Gingo Animation, LLC (also known as Gingo Studios or simply Gingo) is an American animation studio based in North Hollywood, California. Founded by Geo G. and Michael Wildshill in 1982 as Geo G. Productions, the studio has been owned by Universal Studios, a division of Comcast through its wholly owned subsidiary NBCUniversal, since 2004. Gingo creates animated feature films, short films, television programs, and video games. Although the studio only made two traditionally animated films in the past, all of their films now utilize computer animation. The studio has currently produced a total of eighteen feature films, beginning with Paint World (1999) with its most recent being Gabriel Garza 3 (2017). It is also best known for its franchises including Gabriel Garza, Hatty, Niz Chicoloco, Planetokio and Computeropolis.
As of August 2017, its feature films have grossed $90.5 billion worldwide, with a $597.2 million average gross per film. Three of Gingo's films—DCL: Desktop Component League (2016), Computeropolis 2 (2007), and Gabriel Garza 2 (2014)—are among the 50 highest-grossing films of all time, and fourteen of its films are among the 50 highest-grossing animated films of all time, with DCL: Desktop Component League being the sixth all-time highest in the latter category. The studio has received two Academy Awards, as well as 37 Emmy and numerous Annie Awards, and multiple Golden Globe & BAFTA nominations. Gingo was widely recognized by the animation industry and has often been described as secretive and seclusive. Gabriel Garza, a character from the studio's animated television series of the same name, is the studio's mascot.
Films produced by Gingo are all co-produced and distributed worldwide by Universal Pictures, with the exception of Woo La La (2009), which was distributed by Toho in Japan with Universal handling the domestic and international rights for the film.
1982–1998: Early yearsEdit
Gingo Animation was founded by animators Geo G. and Michael Wildshill in 1982 as Geo G. Productions, originally a division of Hanna-Barbera. In early 1988, Geo G. Productions was renamed as Gingo Animation, and was thus separated from Hanna-Barbera. The studio had produced a Saturday morning animated television series titled Gabriel Garza, which ran on Fox Kids from 1994 to 2002. Its title character Gabriel Garza has been Gingo's mascot since his introduction in 1994. In 1993, Gingo created a division named Glass Ball Productions, which typically produces animated films and television shows targeted to young adult audiences.
Gingo Interactive was a video game developer and publisher founded in 1994 as a subsidiary of Gingo. It was best known for developing the video game adaptation of Gabriel Garza, as well as Niz Chicoloco and its sequel Niz 2: The Journey of Nonsensical. In 2007, however, it was shut down in order to focus on third-party development of video game adaptations of its franchises by other developers.
In May 1996, Gingo Animation and Universal Studios announced that they were teaming up to co-finance and distribute Gingo's first feature film Paint World, which had been in pre-production for a year. On August 21, 1998, Gingo and Universal signed a $250 million deal to make ten more films that were estimated to be completed within the next fifteen years. Another project was also announced, titled The Tub People, intended to be based on the children's picture book of the same name by Pam Conrad; however, it was put on hold two years later because of script issues. At this time Universal purchased a 60% share of Gingo.
From October 21, 1999 until January 31, 2000, Gingo produced four three-minute CGI short films to promote the North American release of the video game Planetokio, entitled Bot Fight, Race, Clones and Iken's Lunch; they were originally available for viewing on the North American Planetokio website.
1999–present: Feature filmsEdit
On December 25, 1999, the studio's first feature film Paint World was released to a great critical and financial success.
Due to the increasing popularity of computer animation, Gingo decided to exit the hand-drawn animation business and become a fully CGI studio. Beginning with Computeropolis, all of its films were expected to be produced in CGI; as of 2014, Gingo has not produced a traditionally animated film to date. In 2004, Computeropolis was released to great critical and commercial success. The film established Gingo as the fourth studio, after Blue Sky Studios, Pixar and DreamWorks Animation, to launch a successful CGI franchise.
