ICE AGE, RIO Animation Studio Blue Sky Is Being Shut Down By Disney

Blue Sky Studios, the studio behind the Ice Age and Rio franchises as well as the recent film Spies in Disguise, will shut down in April with Disney citing "current economic realities" as the reason.

Blue Sky Studios, the computer animation studio behind the hit franchise Ice Age, is being closed by Disney. The former 20th century Fox animation division was responsible for 13 feature films that combined to generate $5.9 billion globally.

While Ice Age was the studio's most notable franchise with over $3.2 billion grossed globally through five movies, Blue Sky was responsible for other box office hits including Rio and Rio 2, Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!, and The Peanuts Movie. Blu Sky's most recent film was the CG-animated spy comedy Spies in Disguise, starring Will Smith and Tom Holland. The movie, which released in December 2019, received generally positive reviews but grossed just $171 million worldwide.

Blue Sky was currently working on the movie Nimona, which followed a young shape-shifter who teams up with a mad scientist to expose the ruler of the kingdom. The Patrick Osborne-directed film was slated to release on January 14, 2022. Deadline reports that it had 10 months of production left to complete, but is being stopped and will no longer release.

Disney blamed "current economic realities" for the decision to close the studio. With the global pandemic wreaking havoc on the movie industry, sustaining a third feature animation studio probably wasn't viable. Disney had acquired Blue Sky as part of its purchase of 20th Century Studios in March 2019 -- about a year before COVID struck. A Disney spokesperson told Deadline:

“Given the current economic realities, after much consideration and evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to close filmmaking operations at Blue Sky Studios.”

Blue Sky will officially be closed in April. The studio employs around 450 people, and Disney is working with the employees to explore open positions at some of the company's other internal studios. A series based on Ice Age is coming to Disney+, so hopefully, some of these affected employees can continue their work on that.

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