Titan A.E.
Two figures running, one firing a laser gun. They are silouhetted by a large explosion.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Screenplay by
Story byHans Bauer
Randall McCormick
Produced by
Edited byBob Bender
Paul Martin Smith
Fiona Trayler
Music byGraeme Revell
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 16, 2000 (2000-06-16)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$75–90 million[2][3]
Box office$36.8 million[2]

Titan A.E. is a 2000 American animated science fiction action-adventure film directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, and starring Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, John Leguizamo, Nathan Lane, Janeane Garofalo and Drew Barrymore. Its title refers to the spacecraft central to the plot with A.E. meaning "After Earth". The animation of the film combines traditional hand-drawn created animation with the extensive use of computer-generated imagery.

The film tells the story of a young man who, after a hostile alien species destroys Earth, receives a mission to save humanity and protect the giant ship that can create a new planet. Along the way, he joins up with a ship's crew and their captain, who help him find the ship before the aliens can destroy it.

The third and final project produced by Fox Animation Studios, the film was theatrically released on June 16, 2000, by 20th Century Fox in the United States. The film received mixed reviews from critics with praise for its visuals, cast and animation, but criticism for its characters and story. It was unsuccessful at the box office.[2][4][5]


In 3028, a groundbreaking scientific project known as "The Titan Project" incurs the wrath of the Drej, a hostile race of aliens made of pure energy, who fear that it will allow humans to challenge them. Determined to wipe out humanity, the Drej initiate a massive attack on Earth, forcing the human race to evacuate the planet. During the evacuation, Professor Sam Tucker—head researcher on the Titan Project—leaves his young son Cale in the care of his alien friend Tek and flees Earth in the spaceship Titan. Before he leaves, he gives Cale a gold ring, promising him that there will be hope for humanity as long as he wears it. The Drej destroy Earth, and the surviving humans flee into space.

Fifteen years later, the remnants of humanity live on as refugees but face extinction without a home planet of their own. A jaded and cynical Cale works in the salvage yard of space station Tau 14. Ex-military officer Joseph Korso, a former friend and confidant of Cale's father, tracks Cale down and reveals that the location of the Titan is encoded in his ring, for which a holographic map appears in the palm of his hand. Korso invites Cale to join the crew of his spaceship Valkyrie as they seek the Titan. Accepting Korso's offer, Cale and Korso escape Tau 14 with the Drej in pursuit. On the Valkyrie, Cale befriends pilot Akima Kunimoto and three alien crew members: first mate Preed, weapons officer Stith, and scientist Gune.

Cale's map leads the crew of the Valkyrie to the planet Sesharrim, where an alien race called the Gaoul help them interpret the map, revealing that the Titan is hidden in the Andali Nebula. Drej fighters then attack the planet and abduct Cale and Akima in order to copy the map. Akima is rescued by the crew after being jettisoned by the Drej Queen, while Cale escapes the Drej mothership in a stolen fighter and makes his way back to the Valkyrie. The map changes to reveal the Titan is hidden in the Ice Rings of Tigrin, a labyrinth of star shaped ice.

While resupplying at human space station New Bangkok, Cale and Akima discover that Korso and Preed have made a deal to sell the Titan's location to the Drej. Cale and Akima manage to escape the Valkyrie and are left stranded on New Bangkok when Korso leaves for the Titan. Determined to beat Korso to the Titan, they fix up a dilapidated spaceship with help from the station's inhabitants.

Cale and Akima navigate the ice rings of Tigrin in a race against the Valkyrie and dock with the Titan. They discover DNA of various animals onboard and a pre-recorded message left by Cale's deceased father, explaining that the ship was designed to create planets. However, during the escape from Earth, the ship's power cells were drained and lack the energy necessary to create a planet. The Valkyrie arrives and Preed sets off a bomb in an attempt to kill Stith and Gune. Finding Cale and Akima, Preed reveals that he has betrayed Korso and made his own deal with the Drej. A fight ensues and Korso kills Preed by snapping his neck. Cale and Korso fight, resulting in Korso falling over the railing.

