20th Century Animation, Inc.
Formerly
TypeDivision
Industry
FoundedFebruary 1994; 28 years ago (1994-02)
Headquarters,
Key people
  • Robert Baird (President)
ProductsAnimated films
Parent20th Century Studios
(The Walt Disney Studios)
Footnotes / references
[1][2]

20th Century Animation, Inc.[3] (originally known as Fox Family Films, Fox Animation Studios, and 20th Century Fox Animation and sometimes referred to as Fox Animation) is an American animation studio located in Century City, Los Angeles. Formed in 1994, it is organized as a division and label of 20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox), a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Studios, and is tasked with producing animated feature-length films.[4] At one point, 20th Century Animation had two subsidiaries: Fox Animation Studios, which was shut down on June 26, 2000 and Blue Sky Studios (the latter became the primary unit of 20th Century Animation), which was closed on April 10, 2021.[5]

The studio has produced a total of 30 feature films (6 films as Fox Family Films, 3 films from Fox Animation Studios, 13 feature films from Blue Sky Studios, and 8 original films), most of them being distributed by 20th Century Studios. Their first film was Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie and their first animated film was Anastasia, with the most recent release being The Bob's Burgers Movie. Its next film is Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again.

Background

Before 20th Century Fox started its animation division, Fox released its first seven animated films, such as Hugo the Hippo (1975), Wizards, Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977), Fire and Ice (1983), FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)[6] Once Upon a Forest (1993) and The Pagemaster (1994).

In May 1993, Fox agreed to a two-year first-look deal with Nickelodeon for family films.[7] The deal would mostly include original material, though a Nickelodeon executive did not rule out the possibility of making films based on The Ren & Stimpy Show, Rugrats and Doug.[8] However, no films came out of the deal due to the 1994 acquisition of Paramount Pictures by Nickelodeon's parent company, Viacom, and they would distribute the film projects instead.[9]

History

1994–1998: Formation and early years

The division initially started in February 1994 as Fox Family Films, as one of four film divisions of 20th Century Fox under executive John Matoian. The division was planned to produce six feature films a year as part of a plan to produce more films per year overall.[7] Fox senior vice president of production Chris Meledandri was transferred into the unit as executive vice president in March 1994 after having been hired the previous year.[10] The week of May 6, 1994, Fox Family announced the hiring of Don Bluth and Gary Goldman for a new $100 million animation studio[11] which began construction that year in Phoenix, Arizona. In three years, the animation studio would produce and release its first film, Anastasia.[4] In September 1994, Matoian was promoted by Rupert Murdoch to head up the Fox network.[12] Meledandri was selected to head up the unit in 1994.[13]

It produced live-action films such as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995), Dunston Checks In (1996) and Home Alone 3. By August 1997, Fox Family had decreased the number of live films.[4] R.L. Stine agreed with Fox Family Films in January 1998 for a film adaptation of the Goosebumps book franchise with Tim Burton producing.[14]

1997–2020: 20th Century Fox Animation, Fox Animation Studios and success with Blue Sky Studios

In August of 1997, Fox's Los Angeles-based visual effects company, VIFX, acquired majority interest in Blue Sky Studios to form a new visual effects and animation company, temporarily renamed "Blue Sky/VIFX".[15] Blue Sky had previously did the character animation of MTV Films' first film Joe's Apartment. Following the studio's expansion, Blue Sky produced character animation for the films Alien Resurrection, A Simple Wish, Mouse Hunt, Star Trek: Insurrection and Fight Club.[16] VIFX was later sold to another VFX studio Rhythm and Hues Studios in March 1999.[17] According to Blue Sky founder Chris Wedge, Fox considered selling Blue Sky as well by 2000 due to financial difficulties in the visual effects industry in general.

