Disney closes Disneytoon direct-to-video animation studio

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Jun 29, 2018, 2:40 PM EDT

Disney continues to undergo some major changes. The company is shuttering its direct-to-video animation studio, Disneytoon Studios, effective immediately. Disney confirmed the news to SYFY WIRE after IndieWire originally broke the story. 

“After much consideration, we have made the decision to end production activity and close Disneytoon Studios,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement. About 75 people will be affected.

Disneytoon Studios was originally established to work on direct-to-video projects, such as the Disney Fairies films from 2008 to 2014. However, it was responsible for two worldwide theatrical releases: Planes in 2013 and Planes: Fire & Rescue in 2014. Some of the Fairies films were released in theaters overseas. 

The Glendale-based studio focused primarily on spin-offs and sequels of Disney's hand-drawn animated films, producing such titles as Bambi II, Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch and Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time.

Disneytoon Studios had been in development on an untitled project since 2014, but that project was removed from the theatrical release schedule in March and is no longer in development. 

A source familiar with the situation told SYFY WIRE that the decision to close the studio is unrelated to the recent announcement that John Lasseter will leave his position as chief creative officer of Pixar and Disney Animation at the end of the year. Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee will succeed Lasseter as chief creative officers at Pixar and Disney.