|Industry||2D hand-drawn/CGI animation|
|Predecessor||Sullivan Bluth Studios|
|Successor||Blue Sky Studios|
|Founded||August 9, 1994|
|Defunct||June 26, 2000|
|Headquarters||2747 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
Number of employees
|Parent||20th Century Fox Animation|
(20th Century Fox)
Fox Animation Studios was an American traditional 2D hand-drawn cel-animated/CGI production company located in Phoenix, Arizona, and was the former in-house feature animation subsidiary of 20th Century Fox Animation, a division of 20th Century Fox (which is now part of The Walt Disney Company). 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., and was replaced by Fox's Blue Sky Studios division.
After the financially unsuccessful release of Don Bluth Entertainment-produced film Thumbelina in 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, 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 An American Tail, The Land Before Time and both All Dogs Go To Heaven and Rock-a-Doodle, 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, Once Upon a Forest and The Pagemaster, the last two of which were both commercial and critical failures. Even before, Fox distributed Hugo the Hippo by William Feigenbaum and József Gémes, two Ralph Bakshi features, Wizards and Fire and Ice, as well as Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure by Richard Williams. Also, Fox distributed Asterix Conquers America in France and 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. Its first theatrical release, Anastasia (1997), found critical and box-office success. Its other 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 financial failure and poor problems. Their last film set to be made would have been an adaptation of Wayne Barlowe's illustrated novel Barlowe's Inferno, and it was set to be done with near complete CGI.
Fox Animation Studios' only other productions were the PBS television series Adventures from the Book of Virtues and the direct-to-video spinoff to Anastasia, Bartok the Magnificent, along with sub-contract work for DreamWorks Animation's The Prince of Egypt. Out of all the sequels and spinoffs 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.
Production begins with Fox Animation Studios in Phoenix.