In 1998, following the success of Anastasia, the division was renamed to Fox Animation Studios, refocusing on animated feature films, including stop-motion, mixed media and digital production. The division's live action films in development at the time included Marvel Comics' Silver Surfer, the disaster film spoof Disaster Area, Fantastic Voyage[4] and Goosebumps.[14] The 1998 film Ever After, a Cinderella adaptation, was the division's last live action film.[4] At this time, there were several animated films on the company's development slate: Dark Town with Henry Selick, Chris Columbus and Sam Hamm, Santa Calls at Blue Sky, and Matt Groening (The Simpsons), Steve Oedekerk and Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) projects. The Phoenix studio at the time was producing Planet Ice expected in 1999 and directed by Art Vitello and Anastasia producer/directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman's then soon to be announced project.[18] Chris Meledandri remained as the president of the division,[4][19] which was known by 1999 as 20th Century Fox Animation.[20] The only television series that the Phoenix studio produced was Adventures from the Book of Virtues, which was a co-production between Fox Animation Studios and PorchLight Entertainment; that series would air on PBS between 1996 and December 2000.[21][22]

Logo as 20th Century Fox Animation
Logo as 20th Century Fox Animation

20th Century Fox Animation vice president of physical production Chuck Richardson was sent in early December 1999 to Fox subsidiary Blue Sky Studios as general manager and senior vice president. Richardson was sent to prepare Blue Sky for feature animation production.[23]

The Phoenix studio, which kept the Fox Animation Studios name, laid off 2/3 of its employee workforce in February 2000 before its closure in late June of that year, ten days after Titan A.E. was released and six months before Adventures from the Book of Virtues aired its final episode. Fox Animation looked to produce films at Blue Sky and its Los Angeles headquarters.[24]

Chris Wedge, film producer Lori Forte, and Meledandri presented Fox with a script for a comedy feature film titled Ice Age.[25] Studio management pressured staff to sell their remaining shares and options to Fox on the promise of continued employment on feature-length films. The studio moved to White Plains NY and started production on Ice Age. As the film wrapped, Fox, having little faith in the film, feared that it might bomb at the box office, terminated half of the production staff, and tried unsuccessfully to find a buyer for the film and the studio.[citation needed] Instead, Ice Age, Blue Sky's first feature film, was released by Fox in conjunction with 20th Century Fox Animation on March 15, 2002 with financial success and critical acclaim, receiving a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003.[26] Ice Age would subsequently spawn a successful franchise and launch Blue Sky into producing feature films and into becoming a household name in feature animation.

In January 2007, Meledandri left for Universal Pictures to set up Illumination there with Vanessa Morrison as his replacement while answering to newly appointed 20th Century Fox Film Group vice chairman Hutch Parker. Morrison moved from the live action division where she handled family-children fare as senior vice president of production.[27] Morrision was making deal with outside producers like she approved a stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox.[28]

In September 2017, Locksmith Animation formed a multi-year production deal with 20th Century Fox, who would distribute Locksmith's films, with Locksmith aiming to release a film every 12–18 months. Fox Animation was later brought on to oversee the deal, which was to bolster Blue Sky's output and replace the loss of distributing DreamWorks Animation films, which are now owned and distributed by Universal Pictures.[29]

On October 30, 2017, Morrison was named president of a newly created 20th Century Fox division, Fox Family, which has a mandate similar to Fox Animation when it was called Fox Family Films.[30] Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird were named co-president of Fox Animation the same day and would also have direct oversight of Blue Sky and oversee the Locksmith Animation deal and grow Fox Animation with other partnerships and producer deals.[31]

2019–present: Disney era, renaming and closure of Blue Sky Studios

On October 18, 2018, it was announced that Fox Animation would be added alongside 20th Century Fox to the Walt Disney Studios following their acquisition, with co-presidents Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird retaining leadership while reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman, Alan Horn and Twentieth Century Fox vice chairman Emma Watts.[32]

