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Universal Animation Studios (UAS), also referred to as Universal Animation, is an American animation studio that is a division of Universal Pictures, a subsidiary of Comcast through its wholly owned subsidiary NBCUniversal. Founded on May 23, 1991, it is based in North Hollywood, California and creates animated feature films, short films, and television specials for Universal. The studio has produced 23 feature films, from Ama and the Mysterious Crystal (1997) to Computeropolis: The Deep Web (2018). Universal Animation Studios currently maintains its main feature animation studio in North Hollywood, California, as well as a satellite studio in Glendale which produces direct-to-video and occasional theatrical animated feature films. The studio was originally formed as Universal Feature Animation in 1991 by some of Gingo Animation's feature animation alumni, while another animation division Universal Cartoon Studios was formed to produce television series and direct-to-video films. Universal Animation shares its site with Gingo, whose building is located immediately to the west.

As of August 2017, Universal Animation Studios' feature films have grossed a combined total of $90.5 billion worldwide, with an average gross of $597.2 million per film. Three of its films—Paradoria (2015), Imagimals (2016), and Computeropolis 2 (2007)—are among 50 highest-grossing films of all time, and ten of its films are among the 50 highest-grossing animated films of all time, with Paradoria being the third all-time highest in the latter category. The studio has received two Academy Awards, as well as 41 Emmys, and numerous Annie Awards, and multiple Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations.

HistoryEdit

1991–93: FoundingEdit

The original Walter Lantz Productions cartoon studio was closed down by Universal Studios in 1972 due to the rising costs and declining returns of short subject production. However, before Universal restarted its animation division in 1991, Universal released its first three animated films, such as An American Tail in 1986, The Land Before Time in 1988, and Jetsons: The Movie in 1990.

In late 1990, Gingo Animation co-founder Michael Wildshill met with then-President of MCA Sid Sheinberg to discuss the creation of a feature animation division, an offer which Wildshill immediately accepted. Universal Feature Animation was officially established on May 23, 1991 to produce theatrically released animated feature films to rival Disney's animated features. John Cohen was brought in to head the new division, which was set up in North Hollywood, California, where Gingo is also located. To build the talent base, Wildshill brought over artists from Gingo and its feature animation department, while Cohen recruited some of the staff from Walt Disney Feature Animation.

Meanwhile, Universal Cartoon Studios opened its doors in 1991 as a satellite studio in Glendale to produce television series and direct-to-video films for Universal. That same year, the studio produced its very first production, which is an animated television series based on Back to the Future films airing on CBS from 1991 to 1992. Some of Gingo's artists came to Universal Feature Animation in early 1992, with the rest doing so in the following year.

1994–2001: Initial successEdit

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2002–07: Conversion to computer animationEdit

Upon the unsuccessful release of Magina, Universal laid off most of the employees at the Feature Animation studio in North Hollywood, downsizing it to one unit and beginning plans to move into fully computer animated films. A handful of employees were offered positions doing computer animation. Subsequently, on April 17, 2003, Universal Feature Animation officially announced they were becoming a fully CGI studio, now with a staff of 460 people and began selling off all of its traditional animation equipment.

More coming soon!

2008–10: Restructuring and continued successEdit

In 2008, Universal announced a deal with an up-and-coming animation studio named Illumination Entertainment, positioning it as NBCUniversal's family entertainment arm within its feature animation group consisting of Universal Animation. This meant Universal would be able to release as many as three animated films in a year divided between the two studios. Many felt this decision was made to help Universal to establish itself as a competitor to Disney's feature animation group, which consists of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Michael 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 the Universal Animation executives "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 Universal Animation 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.

More coming soon!

2011–present: Further expansion and future projectsEdit

Coming soon!

PartnershipsEdit

IlluminationEdit

Since 2008, Universal Animation Studios and Illumination have been separate sister companies owned by Universal and had a close relationship. Many members worked extensively with both studios. They have made similar types of animated films. For example, Universal Animation's Computeropolis franchise and Illumination's Despicable Me franchise both competed as Universal's character-heavy computer-animated films with imaginative environments. During this period, Illumination also had commercial success with the two Despicable Me sequels (and its spin-off Minions), The Lorax, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing, while Universal Animation's success continued with Gabriel Garza (and its sequels), Quest, Paradoria, Luna & Zak, Imagimals, and Lix; however, some of Universal Animation's films—such as Plucky Chicken—and Illumination's The Lorax and Minions received mixed reviews but they were box office successes.

