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20th Century Animation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

20th Century Animation, Inc.[1]
FoundedFebruary 1994 (1994-02)
Key people
  • Robert Baird (Co-President)
ProductsCGI animated films
ParentWalt Disney Studios
Footnotes / references

20th Century Animation, Inc.[1] (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.[4] Blue Sky Studios, the primary unit of 20th Century Animation, was shut down on April 7, 2021.[5]


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,[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]


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]

20th Century Fox Animation

Logo used as 20th Century Fox Animation.
Logo used as 20th Century Fox Animation.

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] Ever After (1998), 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.[15] Chris Meledandri remained as the president of the division,[4][16] which was known by 1999 as 20th Century Fox Animation.[17] 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.[18][19]

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.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22] Morrision was making deal with outside producers like she approved a Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox stop-motion adaptation.[23]

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.[24]

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.[25] 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.[26]

Disney era

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.[27]

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.[28] Miloro step down as co-president in late July 2019.[29] 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.[3] 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.[30]

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.[31]

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][32]


Fox Family Films

Fox Animation Studios

From 1994–2000,[33][34] 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,[35] but their next feature, Titan A.E., was a large financial loss, losing $100 million for 20th Century Fox in 2000.[36] The lack of box office success, coupled with the rise of computer animation, led Fox to shut down the studios.[34]

Blue Sky Studios

Premiere of Blue Sky Studio's Rio at the Connecticut Science Center: Vanessa Morrison, 20th Century Fox Animation president;[37] Jim Gianopulos, Fox Entertainment Group chairman and CEO; Dannel Malloy, governor of Connecticut; Brian Keane, Blue Sky Studios COO;[37] and Chris Dodd, MPAA chairman.
Premiere of Blue Sky Studio's Rio at the Connecticut Science Center: Vanessa Morrison, 20th Century Fox Animation president;[37] Jim Gianopulos, Fox Entertainment Group chairman and CEO; Dannel Malloy, governor of Connecticut; Brian Keane, Blue Sky Studios COO;[37] and Chris Dodd, MPAA chairman.

From 1997 until 2021, Fox has owned Blue Sky Studios, a computer animation company known for the Ice Age franchise.[38] 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.[39][40] In February 2021, Disney announced that Blue Sky would shut down in April 2021.[5][32] 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
Film Roman
Rough Draft Feature Animation
20th Century Fox $75 million $527.1 million 88% 80
Fantastic Mr. Fox November 13, 2009 American Empirical Pictures
Indian Paintbrush
Regency Enterprises
$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[41][42] October 22, 2021 Locksmith Animation 20th Century Studios TBA TBA TBA TBA
Bob's Burgers: The Movie[43][42] TBA Bento Box Entertainment TBA TBA TBA TBA


S Combines live-action with animation.