On March 21, 2019, Disney announced that Fox Animation (including Blue Sky Studios) would be integrated as new units within the Walt Disney Studios with Co-presidents Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird continuing to lead the studio reporting directly to Alan Horn.[33] Miloro step down as co-president in late July 2019.[34] In August 2019, Walt Disney Animation Studios head Andrew Millstein was named as co-president of Blue Sky for day-to-day operations alongside Baird, while Pixar Animation Studios president Jim Morris would also be taking a supervisory role over Millstein.[2] With the Disney take over, the Locksmith deal left 20th Century Fox for Warner Bros. in October 2019 except for the first and now only film under the deal, Ron's Gone Wrong.[35]

With the August 2019 20th Century Fox slate overhaul announcement, projects from 20th Century Fox franchises such as Night at the Museum, Diary of the Wimpy Kid, and Ice Age were announced for the then-upcoming Disney+ streaming service.[36] These projects would later be announced during Disney's Investor Day in December 2020 as animated feature films for the aforementioned streaming service.[37] The first of these projects was an animated reboot of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which was released on December 3, 2021 under Walt Disney Pictures.

On January 17, 2020, Disney dropped the "Fox" name from the two main film studio units acquired from 21st Century Fox—20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures, while there were no mention of changes to other lesser-known feature film units.[38] Fox Animation took on its current name on January 28, 2020.[3]

On February 9, 2021, Disney announced that it was shutting down Blue Sky Studios in April 2021, the main unit of 20th Century Animation.[5][39] It closed on April 10, 2021.

Process

Unlike animation studios such as Pixar or Walt Disney Animation Studios, 20th Century Animation does not act as a typical animation studio, but rather as a division and somewhat of a distribution label for animated films that are made under or acquired by 20th Century Studios. An example of this is with Fox Animation Studios and Blue Sky Studios' films; both of which were subsidiaries of the company. Another example of this is Fantastic Mr. Fox.[40][41] Additionally, Ron's Gone Wrong was the first and only film made under a deal between 20th Century and Locksmith Animation.[35]

However, the animation production of 20th Century Animation's films (except for Blue Sky Studios) is outsourced to other studios. For example, The Simpsons Movie was animated at Film Roman alongside AKOM and Rough Draft Studios, while Ron's Gone Wrong was animated by DNEG. The Book of Life was developed outside of 20th Century Animation at Reel FX, with the studio co-producing the film later on.[42] Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild were animated by Bardel Entertainment.

Fox Animation Studios (headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona) and Blue Sky Studios (headquartered in White Plains, New York and later Greenwich, Connecticut) animated their respective films internally, however Anastasia and Titan A.E. were outsourced to multiple animation studios, including Bardel Entertainment, Reality Check Studios, and Blue Sky,[43][44] when the latter of the three was still a VFX studio.

Both Fox Animation Studios and Blue Sky had their own unique animation style, with the former having the same animation style as Don Bluth.

Filmography

Fox Family Films

Title Release Date Notes
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie June 30, 1995 co-production with Saban Entertainment and Toei Company
Dunston Checks In January 12, 1996
Jingle All the Way November 22, 1996 co-production with 1492 Pictures
Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie March 28, 1997 co-production with Saban Entertainment and Toei Company
Home Alone 3 December 12, 1997 co-production with Hughes Entertainment
Ever After July 31, 1998

Fox Animation Studios

Fox Animation Studios
Fox Animation Studios

Main article: Fox Animation Studios

From 1994 to 2000,[45][46] Fox operated Fox Animation Studios, a traditional animation studio which was started to compete with Walt Disney Animation Studios, which was experiencing great success with films such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. The Fox studio, however, was not as successful. Their first feature Anastasia made nearly $140 million at the worldwide box office on a $53 million budget in 1997,[47] but their next feature, Titan A.E., was a large financial loss, losing $100 million for 20th Century Fox in 2000.[48] The lack of box office success, coupled with the rise of computer animation, led Fox to shut down the studios.[46]

# Title Release date Budget Gross RT MC Notes
1 Anastasia November 21, 1997 $53 million $140 million 86% 61 as Fox Family Films
2 Bartok the Magnificent November 16, 1999 $24.8 million Direct-to-video release
3 Titan A.E. June 16, 2000 $75–90 million $36.8 million 50% 48 co-production with David Kirschner Productions

