Why Does It Take Ten Years!?!
Spring 1997: Fox's second animated film originally titled, Planet Ice is greenlit. Art Vitello is brought on to direct the film. All reports are that the film will contain cutting edge CGI imagery.
February 1998: Art Vitello leaves the project.
May 1998: Ten development personnel and artists involved in pre-production are given lay-off notices. Division president Chris Meledandri explains, "The film was never in production. It is still in pre-production." He adds that the studio "currently has a very small crew on the film," which is in the process of "finding out exactly how they are going to make it." Later in the month, the film, the majority of which is still being done in computer animation, is now being directed by Blue Sky|VIFX staffers Henry Anderson and Chris Wedge.
Fall 1998: Veterans Don Bluth and Gary Goldman (An American Tail and Anastasia) take over the production. The film takes a new aesthetic direction and is now being made digitally with a mix of traditional animation as opposed to CGI animation. Transferring the production from Blue Sky|VIFX to Fox's state-of-the-art Phoenix studio, most of Blue Sky's work is cut. Artists are imported to Phoenix from as far away as Ireland and the Philippines. Bluth and Goldman are given a ridiculously short nineteen-month deadline and a budget of $55 million.
Spring 1999: Title is changed from Planet Ice to Titan A.E.
February 2000: After a little more than a year's work on the film, more than 300 of the animators who were relocated to the Arizona studios are laid off. The remaining 66 workers are later terminated when production ceases on the film. Shortly after the Arizona studio is shut down.
June 16, 2000: After meeting the grueling schedule, Titan A.E. is released to theatres to come in fifth place at the box office during its first weekend. Fox executives shrugged their shoulders when it came time to marketing the film. The film barely made over $20 million in the United States.
Late 1996: Shrek is greenlit and is sent into pre-production. Kelly Ashbury and Andrew Adamson are slated to direct.
Spring 1997: A 30-second demo reel is produced by an unknown motion-capture production house and is shown to Jeffrey Katzenberg. "Disappointing" was the word he used. A skeleton crew is left to produce another demo reel and dozens of animation houses are scouted for the next six months.
Fall 1997: Katzenberg ultimately decides to switch production over to Pacific Data Images, which is in the midst of working on Antz.