Fox Animation Studios

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Fox Animation Studios
TypeSubsidiary
Industry2D hand-drawn/CGI animation
PredecessorSullivan Bluth Studios
FoundedAugust 9, 1994; 27 years ago (August 9, 1994)[1]
Founders
DefunctJune 26, 2000; 21 years ago (June 26, 2000)
FateClosed
SuccessorsBlue Sky Studios
Headquarters2747 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Key people
  • Don Bluth (President)
  • Gary Goldman (Senior VIP President)
  • Anne Noakes (Chief Executive Officer)
ProductsAnimated features
Number of employees
80 (2000)
Parent20th Century Fox

Fox Animation Studios was an American animation production company owned by 20th Century Fox and located in Phoenix, Arizona. After six years of operation, the studio was shut down on June 26, 2000, ten days after the release of its final film, Titan A.E.. Most of the Fox Animation Studios library was acquired by Disney via 20th Century Studios in 2019.

History[edit]

Founding[edit]

After the financially unsuccessful release of the Don Bluth Entertainment-produced film Thumbelina in 1994, animators Don Bluth and Gary Goldman were hired by Bill Mechanic, then-chairman of 20th Century Fox, to create a brand new Fox animation studio.[2] 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.

About the studio[edit]

The company was designed to compete with Walt Disney Feature Animation (owned by The Walt Disney Company – which would later acquire certain Fox assets on March 20, 2019), 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). Disney veterans Bluth and Goldman came in 1994 to Fox from Sullivan Bluth Studios, which had produced The Secret of NIMH (1982), An American Tail (1986), The Land Before Time (1988), and All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989), among other films.[2]

Before Bluth came to Fox, the studio distributed three animated features during the 1990s which were produced by outside studios – FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992), Once Upon a Forest (1993) and The Pagemaster (1994), the last two of which were both commercial and critical failures. Even before, Fox distributed Hugo the Hippo (1975) by William Feigenbaum and József Gémes, two Ralph Bakshi features, Wizards (1977) and Fire and Ice (1983), as well as Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977) by Richard Williams. Also, Fox distributed Asterix Conquers America (1994) in France and the United Kingdom.

Productions[edit]

Fox Animation Studios did not achieve the same level of success as Disney's animated crop, due to increased competition from Pixar and DreamWorks Animation, the declining revenues of the Disney Renaissance, and the rise of computer-generated animation. The films used digital ink and paint similar to what Disney did with the CAPS software. The studio's first theatrical release Anastasia (1997) found critical and box-office success, but their second and final theatrical release Titan A.E. (2000) got mixed reviews and was a costly flop, losing $100 million for 20th Century Fox.[3] Nearly a year before its closure, 20th Century Fox laid off 300 of the nearly 380 people who worked at the Phoenix studio[4] in order to "make films more efficiently".

Shutdown[edit]

On June 26, 2000, the studio was shut down after six years of operation, resulting from poor financial returns.[5][6][7] Their last film set to be made would have been an adaptation of Wayne Barlowe's illustrated novel Barlowe's Inferno, and was set to be done entirely with computer animation.[8] Another film they would have made was The Little Beauty King, an adult animated film directed by Steve Oedekerk, which would have been a satire of the films from the Disney Renaissance. It would predate Shrek (2001).[9]

Fox Animation Studios' only other productions were the PBS television series Adventures from the Book of Virtues (1996–2000) and the direct-to-video spin-off to Anastasia, Bartok the Magnificent (1999), along with sub-contract work for DreamWorks Animation's The Prince of Egypt (1998).[10] Out of all the sequels and spin-offs based on existing Don Bluth properties, Bartok was the only one to actually have Bluth and Goldman as directors.

The former headquarters for the studio sat unused and abandoned until it was demolished in 2017.[11] An apartment complex was later built on the site.