Blue Sky Studios

Blue Sky Studios
Blue Sky Studios
Premiere of Blue Sky Studio's Rio at the Connecticut Science Center: Vanessa Morrison, 20th Century Fox Animation president;[49] Jim Gianopulos, Fox Entertainment Group chairman and CEO; Dannel Malloy, governor of Connecticut; Brian Keane, Blue Sky Studios COO;[49] and Chris Dodd, MPAA chairman.
Premiere of Blue Sky Studio's Rio at the Connecticut Science Center: Vanessa Morrison, 20th Century Fox Animation president;[49] Jim Gianopulos, Fox Entertainment Group chairman and CEO; Dannel Malloy, governor of Connecticut; Brian Keane, Blue Sky Studios COO;[49] and Chris Dodd, MPAA chairman.

Main articles: Blue Sky Studios and List of Blue Sky Studios productions

From 1997 until 2021, Fox owned Blue Sky Studios, a computer animation company known for the Ice Age franchise.[50] Fox has had much more success with the studio, with the box office receipts of their films becoming competitive with the likes of Pixar and DreamWorks Animation. On March 21, 2019, Blue Sky Studios was integrated as a separate unit within Walt Disney Studios, yet they would continue to report to Fox Animation presidents Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird.[51][52] In February 2021, Disney had announced that Blue Sky would cease all operations and close sometime within April 2021, eventually shuttering on April 10, 2021.[5][39]

Blue Sky released thirteen feature films, numerous short films and television specials. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is the studio's highest-grossing film. Major feature films include:

# Title Release date Distributor/Co-production with Budget Gross Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 Ice Age March 15, 2002 20th Century Fox $59 million $383 million 77% 60
2 Robots March 11, 2005 $75 million $260 million 64% 64
3 Ice Age: The Meltdown March 31, 2006 $80 million $660 million 57% 58
4 Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! March 14, 2008 $85 million $297 million 79% 71
5 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs July 1, 2009 $90 million $886 million 46% 50
6 Rio April 15, 2011 $484 million 72% 63
7 Ice Age: Continental Drift July 13, 2012 $95 million $877 million 37% 49
8 Epic May 24, 2013 $93 million $268 million 65% 52
9 Rio 2 April 11, 2014 $103 million $500 million 47% 49
10 The Peanuts Movie November 6, 2015 $99 million $246 million 87% 67
11 Ice Age: Collision Course July 22, 2016 $105 million $408 million 18% 34
12 Ferdinand December 15, 2017 20th Century Fox
Davis Entertainment
$111 million $296 million 71% 58
13 Spies in Disguise December 25, 2019 20th Century Fox[a]
Chernin Entertainment
$100 million $171 million 76% 51

Co-productions and original films

Starting in 2007, 20th Century Animation occasionally produces their own films without Blue Sky Studios' involvement while also co-producing films from other studios. The company is not credited on these films like how they are with Blue Sky's films and Fox Animation Studios' Anastasia and Titan A.E. As of 2022, The Simpsons Movie remains their highest-grossing original film.

All films listed are produced and or distributed by 20th Century Studios unless noted otherwise.

