Animation Studios of the Past: Part 1

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana

For animation studios like us, it’s important to acknowledge animation studios of the past, learn from their journey as a business, and learn why they are no longer here. This is part one of a series that we'll be revisiting on our blog from time to time. Today we’ll be looking at studios that all have some sort of relation to Disney.

Laugh-O-Gram Studio

This was Walt Disney’s first Animation Studio and housed many great animators. Disney said that this was the place that inspired him to create Mickey Mouse, he was inspired by a mouse at his desk at Laugh-O-Gram. The studio signed a contract with the company Pictoral, for 6 animated shorts. Pictoral was going to pay Laugh-O-Gram $11,000 but only paid $100 upfront. Pictoral went bankrupt and the studio fell into financial problems. Disney continued to make cartoons but rather than paying off his creditors, decided to invest his profits in upcoming projects. The studio went bankrupt in 1923. The former studio building is in Kansas City, Missouri and is going to be converted into a museum where many of the original cartoons will be screened. 

Skellington Productions

Skellington Productions was a company between Tim Burton, and Henry Selick. The company specialized in the stop-motion style of animation. The production company was only around for two films, The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and The Giant Peach. The company was sold to Disney in 1992 before James and The Giant Peach was released in 1993. James and The Giant Peach was a hit but didn’t make enough of a profit. 

DIC Entertainment

DIC was founded in Paris but the American arm, DIC Enterprises was founded in Burbank. This studio was responsible for films like Inspector Gadget and Dennis the Menace. DIC became a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company in 1996. It wasn't until 2008 that DIC was acquired by Cookie Jar Entertainment. 

Sullivan Bluth Studios

This studio was founded by Don Bluth who worked at Disney and created his own animation studio along with other ex-Disney workers. His animation studio went bankrupt in 1984 and he co-founded Sullivan Bluth studios in 1985. The studio is best known for features like All Dogs Go To Heaven and Land Before Time. Funding was withdrawn from the studio due to poor box-office profits and over-spending on production budgets. The studio was continually suffering losses at the box-office and eventually decided to shut down in 1995.

These studios have all left some kind of impact on the animation industry. We were anxious to learn why the studios were no longer around, and what some of their biggest accomplishments were. Many of the studios did poorly at the box-office and were not able to make enough of a profit off of their work. Others decided to strategically disband and go pursue other ventures, while other companies got acquired by larger studios. Have you had any experiences with the above studios? We'd love to hear about it, please comment below!