Yesterday Disney fired most of their traditional animators, keeping only Eric Goldberg and Mark Henn. The veteran animators who lost their jobs are:
Nik Ranieri, Ruben Aquino, Frans Vischer, Russ Edmonds, Brian Ferguson, Jamie Lopez and Dan Tanaka (two names are unknown).
And apparently Disney are still calling meetings with people to discuss pay cuts or buyouts.
It’s awful news but it makes sense considering Disney currently have no interest in pursuing traditionally animated features. The sad fact is it seems that they’re going off the back of Prince and The Frogs not so great reception and most people agree that that movie suffered from a weak story. Techniques don’t ruin films, it’s all about story and characters. Whenever a VFX film bombs we don’t start crying that VFX are dead. We just make another one and hope it does better.
Traditional animation is a technique, it is still appealing and it still sells to both young and old. Give people bad stories and they won’t like your product regardless of how you created it. A lot of folk are commenting on the fact that 2D animation hasn't evolved enough to keep audiences interested. I think that's true to an extent with Western animation but there's a ton of great films coming from plenty of other countries that are doing much riskier things. And on that note, CG films can be judged in the same light.
Massive shame that such skilled people are being let go instead of trying for another feature. It’s not like Disney are short of cash but if they've already made the decision to turn away from 2D then it makes sense for their business plan. Sad times.