The Drej begin their attack on the Titan. Cale realizes that he may be able to recharge the Titan by using the Drej, as they are made of pure energy, but a circuit breaker stalls before he can complete the process. As Cale attempts to repair it, Akima, Stith and Gune fight off the Drej. Korso, who survived his fall, has a change of heart and sacrifices his life to repair the circuit breaker. Cale triggers the Titan's systems, which absorb the Drej, their Queen and their mothership, killing them. The Titan creates a new world using the elements surrounding it.

Cale and Akima embrace in the rain on the newly created planet, and as Stith and Gune bid their farewell from the Valkyrie, ships filled with human colonists arrive to start a new life.




Titan A.E. was originally intended to be a live-action film tentatively titled Planet Ice, with Art Vitello hired to direct.[6][7] By November 1997, the project had been revamped into an animated feature, with Matt Damon joining the voice cast along with Bill Pullman, Drew Barrymore, Nathan Lane, Jim Breuer, Janeane Garofalo and Lena Olin. In an interview with Variety, Chris Meledandri, then-president of Fox Family Films, stated: "The imagery would be too costly to realize in live action. It will distinguish this film, which has a cast not only of humans but also aliens. And the group of actors we've put together is about the finest assembled for an animated film."[8]

By September 1997, Ben Edlund had written the first screenplay draft.[9] John August came aboard the project in February 1998, and was hired to polish the dialogue but remained on the project for further rewrites.[10] The film's visual effects were handled by the Blue Sky/VIFX visual effects studio, and millions had been spent on previsualization tests of the space environments and spacecraft.[7] In February 1998, Vitello departed the project.[6] During the summer of 1998, Bill Mechanic, then-chairman of 20th Century Fox, handed the script to Fox Animation Studios creative heads Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, who had finished directing Bartok the Magnificent (1999).[11] Mechanic had no in-development projects for Fox Animation Studios to work on and was faced with the choice of potentially laying off the animation staff unless they took another project. Despite their inexperience with the science fiction genre, Bluth and Goldman took the script regardless.[12] Bluth explained, "When we came to Fox, one of the things that we all talked about was that we shouldn't try to be a 'Disney wanna-be'. We wanted to make a picture that's edgier, still reaches the family and goes a little further and even brings in the teenagers."[13] Joss Whedon, who had signed a multi-picture film and television deal with 20th Century Fox, was hired to finalize the script.[10][14]

As directors, Bluth and Goldman were given a production budget of $55 million and 19 months to finish the film.[6] Before their involvement, $30 million had been spent on pre-production.[15] Unlike Bluth and Goldman's previous films, the animation in Titan A.E. is predominantly computer-generated while the main characters and several backgrounds were traditionally animated. Many of the scenes were enacted by the animation staff using handbuilt props before being captured by a computer. Many scenes and backgrounds were painted by concept artist Paul Cheng, who had previously worked on Anastasia (1997) and its direct-to-video spin-off Bartok the Magnificent (1999).[16] Much like Anastasia, the storytelling and tone in Titan A.E. is much darker and edgier than Bluth and Goldman's previous films with the film being regularly compared to Japanese anime. Although Bluth and Goldman denied any influence by anime, they have acknowledged the comparison.[11]

During production, Fox Animation Studios suffered a number of cutbacks which ultimately led to its closure in 2000. Over 300 animation staff were laid off from the studio in 1999 and as a result, much of the film's animation was outsourced to several independent studios.[17] Several scenes were contracted to David Paul Dozoretz's POVDE group; the "Wake Angels" scene was animated by Reality Check Studios (their first feature film work)[18] while the film's "Genesis" scene was animated by Blue Sky Studios, who would later go on to produce 20th Century Fox's Ice Age and Rio film franchises as well as Horton Hears a Who! (2008) and The Peanuts Movie (2015). Under pressure from executives, Bill Mechanic was dismissed from 20th Century Fox prior to Titan A.E.'s release eventuating in the closure of Fox Animation Studios on June 26, 2000, ten days after the film's release. All these events stunted the film's promotion and distribution.[12]



Titan A.E.: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
various artists
ReleasedJune 6, 2000[19]
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic [1]

