The Ice Age franchise is being put on ice. Deadline is reporting that Disney is shuttering Blue Sky Studios, the incredibly profitable animation outlet that produced the entire Ice Age series. The studio grossed nearly $6 billion over the years but is now being shut down after being acquired by Disney during the historic merger with 20th Century Fox. Deadline says that this will affect close to 450 employees but that Disney will be working with some of them to try and find them positions within the larger workings of Disney.
Does this mean that the Ice Age movies are dead and gone? Certainly, if Disney does ever want to revive the franchise, they now have the rights to do so. In fact, there was a new film in development, Ice Age: Adventures of Buck Wild, that was scheduled to be released on Disney+ in 2022. As of now, it looks like that is still the plan. However, it is unclear if it is going to be a film or a series. There are conflicting reports, but the most recent information seems to say that it will be an animated series. After that, there does not seem to be any plans for Disney to do anything with the property, though they will retain the rights if they decide to do anything in the future.
Frankly, it might be time to let the Ice Age franchise sleep for a while or outright die. The last film, Ice Age: Collision Course, performed fairly poorly at the North American box office and did even worse with critics. There does not seem to be the biggest following for the franchise at this point. The series is headed towards being two decades old. Perhaps its glory days should be left in the past. By now, what else could there really be done with the premise?
Sadly, this also means other projects besides Ice Age have been scrapped. The fantasy adaptation Nimona will be stopping production and the movie will not be released. That film was set to be directed by Patrick Osbourne who wrote and directed the excellent Disney short Feast. Hopefully, Osbourne will be one of the employees who will find a new position with Disney. He is an extremely talented creative and it is a shame we will not get to see his adaptation of Noelle Stevenson’s graphic novel. If Disney was smart, they would get him signed up for one of their many projects.
We will have to wait and see if Disney decides to actually do anything else with the Ice Age franchise beyond this new series that was already being worked on. If not, it will be intriguing to see if the property undergoes any kind of cultural reevaluation or reappraisal. Will that happen? Or will the Ice Age movies end up being a mostly forgotten series in the history of children’s animated feature films? Only history will be able to judge. In the meantime, if this is a series you care about, now might be the time to start giving it some attention because it might be your last chance.