A beloved animation studio is, unfortunately, closing its doors, as Disney has announced it is closing Blue Sky Studios. Blue Sky Studios is well known to fans thanks to franchises like Ice Age and Rio, which helped it amass $5.9 billion at the box office over the course of 13 films. As for the reason, it appears to be cost-cutting due to the current pandemic, which has resulted in the closures of Disney's parks and resulted in low turnout in theaters, two substantial revenue streams for Disney. The last day for Blue Sky employees, of which there are 450, will be sometime in April, and Disney is working with employees to explore open positions with other internal studios (via Deadline).
A studio spokesperson said, “Given the current economic realities, after much consideration and evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to close filmmaking operations at Blue Sky Studios.”
Another causality of the studio closing is the Patrick Osborne-directed Nimona, as production has stopped and the film shelved. The project still had 10 months of production left and was supposed to release on January 14th of 2022, but unfortunately, that is no longer the case.
Blue Sky's other IP will still be part of Disney, including the Ice Age franchise, and a series based on the franchise's characters is in the works for Disney+.
Blue Sky Studios was founded in 1987, and they would work on various projects like Joe's Apartment, Alien Resurrection, Mouse Hunt, Fight Club, and more until their animated short film Bunny pushed them into a new spotlight thanks to its Best Animated Short Oscar win. In 2002 the studio would launch the first Ice Age, which launched a franchise and brought in $383 million at the box office. It would spawn four sequels, with the Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs leading them all with $886 million.
Blue Sky also hit it big with Rio in 2011, which brought in $484 million, followed by a successful sequel in 2014 that brought in $500 million. Other projects include Ferdinand, Robots, The Peanuts Movie, and Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!, and their most recent work was the Will Smith and Tom Holland project Spies in Disguise, which hit in 2019.