Last week, the bad news that many fans and animation professionals have been waiting for a long time arrived: Spies in disguise, the Christmas 2019 release starring Will Smith and Tom Holland, would be Blue Sky Animation’s last original feature film, which would come to an end. The studio, which was founded in the late 1980s, had become the in-house animators for 20th Century Fox, which is now 20th Century Studios, owned by the Walt Disney Company. And since Disney owns both Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, it never seemed like Blue Sky was very lucky to survive there… but people were hopeful against all hopes.
The workshop behind the Ice Age and Rio franchises, Blue Sky Animation sometimes struggles to find its identity, with films like Horton hears a who! and The peanuts movie very young but Robots and Epic asking a lot more of their audience than an average third-grader is likely to give.
Some are likely to report steadily declining revenues – their biggest box office hit came out in 2009 and 2019 Spies in disguise was his lowest grossing film by far – but even there you can point to the Disney’s Fox acquisition and the apparent desire to bury Spies in disguise as the more likely culprit for his performance (the film did quite well with critics and audiences alike, and benefited from a pair of big stars to promote it).
Either way, Blue Sky is over, and now is a great time to take a look back at the studio’s track record and see how the films stack up against each other. What’s the best movie they’ve released? What’s the worst ? We looked at the box office and Rotten Tomatoes to compile a quick rundown.
But as you read this, also remember that these guys have produced TV specials, short films, and even contributed to live action movies like Joe’s apartment (they did some of the dancing cockroaches) and Fight Club (the “toboggan” penguin).
Ice Age: Collision Course
After five feature films, six short films and two television specials, the Ice Age the franchise died out with a whimper in what would turn out to be Blue Sky’s most criticized film by far.
Ice Age: Collision Course released in theaters in 2016, grossing a modest $ 408 million, the lowest box office since the first Ice Age – but this one was released in 2002, which means the purchasing power of its $ 383 million transport was more… and its budget was just over half of what Blue Sky spent to manufacture Collision course. The film also scored a paltry 18% positive on Rotten Tomatoes.
Ice age: continental drift
With a 38% positive rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a total of $ 877 million at the box office, Ice age: continental drift put Ice Age: Collision Course shame … but that’s it. The film marked the moment in the franchise when many fans began to wonder if there was any gas left in the tank – and quite a few seem to have decided ‘no’ when it came time to buy or not. not buy tickets for the next one.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Three years ago Continental Drift, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs had done slightly better at the box office ($ 886 million) and with critics (46%). Still, it was the first Blue Sky film to score below 50% on the Tomatometer (something that would happen exclusively to studio sequels, with its first installments still highly rated by critics and fans alike).
Even taking a bit of beating from the critics probably felt good, though; Dawn of the Dinosaurs marks the biggest box office success for an animated film Blue Sky for Fox – and since its release in 2009, it has significantly outperformed other high-performing films released in the 2010s, accounting for inflation and increase in production costs.
In 2014, as Ice Age was starting to show his age, Blue Sky tried to start another franchise with Rio 2, a sequel to their hit 2011 film, which ultimately performed almost identically to its ancestor. Or Rio cost around $ 90 million and made $ 484 million, Rio 2 cost just over $ 100 million and grossed $ 500 million. Even the amount of time and the resulting inflation don’t really blow the curve of this film, making it – like the first – a reasonable success but not at all the kind of runaway train that the studio probably had. hoped for.
It’s also the only Blue Sky movie produced to score less than 50% on Rotten Tomatoes (this one got 48%), it’s not a Ice Age following.
Ice Age: Fusion
We have achieved it! The point where there are no more movies with a Rotten Tomatoes score below 50% and after that no more sequelae. It’s probably a sign that after that Blue Sky should have focused less on sequels and more on new concepts that would connect and build the brand, but that’s what it is.
In any case, Ice Age: Fusion was a big hit, grossing $ 660 million worldwide in 2006. That was enough to make it the second highest grossing animated film of the year, behind Cars, and the sixth in the general classification, behind Superman Returns, at the domestic box office, when it earned a positive rating of 57% at Rotten Tomatoes.
Robots was a weird movie and, sandwiched between the first two Ice Age films, a strange choice for a second feature film for a new studio. Robin Williams, of course, elevates everything he’s into, but the movie only earned about 2/3 of that. Ice Age had, drastically lowering the bar for future Blue Sky box office productions, while also achieving a 64% rating at Rotten Tomatoes – certainly not bad, but also not close to the 77% of its predecessor.
The film found a cult following in the years after its release, and it’s hard to criticize the way it wears its heart on its sleeve, but at the time, it seemed a bit off the mark.
After Shrek, everyone made at least one attempt to make a hip, fairytale-style postmodern animated film, and this one was the shot Blue Sky took. With a score of 65% for Rotten Tomatoes (the same for critics and the public!) Shrek Where Ice Age money but certainly better than a lot of movies, some of which are Blue Sky considered hits, they could have done worse. But looking back, many fans think they could have done a lot better as well.
With Rio, as previously reported, the studio has seen modest financial success, fair success with critics and audiences, and what they believed to be potential for a new franchise to help bolster the studio’s lineup, which at this point was essentially fair Ice Age and ad hoc. The film got 72% positive reviews and $ 484 million against a budget of under $ 100 million, so that was certainly good news for the studio, even if it wasn’t quite the 886 million. dollars that Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, released just before that, had won.
Ferdinand was the kind of movie that felt like it must have been a bigger hit – but then again, there was a handful for Blue Sky in its later years. The 2017 film tied RioIt’s 72% with reviews, but didn’t come close to its box office, earning just $ 296 million. Financially, this could only be considered a success if measured against the film that immediately preceded it from Blue Sky, The peanuts movie, which earned less than $ 250 million despite having much more recognizable intellectual property at its core. Always, Ferdinand was another movie that felt like it should have burst more than it did, and on some level, it just felt like it was late. The children’s book it is based on has seen a resurgence in popularity after being featured in the Sandra Bullock hit The blind side, but that was in 2009 – almost a decade before this movie finally hit theaters.
Spies in disguise
Financially, Spies in disguise Blue Sky came out with a whimper, although that is questionable – and critics would certainly say – it was the best new brand the studio had imagined in years. But that 76% Rotten Tomatoes score was masked by a paltry box office gross of $ 171 million – the smallest in Blue Sky history by far – and by Disney’s obvious lack of interest in it. what Blue Sky had to offer.
The flagship of the Blue Sky brand remains their highest rated and most successful original IP they’ve ever had that wasn’t based on a concept that was already legendary before Blue Sky got their hands on it. His score of 77% is obviously not much better than Spies in disguiseis 76% – but its multiple sequels and spinoffs certainly speak for themselves, as does the $ 383 million box office mintage – roughly seven times the film’s budget and roughly $ 557 million in movie money. today.
Horton Hears a Who by Dr Seuss!
It’s hard to go wrong with Dr. Seuss – although feature film adaptations certainly have to add a lot of things that are not native to the beloved children’s writer. It was to be the only Blue Sky adaptation of a book by Dr Seuss, but Horton Hears a Who by Dr Seuss! was extremely well received.
The film earned a 79% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and while its box office draw of $ 297 was barely Ice Age money, it was almost 400% of his initial budget.
The peanuts movie
Who is going to give you better sources than Dr. Seuss? Well, very few people – but maybe Charles Schulz is a serious suspect. The film only grossed $ 246 million, significantly less than most other Blue Sky productions, but managed to earn an 86% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes and surprised fans with how much they got it. really liked it.