See also


  1. ^ a b "C4551182 - 20th Century Animation, Inc". California Business Search. January 28, 2020. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  2. ^ Burton, Michelle (June 12, 2011). "Long Beach Animation Careers - A Profile of the Art Scene, Top Employers, & Animation Schools/Programs". Animation Career Review. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Lang, Brent (August 9, 2019). "Disney Taps Andrew Millstein, Clark Spencer for Top Animation Posts". Variety. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Petrikin, Chris (February 18, 1998). "Fox renamed that toon". Variety. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c D'Alessandro, Anthony (2021-02-09). "Disney Closing Blue Sky Studios, Fox's Once-Dominant Animation House Behind 'Ice Age' Franchise". Deadline. Archived from the original on February 9, 2021. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  6. ^ a b Marshall, Dave; Robinson, Phil (March 1998). "FernGully 2: The Magical Rescue -Getting the Money on the Screen". Animation World Magazine (2.12). Archived from the original on February 26, 2002. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  7. ^ a b O'Steen, Kathleen (March 1, 1994). "Matoian firmed at Fox family unit". Variety. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  8. ^ "Toledo Blade – Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  9. ^ "Viacom captures Paramount". The Baltimore Sun. February 16, 1994. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  10. ^ O'Steen, Kathleen (March 28, 1994). "Meledandri joins Fox family film wing". Variety. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  11. ^ 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 March 14, 2019.
  12. ^ Cerone, Daniel Howard (July 4, 1995). "A More Grown-Up Look for Fox :  Television: With new entertainment president John Matoian and a powerful distribution system, the fourth network plans to expand its audience". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  13. ^ Lang, Brent (November 1, 2018). "How Chris Meledandri Became the Most Powerful Man in Animation". Variety. Retrieved March 21, 2019. 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,...
  14. ^ a b Flamm, Matthew (January 9, 1998). "Between The Lines". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  15. ^ "Business - Fox Films To Focus On Animated Fare". Animation World Magazine. April 1998. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  16. ^ "Chris Meledandri To Receive PGA's 2014 Visionary Award". Deadline. October 28, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2018. While there, he became founding president of 20th Century Fox Animation,...
  17. ^ King, Susan (November 18, 1999). "Sidekick Bat Spreads His Wings in 'Bartok'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 31, 2018. ...,says Chris Meledandri, president of 20th Century Fox Animation.
  18. ^ A. Schechter, Pamela (1996). "TV's Fall Animation Lineup". Animation World Network. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Lyons, Charles (December 9, 1999). "Blue Sky for Richardson". Variety.
  21. ^ Eller, Claudia (June 29, 2000). "20th Century Fox Closes Its Phoenix Animation Studio". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  22. ^ LaPorte, Nicole (January 30, 2007). "Fox's big toon-up". Variety. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  23. ^ Debruge, Peter (July 30, 2008). "Vanessa Morrison". Variety. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  24. ^ Lang, Brent (September 20, 2017). "Fox, Locksmith Animation Ink Multi-Year Production, Development Deal". Variety Magazine. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  25. ^ Lang, Brent (October 30, 2017). "Vanessa Morrison Named Head of Fox Family in Animation Division Overhaul". Variety. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  26. ^ Kilday, Gregg (October 30, 2017). "Fox Animation Names Andrea Miloro, Robert Baird Co-Presidents". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  27. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 18, 2018). "Disney Finalizes Film Studio Brass Under Alan Horn: Emma Watts Confirmed To Run Fox". Deadline. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  28. ^ Hipes, Patrick (March 21, 2019). "After Trying Day, Disney Sets Film Leadership Lineup". Retrieved March 21, 2019. Fox Animation (including Blue Sky Studios) will continue to be led by Co-Presidents Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird.
  29. ^ Lang, Brent (July 25, 2019). "Andrea Miloro Out as Fox Animation Co-President". Variety. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  30. ^ Clarke, Stewart (October 31, 2019). "Warner Signs Multi-Picture Deal With Elisabeth Murdoch's Locksmith Animation". Variety. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  31. ^ Vary, Adam B. (January 17, 2020). "Disney Drops Fox Name, Will Rebrand as 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures". Variety. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  32. ^ a b Giardina, Carolyn (February 9, 2021). "Disney Shutting Blue Sky Animation Studio". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  33. ^ 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 December 24, 2013.
  34. ^ a b c Eller, Claudia (June 29, 2000). "20th Century Fox Closes Its Phoenix Animation Studio". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  35. ^ Anastasia at Box Office Mojo
  36. ^ Palmeri, Christopher (September 19, 2013). "Despicable Me 2 Producer Knows How to Win the Box Office". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  37. ^ a b "Vanessa Morrison Re-Ups With Fox, Brian Keane With Blue Sky After 'Ice Age 4′". Deadline. July 18, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  38. ^ "Imaginative Pix takes interest in Blue Sky". Variety. August 28, 1997. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  39. ^ Hipes, Patrick (March 21, 2019). "After Trying Day, Disney Sets Film Leadership Lineup". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  40. ^ Williams, Trey (March 21, 2019). "Disney Keeps Key Leaders in Place After Day of Layoffs at Fox". Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  41. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (2017-10-12). "'Gambit' Starring Channing Tatum Will Open Valentine's Day 2019". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  42. ^ a b "Bob's Burgers Movie, The King's Man Get Disney Film Delays". IGN. January 22, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  43. ^ Whitten, Sarah (2020-04-03). "Disney sets new dates for 'Mulan,' 'Black Widow,' 'Jungle Cruise' and more". CNBC. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  44. ^ "A feast of holiday specials". Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  45. ^ Eller, Claudia (2000-06-29). "20th Century Fox Closes Its Phoenix Animation Studio". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2019-05-25.
  46. ^ Osborn, Alex (October 12, 2015). "Wes Anderson to Direct Stop-Motion Animated Film About Dogs". IGN UK. Ziff Davis. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  47. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 12, 2017). "'Gambit' Starring Channing Tatum Will Open Valentine's Day 2019". Deadline. Retrieved July 17, 2018.

External links

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