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Disney shuffles animation and Blue Sky studio ranks after Fox acquisition

“Rio”
“Rio” was produced by Blue Sky Studios, formerly a division of 20th Century Fox.
(20th Century Fox / Blue Sky Studios)

Walt Disney Co. is shuffling the ranks of its animation business and newly acquired “Ice Age” producer Blue Sky Studios, after the company’s purchase of 21st Century Fox.

Longtime Disney animation veteran Andrew Millstein has been named co-president of Blue Sky, which became part of Disney after the Fox deal closed, the Burbank-based company said Friday. Millstein will serve alongside co-president Robert Baird. Millstein replaces Andrea Miloro, who recently left the company.

Millstein, a 22-year Disney veteran, was previously president of Walt Disney Animation Studios. He will be replaced by creative executive Clark Spencer, who will report to Walt Disney Studios co-chairmen Alan Horn and Alan Bergman. Spencer will work alongside Jennifer Lee, the “Frozen” codirector who replaced John Lasseter as chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios last year.

Additionally, Pixar Animation Studios president Jim Morris has been given a supervisory role at Blue Sky, expanding his duties at the company, Disney said.

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“We are incredibly proud of the strength and depth of leadership in our animation studios, and Andrew, Clark, and Jim are all exemplars of that,” said Horn and Bergman in a statement.

Blue Sky is rebuilding its slate under Disney ownership, where it joins animation powerhouses Walt Disney and Pixar animation studios. The unit is best known for computer animated films, including the tropical bird cartoon “Rio” and the long-running “Ice Age” series. Blue Sky’s most recent film was the 2017 effort “Ferdinand,” about a friendly bull, which did modest business at the box office and earned a best animated feature Oscar nomination.

Baird will continue to drive the creative direction of the studio, reporting to Horn and Bergman, while Millstein will oversee day-to-day operations, Disney said.

Spencer has spent nearly 30 years at Disney, winning the best animated feature Oscar as producer of “Zootopia.” He also produced “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” “Bolt” and “Lilo & Stitch.”


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