Scrat has chased his last acorn. Blue Sky Studios, which was inherited by The Walt Disney Company last year when the 20th Century buyout was finalized, is being shut down. The final day of operation will be in April. Deadline broke the news this morning.
Disney’s officially released reason for the shutdown is pandemic-related. Though they originally figured they could keep three animation studios afloat at once, the impact of COVID-19 on the moviemaking business has changed things. â€œGiven the current economic realities, after much consideration and evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to close filmmaking operations at Blue Sky Studios,” says a Disney representative.
Let’s not kid ourselves here — Blue Sky’s output was never the greatest. The world didn’t need a slug with Aziz Ansari’s voice ad-libbing his dialogue. The feature that would be their last, 2019’s Spies In Disguise, is too embarrassing to even think about. But they had their high points as well…The Peanuts Movie was their own creation. And though no one would disagree they made way too many Ice Age movies, the first two are pretty solid.
One of their highest highs might have been Nimona, a movie based on the Noelle Stephenson graphic novel (yes, the woman behind Lumberjanes and Netflix’s She-Ra, THAT Noelle). It was in mid-production at the time this news came down. No one has seen a scrap of it outside the studio, and now no one probably ever will…until sketches and storyboards start showing up randomly on artist portfolios.
The worst side of this development is obviously the 450 employees in Greenwich, Connecticut who are suddenly out of work, but Disney says they will try to retain as many of them as possible by offering them positions at other studios. Also, we haven’t EXACTLY seen the end of the Ice Age characters…a TV series was also in the works that will now appear on Disney+.