produced many hits for Fox, including Rio, Horton Hears a Who, and the Ice Age franchise, which produced two films that grossed more than $800 million worldwide.
But Fox is now owned by Disney, and Disney already has Pixar Animation Studios and its own animation division. It doesn’t need Blue Sky as well. Amidst tough economic times because of the ongoing pandemic, they’ve decided to shut down Blue Sky. According to Deadline, the “number of Blue Sky employees being impacted numbers 450.”
Not only is Blue Sky closing its doors by this April, but what would have been their next animated feature, which was already in production, is being shut down and canceled as well. That was Nimona, which was supposed to open in theaters in January of 2022, and was about “a young shape-shifter who teams up with a mad scientist named Lord Ballister Blackheart to expose the ruler of the kingdom.” The project had several months left to completion — which now looks like it will never happen. That makes the final Blue Sky film 2019’s Spies in Disguise, a spy comedy featuring the voices of Will Smith and Tom Holland.
It’s hard to fault a company that already has two animation studios for closing a third, but that’s going to be of little comfort to the artists and employees who are now out of jobs in the middle of a recession. Hopefully they get back on their feet very soon.
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