The soundtrack to Titan A.E. was released on audio cassette and CD by Capitol/EMI Records on June 6, 2000 and featured 11 tracks by various contemporary rock bands, including Lit, Powerman 5000, Electrasy, Fun Lovin' Criminals, The Urge, Texas, Bliss 66, Jamiroquai, Splashdown, The Wailing Souls and Luscious Jackson.[19]

1."Over My Head"Lit3:39
2."The End Is Over"Powerman 50003:10
3."Cosmic Castaway"Electrasy3:30
4."Everything Under the Stars"Fun Lovin' Criminals4:04
5."It's My Turn to Fly"The Urge3:44
6."Like Lovers (Holding On)"Texas4:36
7."Not Quite Paradise"Bliss 663:59
8."Everybody's Going to the Moon"Jamiroquai5:24
9."Karma Slave"Splashdown3:26
10."Renegade Survivor"The Wailing Souls4:07
11."Down to Earth"Luscious Jackson4:51

Creed's song "Higher" was played in many of the theatrical trailers for Titan A.E., but the song did not appear either on the soundtrack or in the film itself.[20]


Titan A.E.: Limited Edition
Film score by
ReleasedOctober 23, 2014[21]
LabelLa-La Land Records
ProducerGraeme Revell
Don Bluth Music of Films chronology
Titan A.E.

Titan A.E.'s score was composed and conducted by Graeme Revell. Although an official album containing the movie's underscore was not originally released alongside the film, it was eventually made available for the first time on October 23, 2014 by La-La Land Records as a limited edition CD of 1,500 copies. The soundtrack contains 32 tracks and music cues, most of what Revell composed for the film, and includes two bonus tracks: an orchestra-only version of "Creation" and an alternative version of "Prologue" with a different opening.[21]


Digital screening

Titan A.E. became the first major motion picture to be screened in end-to-end digital cinema. On June 6, 2000, ten days before the film was released, at the SuperComm 2000 trade show, the film was projected simultaneously at the trade show in Atlanta, Georgia as well as a screen in Los Angeles, California. It was sent to both screens from the 20th Century Fox production facilities in Los Angeles via a VPN.[22]

Home media

Titan A.E. was released on VHS[23] and a THX certified "Special Edition" DVD on November 7, 2000[24] by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, which contains extras such as a commentary track by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, a "Quest for Titan" featurette, deleted scenes, web links, and a music video for Lit's "Over My Head".[25][26] The region 1 North American version also comes with an exclusive DTS English audio track in addition to Dolby Digital 5.1 featured in most international releases.[26] Chris Carle of IGN rated the DVD an 8 out of 10, calling the film "thrilling... with some obvious plot and character flaws" but called the video itself "a fully-packed disc which looks and sounds great" and "for animation and sci-fi fans, it's a must-have".[27]


Box office

Titan A.E. earned nearly $9.4 million during its opening weekend, ranking in fifth place behind Shaft, Gone in 60 Seconds, 20th Century Fox's own Big Momma's House and Mission: Impossible 2.[2][28] The film then lost 60 percent of its audience during its second weekend, dropping to eighth place, with a gross of $3.7 million.[29] The film grossed nearly $22.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $14 million in international markets, totaling $36.8 million worldwide.[2]

The film's budget is estimated between $75 and $90 million.[2][3] According to Chris Meledandri, a former Fox executive and future Illumination founder, who had supervised production of the film, Titan A.E. lost $100 million for the studio.[4]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 50% based on 103 reviews with an average rating of 5.70/10. The site's consensus reads: "Great visuals, but the story feels like a cut-and-paste job of other sci-fi movies".[30] On Metacritic the film has a score of 48 out of 100 based on 30 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[31] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[32]

Roger Ebert gave the film 3+12 stars out of 4, praising it for its "rousing story", "largeness of spirit" and "lush galactic visuals [which] are beautiful in the same way photos by the Hubble Space Telescope are beautiful". He cited the Ice Rings sequence as "a perfect examine (sic) of what animation can do and live-action cannot".[33] Bob Graham of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "Titan A.E. comes through where it counts, in the big picture. It will fascinate anyone old enough to read comic books, and, with its dark undercurrents, sudden reversals and confrontation of an uncertain future, teens probably can identify with it."[34] Robert Koehler of Variety praised the animation and felt the film was an improvement over Bluth and Goldman's previous film Anastasia, resulting in a "canny attraction for genre purists, hard-core ani-heads and the mass aud for galactic adventure."[35]

