Fox Animation Studios
|Former type||Division of 20th Century Fox|
|Parent||20th Century Fox|
Fox Animation Studios was an American animation production company located in Phoenix, Arizona and is a division of 20th Century Fox. After the bankruptcy of Sullivan Bluth Studios in Ireland in 1994, animators Don Bluth and Gary Goldman returned to the United States and were hired by 20th Century Fox's Bill Mechanic to be the creative heads of the animation studio. Bill Mechanic and John Matoian, President of Fox Family Films, also brought in Stephen Brain, Executive VP at Silver Pictures, as Senior VP/General Manager to oversee the startup of the studio and run day-to-day operations of the division. The studio closed in response to the 2000 financial failure of Titan A.E..
The company was designed to compete with Walt Disney Feature Animation, which had phenomenal success during the late 1980s and early 1990s with the releases of films such as The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994). Walt Disney Pictures veterans Bluth and Goldman came in 1994 to Fox from Sullivan Bluth Studios, which had produced The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, The Land Before Time, and both All Dogs Go To Heaven and Rock-a-Doodle, among other films.
Before Don Bluth came to Fox, the studio released three animated features during the 1990s which were produced by outside studios - FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Once Upon a Forest, and The Pagemaster, all of which did poorly at the box office. Even before, Fox distributed two Ralph Bakshi features, Wizards and Fire and Ice, and Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure by Richard Williams.
Productions and closure
The studio's films were not as successful as Disney's animated movies were. Only one of its two theatrical releases, Anastasia (1997), turned a profit. Its other theatrical release Titan A.E. (2000) made only $9,376,845 in its opening weekend, with an estimated production budget of $75,000,000. Almost a year before the release of Titan A.E. 20th Century Fox laid off three hundred of the 380 people at the studio in order to "make films more efficiently" and in summer 2000 the studio was shut down. The last film set to be made was going to be an adaptation of Wayne Barlowe's illustrated novel Barlowe's Inferno and it was set to be done with near complete CGI.
Fox Animation Studios' only other productions were the PBS television series Adventures from the Book of Virtues, and two direct-to-video sequels to Anastasia and FernGully, Bartok the Magnificent and FernGully 2: The Magical Rescue.
- FernGully 2: The Magical Rescue (Direct-to-video) (1998)
- Bartok the Magnificent (Direct-to-video) (1999)
- Adventures from the Book of Virtues (TV series) (1996–2000)
- The Prince of Egypt (1998) (additional final line animation)
- Kaye, Jeff (1994-05-06). "Company Town - Fox Heats Up the Animation Wars - Movies: Heavyweight Don Bluth discusses the deal that will bring him and Gary Goldman home from Ireland.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
- Lauria, Larry. "A Conversation With The New Don Bluth". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
- Linder, Brian (2000-06-27). "Fox Animation Studios Closes Its Doors". IGN. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
- Eller, Claudia (2000-06-29). "20th Century Fox Closes Its Phoenix Animation Studio". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
- Snider, Mike (2010-02-09). "Concept artist Wayne Barlowe on 'Dante's Inferno', Hell and video games". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-01-08.