Sunday, April 13, 2014

The East Coast Feature Animation Studio

It's based in Connecticut, and doing well.

... More than any other U.S. filmmaking operation today, Blue Sky is demonstrating the enormous power and sway the international market can have on Hollywood. But judging by the coverage (or lack thereof) of Blue Sky’s films from most stateside media outlets, you could be forgiven for thinking of the studio as the RC Cola of feature animation, a third-tier operation without the cultural and commercial heft of Pixar, DreamWorks, and Disney. (Or, for that matter, the upstart Illumination Entertainment, which has basically only the Despicable Me movies and The Lorax to its name.)

The things you need to know about Blue Sky studios is

1) Fox tried to sell Blue Sky ... before the company realized Ice Age was going to be a big hit.

2) Blue Sky pioneered the use of tax subsidies, moving from White Plains, New York to Connecticut to get money from the state.

3) Blue Sky's features cost less than Pixar's and DreamWorks's, but more than Illumination Entertainment's. A Blue Sky features costs in $95-110 million range, while Illumination Entertainment products run $75-$80 million. Blue Sky brings in temporary staffers during crunch time and puts them up in corporate apartments. The company isn't unionized but pays competitively. Chris Meledandri, a specialist in keeping budgets low, ran both Blue Sky and Illumination Entertainment at different times.

4) Blue Sky's core staff has been on board for years.

5) Blue Sky's animated features are (mostly) profitable.


Grant said...

One of the people Fox hawked Blue Sky to was Steve Jobs, who was seriously considering purchasing the company to double the output of Pixar's product. I can only imaging where Blue Sky would be had that happened.

Steve Hulett said...

I was back there at the time visiting friends, and saw Japanese execs walking through. (For what studio, I know not. I was on vacation.)

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