# Title Release date Co-production with Distributor Animation service(s) Director(s) Budget Gross RT MC
1 The Simpsons Movie July 27, 2007 Gracie Films 20th Century Fox Film Roman
AKOM
Rough Draft Studios
Rough Draft Korea
David Silverman $75 million $536.4 million 88% 80
2 Alvin and the Chipmunks[S] December 14, 2007 Fox 2000 Pictures
Regency Enterprises
Bagdasarian Productions
Rhythm and Hues Studios Tim Hill $60 million $361.3 million 28% 39
3 Fantastic Mr. Fox November 13, 2009 Indian Paintbrush
Regency Enterprises
American Empirical Pictures
[b] Wes Anderson $40 million $46.5 million 92% 83
4 The Book of Life October 17, 2014 Reel FX Animation Studios
Chatrone[53]
Mexopolis (uncredited)
Reel FX Creative Studios Jorge R. Gutierrez $50 million $99.8 million 82% 67
5 Ron's Gone Wrong October 22, 2021 TSG Entertainment
Locksmith Animation
DNEG Feature Animation
20th Century Studios[a] DNEG Sarah Smith
Jean-Philippe Vine
TBA $60.7 million 80% 65
6 Diary of a Wimpy Kid December 3, 2021 Walt Disney Pictures[c] Disney+ Bardel Entertainment[d] Swinton Scott TBA 73% 50
7 The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild January 28, 2022 John C. Donkin TBA 17% 30
8 The Bob's Burgers Movie May 27, 2022 20th Century Family
Wilo Productions
20th Century Studios[a] Bento Box Entertainment[d]
Tonic DNA
Lighthouse Studios
Mercury Filmworks
Golden Wolf
Loren Bouchard
Bernard Derriman
$38 million $34 million 87% 75
Upcoming
# Title Release date Co-production with Distributor Animation service(s) Director(s) Ref. Production status
9 Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again 2022 21 Laps Entertainment
1492 Pictures
Alibaba Pictures
Disney+ Atomic Cartoons[d] TBA [54][55] Post-production

In development

Title Notes
Untitled Family Guy film co-production with Fuzzy Door Productions[56]
Untitled seventh Ice Age film [57]
Untitled The Simpsons Movie sequel co-production with Gracie Films[58][59]
Untitled third Rio film [57]

S Combines live-action with animation.

Television specials

# Title Release date Notes
1 Olive, the Other Reindeer December 17, 1999 co-production with The Curiosity Company, DNA Productions, Flower Films, and Fox Television Studios[6]
2 Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas November 24, 2011 co-production with Blue Sky Studios and Reel FX Creative Studios
3 Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade March 20, 2016 co-production with Blue Sky Studios, 20th Century Fox Television and Arc Productions

Short films

# Title Release date Notes
1 Gone Nutty November 26, 2002 co-production with Blue Sky Studios
2 Aunt Fanny's Tour of Booty September 27, 2005 co-production with Blue Sky Studios and Reel FX Creative Studios
3 No Time for Nuts November 21, 2006 co-production with Blue Sky Studios
4 Surviving Sid December 9, 2008
5 Scrat's Continental Crack-Up[60] December 25, 2010
6 Scrat's Continental Crack-Up: Part 2[60] December 16, 2011
7 The Longest Daycare July 13, 2012 co-production with Gracie Films, AKOM Studios, and Film Roman; released with Ice Age: Continental Drift
8 Umbrellacorn[61][62] July 26, 2013 co-production with Blue Sky Studios
9 Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe[63] November 6, 2015
10 Scrat: Spaced Out[64][65] October 11, 2016
11 Playdate with Destiny March 6, 2020 co-production with Gracie Films; released with Onward; first short film produced under Disney

Related productions

All films list are distributed by 20th Century Studios unless noted otherwise.

