Walt Disney Co has decided to close Blue Sky Studios, the computer animation company behind the “Ice Age” films, approximately two years after it was acquired as part of a major asset purchase from 21st Century Fox

The decision will lead to around 450 layoffs after the closure comes into effect in April. In addition to the five “Ice Age” features, Blue Sky was also known for films such as “Rio” and “Ferdinand”, which won the Oscar 2018 as best animated Feature were nominated

Blue Sky’s death, first reported by Deadline, comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stir up the Disney film business by keeping most of the US Theaters Closed Disney has delayed or in some cases sent its major films directly to Disney Disney’s business has been challenged by restrictions on theme parks, retail stores and cruise lines Disneyland theme park in Anaheim was closed during the public health crisis

At its peak, Blue Sky was a formidable competitor against the dominant animation brands DreamWorks Animation, Disney, and Pixar When Disney bought 21st Century Fox for $ 71 billion in 2019, the company took over Blue Sky into its studio division, which already has two successful Animation Brands Were In Place – Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Animation Amid the economic challenges in the industry, maintaining three animation studios became untenable

“Given the current economic situation, after careful review and evaluation, we made the difficult decision to stop filming at Blue Sky Studios,” Walt Disney Studios said in a statement emailed Tuesday

Disney laid off tens of thousands of workers during the pandemic, the Burbank-based giant announced in a press release last year that it was 32000 jobs would be cut, including a significant portion of its theme park staff. Disney’s studio division was also hit by cuts. Disney posted a net loss of $ 2.8 billion for fiscal 2020

Since purchasing Fox assets, Disney has trimmed, renamed, or scaled down some of the brands that were part of Rupert Murdoch’s entertainment empire. 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight became 20th Century Studios and 20th Century Studios, respectively Searchlight Pictures renamed A year ago Disney sold the mobile video game unit FoxNext Games Los Angeles to LEIN-based game studio Scopely

The company has also cut its own brands, recently closing its influential children’s radio stations Radio Disney and Radio Disney Country, and laying off 36 full and part-time employees

Blue Sky, based in Greenwich, Conn, was founded in 1987 by Alison Brown, David Brown, Michael Ferraro, Carl Ludwig, Eugene Troubetzkoy, and Chris Wedge after their former employer, MAGI, who did animation work on Disney’s closed business, Tron, as House for visual effects, Blue Sky has worked on films such as “Joe’s Apartment” (1996), “A Simple Wish” (1997), “Alien Resurrection” (1997) and “Fight Club” (1999), according to its website

After being purchased by 20th Century Fox in 1999, the company established itself as a player in the feature film The 2002 Comedy with the release of “Ice Age” starring Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary as prehistoric animals grossed $ 383 million at the global box office, of which $ 176 million in the USAS and Canada

Ryan Faughnder is a film reporter for the Los Angeles Times Company Town and covers the most important Hollywood studios, including Walt Disney Co Previously, he wrote for the Los Angeles Business Journal and Bloomberg News. He has a Masters in Journalism from USC’s Annenberg School and a BA in English from UC Santa Barbara

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Source: https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2021-02-09/disney-to-shut-down-ice-age-studio-blue-sky-the-latest-brand-to-fall