Under a mandate to boost Twentieth Century Fox’s output of animated feature films, Fox Family Films has been renamed Fox Animation Studios. The name change reflects a move by Twentieth Century Fox to become a major player in animated feature films in the wake of Anastasia’s success. ‘Anastasia really created an increased appetite for feature animation at the studio,’ says Chris Meledandri, former president of Fox Family Films, who will head the new entity.
‘We’re by no means forgetting about our live-action projects, but we’re carefully placing them at one of the other divisions,’ adds Meledandri. One such live-action project is Cinderella starring Drew Barrymore and Angelica Huston, which is currently in post-production.
The studio plans to expand into a variety of animated media, including stop-motion animation, mixed media and digital works. Currently in production is the animated feature Planet Ice, by Anastasia creators Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. ‘It’s a science-fiction, action-adventure [movie] — clearly a step into a realm of science fiction that hadn’t previously been explored,’ says Meledandri.
Another project on deck at the studio is a Chris Columbus-produced property titled Dark Town, which will be a mixture of live action, CGI and stop-motion animation.