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Once upon a time, there was a little studio called MAGI/Synthavision. In 1987, having completed some of the effects on the ground-breaking Disney film Tron and some CG animation for commercials, an employee named Chris Wedge gathered a bunch of his co-workers and formed a studio of his own. They produced some effects for live-action films like Fight Club and Alien Resurrection, along with their first short film Bunny, which Wedge directed. In the wake of the CG cartoon movement (Pixar had released A Bug's Life the same year Bunny was awarded Best Animated Short in the Oscars), the studio just happened to be bought by Twentieth Century Fox to help fish them out of their failing 2-D feature animation unit. And the rest is prehistory.
Ice Age (2002) was the film that made Blue Sky Studios a major competitor in the animated feature film industry. It also helped boost the morale in the pretty dismal Northeastern animation circle -- they were the only feature animation studio in the Northeast, having used to be located in White Plains, New York before moving under a mile across the state border into Greenwich, Connecticut for the tax breaks. They were notable for being one of the first studios to use raytrace rendering in feature films. They were also known for using more naturalistic lighting design than other studios, depending completely on sculpture maquettes to create the 3D forms of their characters, and utilizing cartoon squash-and-stretch more frequently in their later features. Chris Wedge directed their first films, and continued to executive produce their later ones.
Sadly, just a couple years after Disney purchased 20th Century Fox and its subsidiaries, Blue Sky Studios was closed down due to the Disney Company's financial struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Films made by Blue Sky Studios:
- Ice Age (2002)
- Robots (2005)
- Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (2006)
- Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who! (2008)
- Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)
- Rio (2011)
- Ice Age 4: Continental Drift (2012)
- Epic (2013), based on William Joyce's children's book The Leaf Men And The Brave Good Bugs
- Rio 2 (2014)
- The Peanuts Movie (2015), based on the popular comic strip by Charles Shultz
- Ice Age 5: Collision Course (2016), last film in the Ice Age franchise.
- Ferdinand (2017), based on the 1936 book The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
- Spies in Disguise (2019), last film made before Disney shut down the studio.