Blue Sky Studios, Inc. was an American computer animation film studio based in Greenwich, Connecticut. It was a subsidiary of 20th Century Studios, an acquired division of The Walt Disney Studios (making it the first Disney-owned animation studio not having films distributed under the Walt Disney Pictures banner). The studio was founded in 1987 by Chris Wedge, Michael Ferraro, Carl Ludwig, Alison Brown, David Brown, and Eugene Troubetzkoy after the company they worked in MAGI, one of the visual effects studios behind the film Tron, that shut down. Using its in-house rendering software, the studio had worked on visual effects for commercials and films before completely dedicating itself to animated film production in 2002 starting with the release of Ice Age by 20th Century Fox and ending in 2019 with the release of Spies in Disguise. Ice Age and Rio were the studio's most successful franchises, while Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! and The Peanuts Movie are its most critically praised films. Scrat, a character from the Ice Age films, was the studio's mascot. The studio was shut down on April 7, 2021.
Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, Blue Sky Studios concentrated on the production of television commercials and visual effects for film. In August 1997, 20th Century Fox's Los Angeles-based visual effects company, VIFX, acquired majority interest in Blue Sky Studios to form a new visual effects and animation company, temporarily renamed "Blue Sky/VIFX". Starting in 1990, Chris Wedge had been working on a short film named Bunny, intended to demonstrate CGI Studio. Blue Sky Studios released Bunny in 1998, and it received the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Bunny's success gave Blue Sky Studios the opportunity to produce feature-length films. In March 1999, Fox decided to sell VIFX to another visual effects house, Rhythm & Hues Studios, while Blue Sky Studios would remain under Fox. In 2002, Blue Sky Studios produced their first feature film named Ice Age.
Blue Sky was acquired by the Walt Disney Company as part of their 2019 acquisition of the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox, which concluded on March 20, 2019. On March 21, Disney announced that Blue Sky Studios and its parent company 20th Century Fox Animation would be integrated as units within the Walt Disney Studios with Co-Presidents Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird continuing to lead the studio reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Spies in Disguise was the first Blue Sky Studios film to be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
On July 25, it was announced that Andrea will be stepping down as co-president at Blue Sky, leaving Baird as the sole president of the company. On August 9, former Walt Disney Animation Studios president, Andrew Millstein has been named co-president of Blue Sky alongside Baird, while Jim Morris, president of Pixar Animation Studios would also be taking a supervising role.
On February 9, 2021, it was announced that Disney would shut down Blue Sky due to the COVID-19 pandemic and laying off their 450 employes. Their characters and films are said to be retained by them. Their last project is Ice Age: Adventures of Buck Wild for Disney+, as well as their only project made for the service. This also led to the cancellation of their movie Ninoma that was supposed to be released in January 2022.
- Ice Age (2002)
- Robots (2005)
- Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)
- Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! (2008)
- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)
- Rio (2011)
- Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012)
- Epic (2013)
- Rio 2 (2014)
- The Peanuts Movie (2015)
- Ice Age: Collision Course (2016)
- Ferdinand (2017)
- Spies in Disguise (2019)
- Ice Age: Adventures of Buck Wild (2022)
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- "Disney Closes Animator Blue Sky Studios Amid Cost Cuts", MSN, The Street. "The move resulted from the losses the media group has posted amid the coronavirus pandemic lockdown."