Sullivan Bluth Studios was an American and Irish animated film production company established in 1979 by animator Don Bluth. Bluth and several colleagues, all of whom were former Disney animators, left Disney on September 13, 1979 to form Don Bluth Productions, later known as the Bluth Group. This studio produced the short film Banjo the Woodpile Cat, the feature film The Secret of NIMH, a brief animation sequence in the musical Xanadu, and the video games Dragon's Lair and Space Ace. The Bluth Group went bankrupt in 1984, and Bluth co-founded Sullivan Bluth Studios with American businessman Morris Sullivan in 1985.
The studio initially operated from an animation facility in Van Nuys, California, and negotiated with Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment to make the animated feature An American Tail. During its production, Sullivan began to move the studio to Dublin, Ireland, to take advantage of government investment and incentives offered by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA). Most of the staff from the US studio moved to the new Dublin facility during production on the studio's second feature film, The Land Before Time. The studio also recruited heavily from Ireland, and helped set up an animation course at Ballyfermot Senior College to train new artists.
After The Land Before Time, the studio severed its connection with Amblin and negotiated with UK-based Goldcrest Films, which invested in and distributed two additional features, All Dogs Go to Heaven and Rock-a-Doodle. In 1989, during the production of All Dogs Go to Heaven, founding member John Pomeroy and many of the remaining US staff members returned to America to form a US wing in Burbank, California. The studio found itself in financial difficulty in 1992 when Goldcrest withdrew funding due to concerns about the poor box office returns of its most recent films and budgetary over-runs in its in-production films, Thumbelina, A Troll in Central Park and The Pebble and the Penguin. Another British film company, Merlin Films, and Hong Kong media company Media Assets invested in the studio to fund the completion and release of the three partially completed films.
Bluth and Gary Goldman were drawn away from the studio when they were approached in late 1993 to set up a new animation studio for 20th Century Fox. Sullivan Bluth Studio's films continued to suffer losses at the box office, and the studio was closed down in 1995 after the release of their final feature, The Pebble and the Penguin. Don Bluth and Gary Goldman went on to head up Fox Animation Studios in Phoenix, Arizona to work on Anastasia and Titan A.E.
|#||Title||Release date||Budget||Box office||RT||MC|
|1||The Secret of NIMH||July 2, 1982||$7 million||$14.7 million||96%||76|
|2||An American Tail||November 21, 1986||$9 million||$84.5 million||69%||38|
|3||The Land Before Time||November 18, 1988||N/A||$84.4 million||70%||66|
|4||All Dogs Go to Heaven||November 17, 1989||$13.8 million||$27.1 million||55%||50|
|5||Rock-a-Doodle[S]||April 3, 1992||$18 million||$11.7 million||21%||N/A|
|6||Thumbelina||March 30, 1994||$28 million||$11.3 million||25%|
|7||A Troll in Central Park||October 7, 1994||N/A||$71 million||17%|
|8||The Pebble and the Penguin||April 12, 1995||$28 million||$3.9 million||11%|
- SCombines live-action with animation.