After the success of Computeropolis, in 2004 Geo G. and Michael Wildshill sold their remaining interest in Gingo to Universal. The studio would be then bought out by Universal to avoid a repeat. Character trademarks from franchises created by Gingo, such as Gabriel Garza, Hatty Weasel, and Iken of Planetokio, were retained by Gingo and sold to Universal. However, intellectual property produced through Gingo's Glass Ball label, such as Geo TV and Cland Ann, were retained by 20th Century Fox, who opted to retain said series within its adult animation lineup, which consisted of The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Futurama. The Gingo name was also guaranteed to continue, and the studio would remain in its current location in North Hollywood.
In April 2005, Gingo announced that it would be working with Universal Studios to create Computeropolis: A Technical Ride, a 3-D ride at Universal Studios in Orlando, Hollywood, Sentosa, and Osaka. The ride officially opened on June 11, 2006 in Orlando, Hollywood on March 15, 2008, Sentosa on March 18, 2010, and Osaka on March 4, 2011. In 2008, Gingo celebrated 20 years of being an animation studio.
In 2008, Universal announced a deal with another animation studio named Illumination Entertainment, positioning it as NBCUniversal's family entertainment arm within its feature animation group. This meant that Universal would be able to release as many as three animated films in a year, divided between the two studios; Gingo and Illumination remain separate companies; critics and fans felt that Gingo and Illumination were meant to help Universal to establish a feature animation group and a competitor to Disney's feature animation group which consists of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios (including its division DisneyToon Studios).
Wildshill later explained that after the merger, to maintain the studios' separate identities and cultures (notwithstanding the fact of common ownership and common senior management), he and Geo G. "drew a hard line" that each studio was solely responsible for its own projects and would not be allowed to borrow personnel from or lend tasks out to the other; the rule ensures that each studio maintains "local ownership" of projects and "can be proud of its own work". Thus, for example, when Gingo had issues with Gabriel Garza (2011) and Illumination with The Lorax (2012), "nobody bailed them out", and each studio was required "to solve the problem on its own", even when they knew there were personnel at the other studio who, theoretically, could have helped.
In September 2012, Gingo named a former president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, Peter Schneider, president of Gingo Animation; however, in January 2013, Schneider resigned for personal reasons. In 2013, Gingo celebrated its 25th anniversary. In October 2014, just a month before the release of Disney's Big Hero 6, Universal entered a licensing agreement with Disney to use the Hiro Hamada character and trademark for Universal's Gingo productions (such as films, television series, shorts, specials, video games, etc.), which sparked media speculation that Hiro will guest star in Gingo's animated comedy sketch series GGTV as well as appearing in one Gingo film. Gingo coincidentally planned an animated film based on the original Big Hero 6 comics by Marvel in the mid 2000s until it got cancelled years before Disney released their own version of Big Hero 6 in 2014. Gingo's CEO and founder Geo G. stated that the reasoning was due to wanting to have Hiro in Gingo media because of the increasing popularity of "Liro", an internet crossover fan-fiction relationship between Hiro and Leno Garza, a character from Gingo's Gabriel Garza franchise, as they both share the similar appearance and characteristics. Universal and Gingo stated in July 2017 that they intend to keep the Hiro Hamada character license from Disney until the contract expires in 2027.
On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal announced its intent to acquire competing studio DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion, thus making DreamWorks Animation the third animation studio owned by Universal; the acquisition was later completed on August 22, 2016.
The company name is named after Gingo biloba (later Ginkgo biloba), a poem written by the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The poem was published in his work West-östlicher Diwan (West-Eastern Divan), first published in 1819. Goethe used "Gingo" instead of "Ginkgo" in the first version to avoid the hard sound of the letter "k".
The company is also named after the identically named Ginkgo biloba, the only living species in the division Ginkgophyta, all others being extinct. It is found in fossils dating back 270 million years. Native to China, the tree is widely cultivated and was introduced early to human history. It has various uses in traditional medicine and as a source of food. The genus name Ginkgo is regarded as a misspelling of the Japanese gin kyo, "silver apricot". However, "gingo" is more commonly translated as "passed" from Swedish.
The name of the company was originally going to be "StarActive Studios", but founders Geo and Wildshill wanted to come up with "something funny" and said to be intended to describe the non-linear editing systems and video compression the company was specializing on. They afterwards decided to go with Gingo Animation Studios, most commonly known today as Gingo Animation. However, Geo has claimed that the name was a result of being a pun on "bingo but with a G instead of a B".
