Disney Closing DisneyToon Studios; Third ‘Planes’ Movie Cancelled

Following the restructuring of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar with John Lasseter’s exit set to happen at the end of the year, Disney has decided to shut down DisneyToon Studios, the animation division responsible for the company’s direct-to-video output. The move has been in-discussions for a while and is unrelated to the decision to have Lasseter leave the company following news of his sexual misconduct with female employees.


The 75-employee company will be closing down effective immediately. This decision will have no impact on Walt Disney Animation Studios or Pixar, which will continue their output of high-quality animated features. It is not clear if any of the DisneyToon employees will be reassigned to either animation division.


A casualty of DisneyToon shutting down is the third Planes movie, which will be removed from Disney’s release schedule from its originally-planned March 2019 release date. It is unclear if the film will still be completed and released elsewhere, but it doesn’t appear likely at the current rate as the project is no longer in development.


With the acquisition of 21st Century Fox looking increasingly likely, it appears as though Blue Sky Studios will take DisneyToon’s place as Disney’s third animation studio. It may be possible that Disney could sell Blue Sky to some other party, though.