Reviewing for the Chicago Tribune, Michael Wilmington stated "Despite its highly derivative story, this animated saga from the Don Bluth-Gary Goldman team is done with such visual razzle-dazzle, there's no denying it's some kind of a technological marvel: a modern lollapalooza concocted out of old-fashioned space opera elements."[36] Richard Corliss, in his Time magazine review, felt the film has "the retro-pioneering spirit of recent [science fiction] movies" and praised the animation visuals.[37] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote the film's "rudimentary narration does work up a certain amount of propulsion. But it's not the story that's the story here, it's the film's bravura visual look. Under the joint direction of animation veterans Don Bluth and Gary Goldman and influenced, connoisseurs say, by the style of Japanese anime, Titan A.E. does an excellent job of using computer-generated effects to create a vast and wondrous outer-space world."[38]

Stephen Holden of The New York Times gave the film a mixed review, stating: "Despite some gorgeous sequences, including one set in a lake of glowing hydrogen "trees," Titan A.E. is bland. Although crammed with action, little of it produces roller-coaster thrills of adventure and self-discovery."[39] Similarly, Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly graded the film a C, writing the story and visuals were "unutterably bland ... Bluth had the right idea with those epic ice crystals, but it takes more than one F/X flash to create a universe. Titan A.E. is Star Wars pulped and mashed into flavorless kiddie corn."[40] Dennis Lim, in his review for The Village Voice, dismissed the film, writing it is "suggestive of nothing so much as Saturday-morning TV: 2-D characters frolic in 3-D CGI spacescapes, but the handiwork is uninspired, the digi-chicanery obviously expensive but bland, the New Age odor off-putting, and the reliance on inspirational Glen Ballard power ballads fatal."[41]


Titan A.E. won a Golden Reel Award for "Best Sound Editing for an Animated Feature",[42] and was nominated by the same organization for "Best Sound Editing for Music in Animation", and a Satellite Award for "Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media", losing both to Chicken Run.[43][44] The film was also nominated for three Annie Awards, including "Outstanding Achievement in An Animated Theatrical Feature", "Effects Animation", and "Production Design" which it lost to Toy Story 2 and Fantasia 2000, respectively,[45] and was nominated for Best Science Fiction Film at 27th Saturn Awards, but lost to X-Men, another film from 20th Century Fox.[46] Drew Barrymore was nominated for "Best Voice-Over Performance" by the Online Film & Television Association for her role as Akima, but was beaten by Eartha Kitt from The Emperor's New Groove.[47]

Award Nomination Nominee Result
Annie Award Outstanding Individual Achievement for Effects Animation Julian Hynes (visual effects) Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Philip A. Cruden (production design)
Outstanding Achievement in An Animated Theatrical Feature Titan A.E.
Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing - Animated Feature Christopher Boyes, et al. (editors) Won
Best Sound Editing - Music - Animation Joshua Winget (scoring/music editor) Nominated
OFTA Film Award Best Voice-Over Performance Drew Barrymore (Akima) Nominated
Satellite Award Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Titan A.E. Nominated
Saturn Award Best Science Fiction Film Titan A.E. Nominated

Cancelled video game

A video game adaptation by Blitz Games was planned to be released for the PlayStation and PC in Fall 2000 in North America, following the film's summer release (even receiving a mention at the end of the credits).[48] Development on both platforms had begun in March 1999 under the film's original title Planet Ice,[49] and an early playable version was showcased at the 2000 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.[48] In July 2000, a spokesman from the game's publisher Fox Interactive announced that development on the title had been halted largely due to the film's poor box office performance which was "only one of many different factors" that led to its cancellation.[50]


To tie-in with the film, two prequel novels written by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta were released on February 10, 2000 by Ace Books, the same day the official novelization of the film written by Steve and Dal Perry was released.[51] A Dark Horse Comics comic series focusing on the character Sam was also released in May 2000.[52]

See also


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