July 2, 2018
News that Disney is officially pulling the plug on one of its namesake animation units – Disneytoon Studios – is noteworthy since the business segment was considered dead nearly five years ago.
“Disneytoon Studios, as of now, is pretty well kaput, Steve Hulett, with The Animation Guild, blogged at the time.
After Disney laid off hundreds from the Glendale, Calif.-based facility, a skeleton crew of less than 100 continued — rejuvenated in part by Pixar Animation founder John Lasseter’s personal interest in the company.
What followed was a string of box office and home entertainment hits, including Planes and its sequel, Planes: Fire & Rescue. The unit’s last theatrical release was Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast, released in theaters overseas in 2015. Disneytoon most recently focused on direct-to-video DVD releases and Blu-ray Disc titles.
Notable home video releases included the Disney “Fairies” franchise, which featured TinkerBell and the Great Fairy Rescue, TinkerBell and the Lost Treasureand TinkerBell and Her Magical Arrival, among other titles.
A planned movie about the future of aviation from director Klay Hall (Planes) and Bobs Gannaway (Fire & Rescue) is now reportedly abandoned.
“After much consideration, we have made the decision to end production activity and close Disneytoon Studios,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement.
What wasn’t mentioned was the impact of Lasseter’s resignation at Disney last month following allegations of inappropriate conduct in the workplace. Lasseter had been on a six-month leave of absence following the allegations.
In a statement, Lasseter said he would begin “focusing on new creative challenges.”