Fox Animation Studios

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 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.

Fox Animation Studios
Industry2D hand-drawn/CGI animation
PredecessorSullivan Bluth Studios
SuccessorBlue Sky Studios
FoundedAugust 9, 1994[1]
FoundersDon Bluth
Gary Goldman
Bill Mechanic
DefunctJune 26, 2000
Headquarters2747 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Key people
ProductsAnimated features
Number of employees
80 (2000)
Parent20th Century Fox Animation
(20th Century Fox)



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.[2] 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.

About the studioEdit

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 All Dogs Go To Heaven, among other films.[2]

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 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. First theatrical release Anastasia (1997) found critical and box-office success, but second theatrical release Titan A.E. (2000) got mixed reviews and was a costly flop, losing $100 million for 20th Century Fox.[3] Nearly a year before its closure, 20th Century Fox laid off 300 of the nearly 380 people who worked at the Phoenix studio[4] 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.[5][6][7] 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 entirely with computer animation.[8]

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.[9] 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. The site is now home to an apartment complex.



  1. ^ Bates, James (August 2, 1994). "Fox Animation Studio Will Be Built in Phoenix : Hollywood: Arizona entices the company with $1 million in job training funds and low-interest loans". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  2. ^ a b 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 January 8, 2011.
  3. ^ Palmeri, Christopher (September 19, 2013). "Despicable Me 2 Producer Knows How to Win the Box Office". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  4. ^ Lauria, Larry. "A Conversation With The New Don Bluth". Animation World Network. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  5. ^ Eller, Claudia (June 29, 2000). "20th Century Fox Closes Its Phoenix Animation Studio". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  6. ^ F. Duke, Paul (June 27, 2000). "Fox tooning out, closing Phoenix arm". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  7. ^ Linder, Brian (June 27, 2000). "Fox Animation Studios Closes Its Doors". IGN. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  8. ^ Snider, Mike (February 9, 2010). "Concept artist Wayne Barlowe on 'Dante's Inferno', Hell and video games". USA Today. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Felperin, Leslie. "The Prince of Egypt (1998)". Sight & Sound (January 1999). British Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  10. ^ A. Schechter, Pamela (1996). "TV's Fall Animation Lineup". Animation World Network. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  11. ^ 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.

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