How sad and ironic: A week after the wonderful “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” 25th anniversary celebration at the Academy, Disney lays off some key hand-drawn 2D animation vets as part of its studio-wide downsizing.
According to former animator Tom Bancroft, who posted Thursday on Twitter (@TomBancroft1), “Gone are Nik Raneri, Ruben Aquino, Fran’s Visher, Russ Edmonds… Brian Ferguson, Jamie Lopez, Dan Tanaka. Safe for now are Mark Henn and Eric Goldberg.”
These artists represent some of the cream of the crop of Disney’s second renaissance. So much for keeping the 2D legacy alive, despite the valiant efforts of John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Disney Animation Studios (“The Princess and the Frog” and “Winnie the Pooh”).
Around 150 Disney staffers were let go on Wednesday (less than 5%) as part of an ongoing effort to streamline operations in keeping with new paradigm shifts in social media and digital distribution platforms. Divisions hardest hit were home entertainment, production, distribution, and marketing.