Who’s excited for Spies in Disguise later this year? Blue Sky Studios Inc., Fox’s former animation house that’s responsible for the Ice Age and Rio franchises, really hopes that you are because their livelihoods may depend on that movie’s performance more than normal. After Disney’s big ol’ buyout of all things Fox, including the animation studio subsidiary, Blue Sky isn’t being shuttered just yet, but their new owner is already making power moves.
As THR reports, Disney has installed Walt Disney Animation Studios president Andrew Millstein as the co-president of Blue Sky alongside current co-president Robert Baird. The plan is for Baird to continue creative oversight with Millstein overseeing the day-to-day operations; Baird reports to Disney co-chairs Alan Horn and Alan Bergman while Millstein will report to Pixar president Jim Morris who takes on an expanded supervisory role at Blue Sky.
Millstein replaces Andrea Miloro as Blue Sky co-president while Zootopia producer and creative executive Clark Spencer will replace Millstein as president of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Spencer will report to Bergman along with Walt Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer Jennifer Lee, reporting to Bergman and Horn. Get all that? I feel like I need a flowchart.
But it all might be a moot point. As THR reports, the likely plan for Blue Sky is as a talent pool and feeder studio for Disney+, and likely Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar as well. The former Fox animation studio has already been put on notice by Disney CEO Bob Iger, saying that Horn and Bergman “are now redefining 20th Century Fox’s film strategy for the future, applying the same discipline and standards behind the success of Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.” The trio made time to toot their own horns over the in-house animation studios and basically said they’re going to bring Blue Sky up to the same level. Whether Blue Sky actually retains any identity in the process remains to be seen. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it rebranded and Disney-fied in the near future, perhaps as soon as the release of Spies in Disguise and likely well before the planned big-screen adaptation of Noelle Stevenson‘s Nimona hits screens in March 2021.