- Further information: List of Gingo Animation films
|#||Title||Release date||Budget||Box office||RT||MC|
|1||Paint World||December 25, 1999||$80 million||$452.1 million||94%||69|
|2||The Gabriel Garza Movie||July 31, 2002||$60 million||$89.8 million||38%||44|
|3||Computeropolis||July 2, 2004||$85 million||$687.1 million||89%||91|
|4||M.I.S.S.I.O.N.||July 15, 2005||$78 million||$93.2 million||84%||76|
|5||BJ and Wally||July 7, 2006||$140 million||$486.5 million||53%||51|
|6||Computeropolis 2||July 6, 2007||$180 million||$953.4 million||84%||80|
|7||Swapped||July 2, 2008||$74 million||$376.8 million||51%||49|
|8||Woo La La||March 13, 2009||$164 million||$532.4 million||98%||81|
|9||Computeropolis 3||March 5, 2010||$75 million||$383.6 million||43%||57|
|10||Gabriel Garza||July 5, 2011||$80 million||$645.3 million||94%||62|
|11||Plucky Chicken||July 27, 2012||$160 million||$426.7 million||59%||51|
|12||Quest||March 1, 2013||$110 million||$524.9 million||97%||89|
|13||Gabriel Garza 2||July 2, 2014||$86 million||$895.6 million||96%||84|
|14||Hatty||March 6, 2015||$60 million||$536.3 million||53%||46|
|15||The Planetokio Movie||December 11, 2015||$80 million||$717.3 million||94%||91|
|16||DCL: Desktop Component League||April 5, 2016||$93 million||$1.018 billion||61%||55|
|17||Imagimals||March 3, 2017||$80 million||$837.2 million||78%||67|
|18||Gabriel Garza 3||July 19, 2017||$80 million||$766.8 million||65%||47|
|19||Computeropolis: The Deep Web||July 31, 2018|
|20||Lily & Lester||December 6, 2019|
|21||Imagimals 2||May 29, 2020|
|22||Gabriel Garza 4||May 21, 2021|
|23||Adventure Academy||November 12, 2021|
|24||Untitled films||March 4, 2022|
|25||March 3, 2023|
|26||December 22, 2023|
|27||April 26, 2024|
Films in developmentEdit
|The World Invasion|
|Untitled Superhero Project|
|Monster on the Hill|
|East of the Sun & West of the Moon|
|Polly and the Black Ink|
Direct-to-video feature filmsEdit
|1||The Day in the Life of Gabriel||August 4, 1998|
|2||Gabriel Hits the Road!||January 18, 2000|
|3||Gabriel's World Tour||November 13, 2001|
|4||Niz Chicoloco: The Untold Story||December 7, 2004|
|5||Hatty's Big Reunion||June 7, 2005|
|6||Iken & Naomi: A Planetokio Story||January 30, 2007|
|1||The Special Visitor||March 1, 1989|
|2||Spot||August 10, 1990|
|3||A Tiny Bite||June 25, 1992|
|4||Bob & Tom||December 21, 1994|
|5||Tifi||February 1, 1996|
|6||Lo and the Short Island||July 18, 1997|
|7||Planetokio: Bot Fight||October 21, 1999|
|8||Planetokio Race||November 3, 1999|
|9||Planetokio – Clones||December 16, 1999|
|10||Planetokio – Iken's Lunch||January 31, 2000|
|12||Print 3D Errors||December 14, 2004|
|13||Computeropolis: A Technical Ride||June 11, 2006|
|14||Peri and Nicky Get a Flu||December 11, 2007|
|15||The Sounds of the Ocean||March 13, 2009|
|16||The Chat||September 7, 2010|
|17||Game Boys||December 6, 2011|
|18||Go Party!||July 27, 2012|
|19||Virtual Madness||July 3, 2013|
|20||Back in Time||December 9, 2014|
|21||Hatty's Safety Tips||July 7, 2015|
|22||Monkey See, Monkey Sued||March 22, 2016|
|23||Hi-jinks||April 5, 2016|
|24||Zip||March 3, 2017|
|25||Busho's Guide to Cool Things||June 6, 2017|
|26||Leno Finds Love||November 21, 2017|
|#||Title||Premiere date||End date||Original network|
|1||Gabriel Garza||March 16, 1991||June 8, 2002|| CBS (1991–1993)|
Fox Kids (1994–2002)
