The studio that brought you the Ice Age franchise is closing its doors. Deadline revealed that Disney is shutting down Blue Sky Studios, which it acquired along with many other assets in the massive Fox takeover just two years ago. The studio was the prime money-maker of Fox’s animated division, having grossed $5.9 billion in total throughout thirteen films since 2002. Blue Sky produced numerous hits alongside the now-iconic Ice Age films, such as the Robin Williams vehicle Robots and the high-flying Rio. They also adapted critically-acclaimed classic properties like Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! and The Peanuts Movie. The reason behind the closure is the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, with losses from their theme park lockdowns and theater closure hindering the corporation’s ability to maintain three animation studios at once. Disney is instead opting to maintain funding for their mainstays, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.
The entire Blue Sky library will remain a part of the Disney experience, and the previously-announced Ice Age series for Disney+ is expected to arrive. However, the studio’s next film, Nimona, a magic-based medieval fairy tale about a shape-shifting boy who partners with a mad scientist to topple an evil ruler, will halt production. It still required ten more months to finish. Tragically, the demise of Blue Sky will lead to the loss of 450 jobs. Deadline does report that Disney will work with the former employees to find positions at other internal studios. The world is sure to miss the storytelling prowess of Blue Sky and the diversity that another animation studio would bring to the table. The work of the company played a vital role in many childhoods. Sadly, the latest release of the Tom Holland-led Spies in Disguise failed to make the impact the company was hoping for. Here’s hoping that the workers impacted by the closure will find ample opportunity in their future elsewhere. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors and that they can find something soon.