Title Release date Studio Animation service(s) Notes
FernGully: The Last Rainforest April 10, 1992 FAI Films
Youngheart Productions
Kroyer Films
Rough Draft Studios, Inc.
A. Film Production
Electric Filmworks
Karen Johnson Productions
Kroyer Productions, Inc. Luk Film
Available Light
The Chandler Group
Lumenj Productions, Inc
Nick Vasu, Inc
Wang Film Productions
Saerom Co., Ltd.
Hanho Animation Studios
Slam Mammoth Animation Co., Ltd
Time Art Studios
Ullmation
FernGully 2: The Magical Rescue March 17, 1998 FAI Films
Rosen Harper Entertainment
Wild Brain Productions
Wang Film Productions Sequel to FernGully: The Last Rainforest
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel December 23, 2009 Fox 2000 Pictures
Regency Enterprises
Bagdasarian Productions
Dune Entertainment
Rhythm and Hues Studios Sequel to Alvin and the Chipmunks
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked December 16, 2011 Third installment in the Alvin and the Chipmunks series
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip December 18, 2015 Fox 2000 Pictures
Regency Enterprises
Bagdasarian Productions
TSG Entertainment
Fourth installment in the Alvin and the Chipmunks series
Isle of Dogs March 23, 2018 Fox Searchlight Pictures
Indian Paintbrush
American Empirical Pictures
[e]
Ice Age: Scrat Tales April 13, 2022 Blue Sky Studios Television series for Disney+. Blue Sky Studios' last completed project before shutting down.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules 2022 Walt Disney Pictures Bardel Entertainment[d] Sequel to Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Nimona 2023 Netflix
Annapurna Pictures
Vertigo Entertainment
DNEG Feature Animation
DNEG Originally in production at Blue Sky Studios. Later cancelled due to Blue Sky's closure and revived by Netflix.

Unproduced films

Main article: List of unproduced 20th Century Studios animated projects

Franchises

This list does not include follow-up films not produced by 20th Century Animation

Years Title Films TV Seasons Shorts Studio
1997–1999 Anastasia 2 0 0 Fox Animation Studios
2002–present Ice Age 6 0 7 Blue Sky Studios
2007–present The Simpsons 1 15 5 Gracie Films
2011–2014; TBA Rio 2 0 0 Blue Sky Studios
2021–present Diary of a Wimpy Kid 1 0 0

Accolades

Academy Awards

Year Film Category Recipient(s) Result
1998 Anastasia Best Music, Original Song "Journey to the Past" by Stephen Flaherty (music), Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) Nominated
Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, and David Newman
2002 Ice Age Best Animated Feature Chris Wedge
2009 Fantastic Mr. Fox Wes Anderson
2011 Rio Best Original Song "Real in Rio" by Carlinhos Brown & Sérgio Mendes (music); Siedah Garrett (lyrics)
2017 Ferdinand Best Animated Feature Carlos Saldanha and Lori Forte

Annie Awards

Year Film Category Recipient(s) Result
1997 Anastasia Best Animated Feature 20th Century Fox, Fox Animation Studios Nominated
2000 Titan A.E. 20th Century Fox Animation, Fox Animation Studios, David Kirschner Productions
2002 Ice Age 20th Century Fox Animation, Blue Sky Studios
2007 The Simpsons Movie 20th Century Fox Animation
2009 Fantastic Mr. Fox 20th Century Fox
2011 Rio Blue Sky Studios
2014 The Book of Life 20th Century Fox, Reel FX Animation Studios
2015 The Peanuts Movie 20th Century Fox Animation, Blue Sky Studios
2021 Ron's Gone Wrong Outstanding Achievement for
Character Design in a Feature Production
Julien Bizat
Outstanding Achievement for
Production Design in an Animated Feature Production
Aurélien Predal, Till Nowak and Nathan Crowley

British Animation Awards

Year Film Category Recipient(s) Result
2022 Ron's Gone Wrong Best Long Form Sarah Smith, Jean-Philippe Vine and Octavio E. Rodriguez Won
Best Design
Writers Award Sarah Smith and Peter Baynham Nominated

Golden Globe Awards

Year Film Category Recipient(s) Result
2015 The Peanuts Movie Best Animated Feature Film Steve Martino Nominated
2017 Ferdinand Carlos Saldanha
Best Original Song "Home" Music by: Nick Jonas, Nick Monson & Justin Tranter, Lyrics by: Jonas & Tranter

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c under Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  2. ^ The actual animation took place at 3 Mills Studios.
  3. ^ The film was originally in-production at 20th Century Studios, but was switched to Walt Disney Pictures before completion.
  4. ^ a b c d also production company
  5. ^ The actual animation took place at 3 Mills Studios and Studio Babelsberg.

References

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