As it channels more efforts into producing in-house CG features, The Walt Disney Co. has shut down another traditional animation facility. We received confirmation from the company that DisneyToon Studios Australia will close its doors next summer following the completion of Bambi 2, Brother Bear 2 and Cinderella 3.
"This closure is a business decision due in large part to the changing creative climate and economic environment in which DisneyToon Studios requires more flexibility to choose the most appropriate and efficient animation process," reads the official statement issued by the Walt Disney Co.
The latest closure will affect approximately 250 employees, many of whom contributed to such films as The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s London Adventure, Return to Neverland and Jungle Book II. "The employees will receive a generous package of benefits and entitlements above any statutory obligations in recognition of their many years of contribution, and Disney will provide assistance for each individual employee with re-employment and outplacement services," says the company.
In January of 2004, Disney officially closed its feature animation facility in Orlando, Florida, where the hit theatrical releases Lilo & Stitch and Brother Bear were made. Then, September of 2004 saw the company shut down its Tokyo-based Walt Disney Animation (Japan), the studio behind many DisneyToon Studios direct-to-video titles and theatrical releases such as The Tigger Movie, Piglet’s Big Movie and the recently released Pooh’s Heffalump Movie.
Despite this closure, DisneyToon Studios will continue to feature both CG and 2D-animated titles in its pipeline.