|Products||CGI animated films|
|Parent||Walt Disney Studios|
|Footnotes / references|
20th Century Animation, Inc. (originally Fox Family Films, Fox Animation Studios, and 20th Century Fox Animation) is an animation production studio, organized as a division of Walt Disney Studios. Originally formed in 1994 as a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox (currently 20th Century Studios), the studio is located in Century City, Los Angeles, and is tasked with producing feature-length films. Blue Sky Studios, the primary unit of 20th Century Animation, was shut down on April 7, 2021.
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) with Interscope Communications, 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. 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. 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.
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. Fox senior vice president of production Chris Meledandri was transferred into the unit as executive vice president in March 1994 after having being hired the previous year. The week of May 6, 1994, Fox Family announced the hiring of Don Bluth and Gary Goldman for a new $100 million animation studio which began construction that year in Phoenix, Arizona. In three years, the animation studio would produce and release its first film, Anastasia. In September 1994, Matoian was promoted by Rupert Murdoch to head up the Fox network. Meledandri was selected to head up the unit in 1994.
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. R.L. Stine agreed with Fox Family Films in January 1998 for a film adaptation of the Goosebumps book franchise with Tim Burton producing.
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 and Goosebumps. Ever After (1998), a Cinderella adaptation, was the division's last live action film. 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. Chris Meledandri remained as the president of the division, which was known by 1999 as 20th Century Fox Animation. 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.
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.
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.
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. Morrision was making deal with outside producers like she approved a Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox stop-motion adaptation.
In September 2017, Locksmith Animation formed a multi-year production deal with 20th Century Fox, who will distribute Locksmith's films, with Locksmith aiming to release a film every 12–18 months. The deal 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.
On October 30, 2017, Morrison was named president of a newly created 20th Century Fox division, Fox Family, which as a mandate similar to this company when it was called Fox Family Films. 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.
On October 18, 2018, it was announced that 20th Century 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.
On March 21, 2019, Disney announced that the 20th Century Fox Animation label (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. Miloro step down as co-president in late July 2019. 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. With the Disney take over, the Locksmith deal left 20th Century Fox for Warner Bros. in October 2019 except for the first and only film under the deal, Ron's Gone Wrong.
On January 28, 2020, Disney dropped the "Fox" name from the two main film studio units acquired from 21st Century Fox, while there were no mention of changes to other lesser feature film units.
On February 9, 2021, Disney announced that it was shutting down Blue Sky Studios in April 2021, the main unit of 20th Century Animation.
Main article: Fox Animation Studios
From 1994–2000, 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 their releases of 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, but their next feature, Titan A.E., was a large financial loss, losing $100 million for 20th Century Fox in 2000. The lack of box office success, coupled with the rise of computer animation, led Fox to shut down the Fox Animation Studios.
Main article: Blue Sky Studios
From 1997–2021, Fox has owned Blue Sky Studios, a computer animation company known for the Ice Age franchise. Fox has had much more success with this studio, and the box office receipts of their films are competitive with those of Pixar and DreamWorks Animation. On March 21, 2019, Blue Sky Studios was integrated as a separate unit within Walt Disney Studios, but they will still report to Fox Animation presidents Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird. In February 2021, Disney announced that Blue Sky would shut down in April 2021. They have released thirteen feature films, numerous short films and television specials. Major feature films include:
|#||Title||Release date||Distributor||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||$90 million||$484 million||72%||63|
|7||Ice Age: Continental Drift||July 13, 2012||$95 million||$877 million||38%||49|
|8||Epic||May 24, 2013||$93 million||$268 million||64%||52|
|9||Rio 2||April 11, 2014||$103 million||$500 million||46%||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||17%||34|
|12||Ferdinand||December 15, 2017||$111 million||$296 million||72%||58|
|13||Spies in Disguise||December 25, 2019||$100 million||$171 million||76%||51|
|Title||Release date||Co-production with||Distributor||Budget||Gross||Rotten Tomatoes||Metacritic|
|The Simpsons Movie||July 27, 2007||Gracie Films
Rough Draft Feature Animation
|20th Century Fox||$75 million||$527.1 million||88%||80|
|Fantastic Mr. Fox||November 13, 2009||American Empirical Pictures
|$40 million||$46.5 million||92%||83|
|The Book of Life||October 17, 2014||Reel FX||$50 million||$99.8 million||82%||67|
|Ron's Gone Wrong||October 22, 2021||Locksmith Animation||20th Century Studios||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|Bob's Burgers: The Movie||TBA||Bento Box Entertainment||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA|
While Meledandri might have been a late convert to the genre, his big break came in 1994, when he was tapped to head Fox’s family division,...
While there, he became founding president of 20th Century Fox Animation,...
...,says Chris Meledandri, president of 20th Century Fox Animation.
Production begins with Fox Animation Studios in Phoenix.
Fox Animation (including Blue Sky Studios) will continue to be led by Co-Presidents Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird.