Walt Disney Co. is closing Blue Sky Studios, an animation company it acquired with the purchase of Fox’s entertainment assets two years ago.
The operation will wind down over the next two months, eliminating about 450 positions, Disney said Tuesday. Blue Sky, founded about 25 years ago, is best known for the “Ice Age” and “Rio” film franchises. Its most-recent release was 2019’s “Spies in Disguise.”
Disney, like other entertainment companies, has been hard hit by the coronavirus, which forced it to close or limit attendance at its theme parks and postpone the release of feature films in theaters. The company also owns the Pixar and Disney animation studios. Blue Sky was one too many.
“Given the current economic realities, after much consideration and evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to close filmmaking operations at Blue Sky Studios,” the company said in a statement.
Under Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek, who took on that role one year ago, Disney has been taking a sharp knife to operations, eliminating such once-cherished businesses as the Radio Disney network, the Disney Channel in the U.K. and even annual passes at its original Disneyland theme park.
Disney lost US$2.86 billion on sales of US$65.4 billion last fiscal year. It’s due to report its first-quarter results Feb. 11.