According to former Disney animator Tom Bancroft on Twitter, Disney gutted their hand-drawn animation division this afternoon, and laid off nine veteran animators, including some of the studio’s biggest names: Nik Ranieri, Ruben Aquino, Frans Vischer, Russ Edmonds, Brian Ferguson, Jamie Lopez and Dan Tanaka. Two of the animators who still have jobs are Eric Goldberg and Mark Henn. The news of cuts in their animation division was leaked last week, but I, for one, did not anticipate that all these top animators would be let go.
The site has listed updates of those who might not get the ax after all. But it’s a move everyone saw coming from ten miles away, sadly. One hopes that there is still room for hand-drawn animation in the industry.
Some of Disney’s most memorable, recent animated films were hand drawn, like the Princess and the Frog, and before that, Beauty and the Beast. For most of us there is no comparison. But it’s really about money at the end of the day.