Blue Sky Studios, the Disney-owned animation studio behind the Ice Age movies and many other animated favorites will be closing soon. Formerly owned by 20th Century Studios, Blue Sky was acquired by Disney in 2019 along with all of Fox’s assets. Now, it has been announced that the studio’s run will officially come to an end with its last day of operations in April, largely due to financial setbacks caused by the pandemic.
“Given the current economic realities, after much consideration and evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to close the motion picture operations at Blue Sky Studios,” a studio representative told Deadline.
Around 450 Blue Sky Studios employees will be affected by the company’s closure. Disney will reportedly work with employees to explore vacant positions at other Disney-owned studios. Blue Sky’s library and intellectual property will also remain under Disney’s control, as there are no plans for any other major studios to acquire Blue Sky’s employees and operations. Co-Chairs Rob Baird and Andrew Millstein are expected to step down following the news.
With the folding of Blue Sky Studios, the production of their next big movie, Nimona, has been archived indefinitely. The animated film would have followed a young shapeshifter named Nimona who teams up with mad scientist Lord Ballister Blackheart to expose the ruler of the kingdom. With Amanda Rabinowitz and directed by Patrick Osborne, the film was scheduled for ten more months of production with plans to release on January 14, 2022.
Blue Sky’s last big movie was Spies in Disguise, which came out in 2019. Directed by Troy Quane and Nick Bruno, the film featured the voices of popular actors including Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, Reba McEntire, Ben Mendelsohn and Karen Gillan. The film performed quite well with critics, though it fell short of expectations at the box office, putting the brakes on plans at the studio for the film to spawn a new franchise.
One of the studio’s first works, the short film Little bunny, won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. At first, Blue Sky also received special effects for movies like Joe’s Apartment, Alien resurrection, Mouse hunter, Fight clubY Star Trek: Insurrection. In 2002, the studio had great success with the release of its first feature film, Ice Age, which would generate several high-grossing sequels in the coming years. The latest installment, Ice Age: Collison Course, grossed $ 408 million at the box office in 2016.
Blue Sky Studios is also known as the studio behind other big budget animated features like Robots, Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears Who!, Rio 1 and 2, Epic, The Peanuts MovieY Fernando. In 2018, Fernando gave the studio its final Oscar nomination when it was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the Academy Awards.
In December, it was announced that Disney was doing a Ice Age spinoff film that follows the weasel’s character, Buck. Called Ice Age: Adventures of Buck Wild, the film was released in early 2022 with Simon Pegg voicing Buck. It is not yet clear whether the closure of Blue Sky Studios will also affect the Ice Age spin-off like you done Nimona. This news comes from Deadline.