|2||Hatty||August 31, 1996||September 7, 2002||Fox Kids|
|3||Niz Chicoloco||September 11, 1998||June 18, 1999||UPN (as part of UPN Kids)|
|4||GGTV||September 17, 1999||present||NBC|
|5||Paint World||September 23, 2000||March 17, 2001||Fox Kids|
|6||Planetokio||November 24, 2002||May 18, 2003|| UPN (US)|
|7||Critter Mockers||November 1, 2003||January 17, 2009||Discovery Kids|
|8||The BJ and Wally Show||October 4, 2007||March 29, 2012||Cartoon Network|
|9||Computeropolis: Adventures of Peri and Nicky||June 5, 2008||August 14, 2014|
|10||Woo La La||October 11, 2011||April 16, 2013|
|11||Gabriel & Friends||June 12, 2015||present||Netflix|
|12||The Hatty Weasel Show||September 25, 2015||present|
|13||Planetokio Adventures||August 12, 2016||present|
|14||Quest: Adventures of Ridder||October 7, 2016||present|
|15||Imagimals: The Series||Early 2018|| Cartoon Network
|1||A Gabriel Garza Christmas||November 16, 1991||CBS|
|2||Gabriel Goes Hollywood||September 11, 1993||Fox Kids|
|3||Gabriel Gets Spooked||October 21, 1995|
|4||Hatty: The Untold Story||September 12, 1998|
|5||The Gabriel Project||April 6, 1999|
|6||Hatty's Weasel-tastic Christmas!||November 17, 2001|
|7||Hatty in the Night of the Living Weasel||October 14, 2003||Direct-to-video|
|8||Planetokio Rules!||September 12, 2009||Fox|
|9||Computeropolis Xmas||November 22, 2011||NBC|
|10||It's a Very Gabriel Christmas!||November 20, 2013|
|11||Planetokio Holiday||November 15, 2016|
|1994||Bob & Tom||Best Animated Short Film||Michael Wildshill||Won|
|1997||Lo and the Short Island||Steve Samono and Audel LaRoque||Nominated|
|1999||Paint World||Best Original Score||Mark Mothersbaugh|
|Best Original Song||"What I'll Do for the World"||Won|
|2001||Lina||Best Animated Short Film||Amy McNeill|
|2004||Computeropolis||Best Animated Feature||Audel LaRoque and David Silverman||Nominated|
|Best Original Score||John Debney and Heitor Pereira|
|2006||BJ and Wally||Best Animated Feature||Geo G.|
|2007||Computeropolis 2||Audel LaRoque|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Michael Wildshill, Audel LaRoque and Mike Reiss|
|2009||Woo La La||Best Animated Feature||Michael Wildshill|
|2011||Gabriel Garza||Geo G. and Teresa Cheng|
|2013||Quest||Audel LaRoque and Karey Kirkpatrick|
|2014||Gabriel Garza 2||Teresa Cheng|
|2015||The Planetokio Movie||Audel LaRoque|
|Best Original Score||Hans Zimmer|
|2017||Imagimals||Best Animated Feature||Geo G. and Michael Wildshill|
|1999||Paint World||Best Original Score||Mark Mothersbaugh||Nominated|
|Best Original Song||"What I'll Do for the World"|
More coming soon!
Critics' Choice AwardsEdit
- Gabriel Garza is Gingo's mascot.
- Gingo is often described by fans as the Universal counterpart of Pixar, but Gingo is more described by some fans as the Universal counterpart of Walt Disney Animation Studios while Illumination is described as the Universal counterpart of Pixar, due to the fact that both Illumination and Pixar have no films released in 2014.
- On the other hand, the "Universal•Gingo" merger is also similar to the "Disney•Pixar" merger.
- So far, every Gingo film is rated PG by the MPAA, except Gingo's first film Paint World, which was rated G.
- Gingo Interactive
- Illumination Entertainment
- DreamWorks Animation
- Universal Animation Studios
- Walt Disney Animation Studios
- GingoMotion Studios