Work[edit]

Title Release date Budget Gross Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Notes
Anastasia November 21, 1997 $53 million[12] $140 million[12] 86% (56 reviews)[13] 61[14] co-production with Fox Family Films
Bartok the Magnificent November 16, 1999 $24.8 million [15] N/A N/A (3 reviews)[16] N/A Direct-to-video release
Titan A.E. June 16, 2000 $75-85 million[17][15] $36.8 million[17] 50% (103 reviews)[18] 48[19] co-production with 20th Century Fox Animation and David Kirschner Productions

Animation service[edit]

Title Release date Studio(s) Notes
Adventures from the Book of Virtues 1996–2000 KCET Los Angeles
PorchLight Entertainment
TV series; aired on PBS[20][21]
The Prince of Egypt 1998 DreamWorks Pictures
DreamWorks Animation
additional final line animation[10]

Cancelled projects[edit]

Title Notes
Barlowe's Inferno A computer-animated film based on Wayne Barlowe's novel of the same name.[8] Was to be Fox Animation Studios' next film after Titan A.E.
The Little Beauty King An adult animated film directed by Steve Oedekerk, which would have been a satire of the films from the Disney Renaissance. It would predate Shrek.[9]
Over the Hedge Based on the comic of the same name by Michael Fry and T. Lewis. Later picked up by DreamWorks Animation.[22]
Africa An adult animated epic film set in Africa. Animator Will Makra posted concept art of the film later on.[23][24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bates, James (August 2, 1994). "Fox Animation Studio Will Be Built in Phoenix: Hollywood: Arizona entices the company with $1 million in job training funds and low-interest loans". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Kaye, Jeff (May 6, 1994). "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 January 8, 2011.[dead link]
  3. ^ Palmeri, Christopher (September 19, 2013). "Despicable Me 2 Producer Knows How to Win the Box Office". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  4. ^ Lauria, Larry. "A Conversation With The New Don Bluth". Animation World Network. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  5. ^ Eller, Claudia (June 29, 2000). "20th Century Fox Closes Its Phoenix Animation Studio". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  6. ^ F. Duke, Paul (June 27, 2000). "Fox tooning out, closing Phoenix arm". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  7. ^ Linder, Brian (June 27, 2000). "Fox Animation Studios Closes Its Doors". IGN. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Snider, Mike (February 9, 2010). "Concept artist Wayne Barlowe on 'Dante's Inferno', Hell and video games". USA Today. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Snider, Mike. "The Little Beauty King - Oedekerk Report - Unofficial fan site of director, producer, writer Steve Oedekerk". Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Felperin, Leslie. "The Prince of Egypt (1998)". Sight & Sound. No. January 1999. British Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  11. ^ "Display Location: Fox Animation Studios - Urban Exploration Resource".
  12. ^ a b "Anastasia (1997)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  13. ^ "Anastasia". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 23, 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  14. ^ "Anastasia". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  15. ^ a b "Ask Us". DonBluth.com. Archived from the original on September 14, 2000. Bartok $24.8 million
  16. ^ "Bartok the Magnificent". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  17. ^ a b "Titan A.E. (2000)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  18. ^ "Titan A.E.". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 23, 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  19. ^ "Titan A.E.". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  20. ^ A. Schechter, Pamela (1996). "TV's Fall Animation Lineup". Animation World Network. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  21. ^ D. Johnson, Bruce (November 1, 1997). "PBS Special Report: Program profiles: Adventures From the Book of Virtues". Kidscreen. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2015. Production begins with Fox Animation Studios in Phoenix.
  22. ^ "Comics2Film: Over The Hedge". Comics2Film. Archived from the original on April 7, 2001. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  23. ^ "Feature film". WillMakra.com.
  24. ^ @REJ_Productions (May 7, 2019). "This is concept art for an Adult-animated epic "Africa" from 2000. Art by Will Makra. (This is a thread)" (Tweet). Retrieved March 25, 2022 – via Twitter.