Disney Closes Direct-to-Video DisneyToon Studios

planes: fire and rescue

DisneyToon Studios, the direct-to-video offshoot of Disney Animation and Pixar, will shut down, Disney has confirmed.

“After much consideration, we have made the decision to end production activity and close DisneyToon Studios," a Disney spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline.

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About 75 animators and staffers at the Glendale, California-based studio will be laid off, although there's a possibility some could move into other roles at Disney or Pixar.

Significantly smaller in scope than Pixar or Disney Animation, DisneyToon Studios was known primarily for the home-video franchise Disney Fairies, as well as the Planes movies. DisneyToon was headed by former Disney animation chief John Lasseter until his departure from the company following allegations of inappropriate conduct toward employees. Lasseter was officially replaced by Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee earlier this month.

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DisneyToon (originally Disney MovieToons) was founded in 1990 as a division of Disney Animation, debuting with direct-to-video feature DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp. It continued to make a name for itself through the 1990s, with sequels to Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, among others.

More recently, however, the studio struggled, and was rocked by layoffs in 2014, following a discontinuation of the Tinkerbell franchise, a poor showing for Planes: Fire & Rescue, and a significantly weaker direct-to-video market.

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