Welcome! Here you’ll discover news, reviews, and new projects from Blue Sky Studios. Blue Sky Studios has already WOWed many viewers with their Ice Age series and plans to keep the pace. Although their portfolio is small in number it is big in talent and a growing fan base.
Rio was my favorite movie of 2011. Did you enjoy any of these Blue Sky hits?
About Blue Sky Studios
Upcoming Blue Sky Studios Movies
Blue Sky Studios Movies List
- Nimona (February 2020)
- Pigeon Impossible (January 2019)
- Ferdinand (December 2017)
- Ice Age: Collision Course
- The Peanuts Movie
- Rio 2
- Ice Age: Continental Drift
- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
- Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!
- Ice Age: The Meltdown
- Ice Age
The Growth and Future of Blue Sky Studios
Once upon a time, 6 brilliant individuals chose to start their own small animation company. Little did they know they were to be an industry giant under the name Blue Sky. Blue Sky Studios is a computer animation studio located in Greenwich, Connecticut, and owned by 21st Century Fox. Coming to life in 1987, its founders, 6 brilliant people were Chris Wedge, Michael Ferraro, Carl Ludwig, Eugen Troubetzkoy, Alison Brown, and David Brown. They all used to work for a company called MAGI, a visual effects studio well-known for its role in the production of the 1982 movie Tron. Blue Sky used its in-house engineering software to develop visual effects for films and commercials before exclusively dedicating itself to the production of animated films in 2002 with the Ice Age release.
Rio and Ice Age are the company’s most successful franchises. On the other hand, The Peanuts Movie is their most critically acclaimed movie.
In 1970, a bright young man named Chris Wedge, pursuing his undergraduate studies at Purchase College, was employed by a computer technology company called Mathematical Application Group Inc. (MAGI). The company handled the production of SynthaVision, a software that replicated the laws of physics for measuring nuclear radiation. While working, Wedge came across another impressive individual, Eugene Troubetzkoy, a computer animator holding a Ph.D. in theoretical physics.
Looking to his character animation skills, Wedge helped MAGI with the development of television commercials, something that made Walt Disney Productions come calling. Disney hired MAGI to work on its film, Tron. Soon enough, the company added a systemsarchitect by the name Michael Ferraro and an electrical engineer called Carl Ludwig. When MAGI’s star of success seemed to be getting dimmer, Alison Brown, and David Brown were brought in as a managing producer and marketing executive respectively. MAGI finally shut down, and the 6 individuals came together in February 1987 to begin Blue Sky Studios.
Ferraro went to work building a programming language that would be specifically meant for Blue Sky Studios’ proprietary animation software, CGI Studio. After the 1987 crash of the stock market, the future seemed bleak for the new company as they were not able to get their first client until 2 years later.
Finally in Business
From the late 1980s to the 1990s, the studio concentrated on producing visual effects for films and television commercials. It began this by animating commercials for pharmaceutical corporations where they showed the mechanisms of a time-release capsule. With that, they started earning some income from their venture. Another landmark commercial was a Chock Full O’ Nuts which involved a talking bean. Their production list also included the computer animated M&M’s. Blue Sky developed over 200 ads using CGI Studios to a wide range of clients such as General Foods, United States Marines, Texaco, and Chrysler.
Business is Booming
In the 1990s, Christmas came early for the company as MTV hired the studio in animating their network IDs. This led to a further collaboration between the 2 companies on the 1996 movie, Joe’s Apartment; where did you think the talking cockroaches in the film came from? With that, other customers followed including Rayovac, Braun, Gillette, and Bell Atlantic. The Braun commercial went ahead to win the CLIO Award for advertising. Remembering the award, Ludwig said that the judges initially mistook the commercial for a live action submission. This was because of the computer-animated razor’s photo realism.
The Entry of 20th Century Fox
In August 1997, VIFX, an animation and visual effects company situated in Los Angeles and a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox came knocking. The company acquired a majority interest in the now notable animation company Blue Sky Studios, forming a new animation and visual effects company that was temporarily called Blue Sky/VIFX. With the entry of Fox, an expansion of the studio followed. The results were the production of diverse character animation for a number of films such as Alien: Resurrection, Mouse Hunt, A Simple Wish, Star Trek: Insurrection, and Fight Club.
The Bunny Project
From 1990, Wage had his eye on Bunny, a short film that was to showcase CGI Studio. The feature is based on a rabbit that is irritated by the moth. The moth then leads the rabbit to reunite with her husband. During this period, the team got an additional team member called Carlos Saldanha. He was a student from the School of Visual Arts and was hired by Blue Sky as an animator. He directed a couple of animations and also played a role in the Bunny project. In 1996, a producer at the production house, Nina Rappaport assigned the Bunny project to Wedge. Finally, the studio released Bunny in 1998 winning the Best Animated Short Film at the Academy Awards. Bunny was a landmark success as not only was it a difficult undertaking at the time, but it provided Blue Sky Studios with the green light in developing feature length films.
Welcome To The Big League
The F/X market crash made Fox to rethink its strategies in animation and to contemplate on leaving the visual effects industry. They sold VIFX in 1999 to Rhythm & Hues Studios, another visual effects company.
Blue Sky Studios turned its attention to Ice Age. 2002 saw the movie’s release, receiving great commercial and critical success. The film received an Academy Award nomination under Best Animated Feature. With its success, Blue Sky became the third production house after DreamWorks and Pixar to successfully launch a CGI franchise.
Together Bue Sky and Fox have broken records and shown to the world that they are a formidable force in the animation industry. They have done this through their hit movies that include 2005’s Robots, 2008’s Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!, 2011’s Rio, and not forgetting the successful Ice Age sequels: 2006’s The Meltdown, 2009’s Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and 2012’s Continental Drift .
The Road Ahead
We can expect the third Rio film soon together with extensive adaptations from Mutts and the Alienology series. Their dates have still not been revealed. However, Anubis is scheduled to be released in 2018 while another feature, Ferdinand will be on screens in December 2017.
Also check out Illumination Entertainment