Disney is closing down animation house Blue Sky, which is responsible for the “Ice Age” franchise, according to a studio spokesperson.
The former Fox-based animation house produced 13 features that grossed $5.9 billion. Approximately 450 staffers will face termination. Disney inherited Blue Sky in the March 2019 acquisition of 20th Century Fox.
“Given the current economic realities, after much consideration and evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to close filmmaking operations at Blue Sky Studios,” according to a studio spokesperson.
Disney, already home to Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, has been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly a year, causing a shutdown of its theme parks, keeping theaters closed and accelerating the shift away from the cable bundle.
Founded in 1987 and based in Greenwich, Connecticut, Blue Sky Studios last released “Spies in Disguise” on Christmas Day 2019. The film grossed $66 million at the domestic box office and $171 million worldwide. The “Ice Age” franchise and “Rio” were Blue Sky’s most successful movies while “Horton Hears a Who!” and “The Peanuts Movie” were its most critically praised movies.
Blue Sky had “Nimona,” the animated action and adventure film from 20th Century Fox and Disney, in the works from director Patrick Osborne, and was dated to be released on Jan. 14, 2022. Production on the film will be stopped and the film will no longer be released. The film still had 10 months of production left to complete. “Nimona” centered on a young shape-shifter who teams up with a mad scientist named Lord Ballister Blackheart to expose the ruler of the kingdom.
Deadline first reported the news.