Founded in 1987, Blue Sky helped grow top-grossing family franchises including “Ice Age,” the Dr. Seuss adaptation “Horton Hears a Who,” and most recently the Will Smith and Tom Holland project “Spies in Disguise.”
About 450 employees staffing the company will face termination, thought some are said to be eyeing roles at other Disney portfolio holdings, which includes the eponymous Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar. Closure was a forgone conclusion for many in the industry upon the historic Disney-Fox transaction.
“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 Disney spokesperson said.
The coronavirus pandemic has uniquely crippled Disney, given the entertainment giant’s reliance on theme park attendance and a massive global theatrical business, which needs open movie theaters to survive. Maintaining a third animation label became untenable, one individual with knowledge of the company said.
“Ice Age,” which spawned four films, grossed close to $3 billion worldwide and saw exponential box office returns from sequel to sequel. It was voiced by Ray Romano and John Leguizamo. The studio also produced the two-parter bird adventure “Rio,” with Anne Hathaway and George Lopez, which grossed close to $1 billion worldwide.
Blue Sky began in the commercial space and grew into an effects production house on titles like “Alien Resurrection” and “Fight Club.”
News of the closing was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.