|Industry||2D hand-drawn/CGI animation|
|Predecessor||Sullivan Bluth Studios|
|Founded||August 9, 1994|
|Defunct||June 26, 2000|
|Successors||Blue Sky Studios|
|Headquarters||2747 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
Number of employees
|Parent||20th Century Animation|
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) on March 20, 2019.
After the financially unsuccessful release of the Don Bluth Entertainment-produced film Thumbelina on March 30, 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. 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 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.
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.
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. Nearly a year before its closure, 20th Century Fox laid off 300 of the nearly 380 people who worked at the Phoenix studio in order to "make films more efficiently".
On June 26, 2000, the studio was shut down after six years of operation, resulting from poor financial returns. 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. 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).
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). Out of all the television shows, 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. An apartment complex was later built on the site.
|Title||Release date||Budget||Gross||Rotten Tomatoes||Metacritic||Notes|
|Anastasia||November 21, 1997||$53 million||$140 million||86% (56 reviews)||61||co-production with Fox Family Films|
|Bartok the Magnificent||November 16, 1999||$24.8 million ||—||— (3 reviews)||—||Direct-to-video release|
|Titan A.E.||June 16, 2000||$75–85 million||$36.8 million||50% (103 reviews)||48||co-production with 20th Century Fox Animation and David Kirschner Productions|
|Adventures from the Book of Virtues||1996–2000||KCET Los Angeles
|TV series; aired on PBS|
|The Prince of Egypt||1998||DreamWorks Pictures
|additional final line animation|
|Betty of the Jungle||In 1995, animator Bill Kopp (creator of Fox Kids' Eek! the Cat) pitched an idea for an original adult animated film called Betty of the Jungle, in which he describes it as a sexy George of the Jungle about jungle warrior woman Betty (set to be voiced by Loni Anderson) and her gun-caring poodle (set to be voiced by Bruce Willis) who battle evil to protect their jungle village. However, after an animation test and conceptual artwork, Fox Animation declined to approve the project.|
|Dracula||At one time, Fox Animation had planned to produce an adult animated musical adaptation of Dracula, Described as a Disney style Rocky Horror Picture Show.|
|Barlowe's Inferno||A computer-animated film based on Wayne Barlowe's novel of the same name. Was to be Fox Animation Studios' next film after Titan A.E.|
|Rhapsody||Fox Animation had intended to produce an animated film based on the first installment of the Rhapsody trilogy by Elizabeth Haydon. The story was to tell of a human girl named Rhapsody going on an epic quest with the warrior Achmed and a Firbolg named Grunthor.|
|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.|
|Over the Hedge||Based on the comic of the same name by Michael Fry and T. Lewis. Later picked up by DreamWorks Animation.|
|Africa||An adult animated epic film set in Africa. Animator Will Makra posted concept art of the film later on.|
|Fathom||In June 2000, it was reported that Fox was adapting the comic book series Fathom.|
|Ice Age||Fox Animation Studios was originally working on a traditionally animated action-oriented comedy-drama movie set in the Ice age, Around the same time, Blue Sky Studios, a small visual effects studio in White Plains, New York, was bought out by Fox and reshaped into a full-fledged CG animation film studio. In light of this, Fox Animation head Chris Meledandri and executive producer Steve Bannerman approached Forte with the proposition of developing the film as a computer-animated movie, which Forte realized was "basically a no-brainer," according to her.|
Bartok $24.8 million
Production begins with Fox Animation Studios in Phoenix.