According to resources, both studios were intended to prompt Universal to establish a hugely successful track record of animated films from the two studios that would compete both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios—both owned by The Walt Disney Company—in feature animation; nevertheless, Universal became the second film studio to operate two feature animation units following Disney. Much like Disney Animation and Pixar, both studios often share common ownership and senior management but the deal was structured so that Illumination and Universal Animation would operate as completely separate studios under the Universal corporate umbrella so that that each studio is to remain solely responsible for its own projects and is not allowed to borrow personnel from or lend tasks out to the other. Both Gingo and Illumination had worked together on their first collaborative project Despicabopolis, a crossover direct-to-video film of Despicable Me and Computeropolis.

DreamWorks AnimationEdit

On August 22, 2016, NBCUniversal acquired competing studio DreamWorks Animation, appointing it a sister studio to both Universal Animation and Illumination.

ProductionsEdit

Feature filmsEdit

Further information: List of Universal Animation Studios films

Released filmsEdit

# Title Release date Budget Box office RT MC
1 Ama and the Mysterious Crystal September 26, 1997 $65 million $324.6 million 81% 64
2 Galaxion July 2, 1999 $80 million $96.2 million 60% 56
3 Paint World December 25, 1999 $48 million $452.1 million 94% 69
4 Mistress Masham's Repose March 16, 2001 $55 million $280.1 million 75% 67
5 Me & Mobo September 27, 2002 $80 million $106.9 million 77% 75
6 Magina March 7, 2003 $55 million $78.1 million 63% 57
7 Computeropolis July 2, 2004 $65 million $687.1 million 89% 91
8 M.I.S.S.I.O.N. July 1, 2005 $78 million $293.2 million 84% 76
9 BJ and Wally July 7, 2006 $74 million $486.5 million 53% 51
10 Computeropolis 2 July 6, 2007 $77 million $953.4 million 84% 80
11 Swapped July 2, 2008 $70 million $376.8 million 51% 49
12 Woo La La March 13, 2009 $81 million $532.4 million 95% 81
13 Computeropolis 3 March 5, 2010 $85 million $783.6 million 43% 57
14 Gabriel Garza July 8, 2011 $645.3 million 94% 72
15 Plucky Chicken July 27, 2012 $82 million $426.7 million 59% 51
16 Quest March 1, 2013 $97 million $524.9 million 97% 89
17 Gabriel Garza 2 July 2, 2014 $99 million $895.6 million 96% 84
18 Paradoria March 6, 2015 $103 million $1.126 billion 98% 87
19 Luna & Zak December 11, 2015 $624.9 million 74% 69
20 Imagimals September 9, 2016 $101 million $1.018 billion 78% 57
21 Gabriel Garza 3 March 3, 2017 $110 million $812.7 million 79% 70
22 Lix December 8, 2017 $838.1 million 97% 80
23 Computeropolis: The Deep Web May 4, 2018 $200 million $763.5 million 50% 59

Upcoming filmsEdit

# Title Release date
24 Paradoria 2: Enchanted Realm April 26, 2019
25 Luna & Zak: Level Two February 21, 2020
26 Earth Farm February 19, 2021
27 Hyper May 21, 2021
28 Untitled films February 25, 2022
29 February 24, 2023
30 December 20, 2023

Films in developmentEdit

Title
Graffiti Dudes
Sector 7
Cooking Fever
The Sentinel
Polly and the Black Ink
Gabriel Garza 4
Lix 2
Imagimals 2

Direct-to-video feature filmsEdit

# Title Release date
1 The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure December 13, 1994
2 The Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving December 12, 1995
3 The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists December 10, 1996
4 The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island December 9, 1997
5 Hercules and Xena – The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus January 6, 1998
6 The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock December 1, 1998
7 Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein September 28, 1999
8 An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island February 15, 2000
9 An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster July 25, 2000
10 Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman August 29, 2000
11 Ama II: Return to Crystopia September 19, 2000
12 The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire December 5, 2000
13 The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze December 4, 2001
14 Balto II: Wolf Quest February 19, 2002
15 The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water December 10, 2002
16 Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure March 18, 2003
17 The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration December 2, 2003
18 Van Helsing: The London Assignment May 11, 2004
19 The Land Before Time XI: Invasion of the Tinysauruses January 11, 2005
20 Balto III: Wings of Change February 1, 2005
21 The Adventures of Brer Rabbit March 21, 2006
22 The Land Before Time XII: The Great Day of the Flyers February 27, 2007
23 The Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends November 27, 2007
24 Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey! March 2, 2010
25 The Little Engine That Could March 22, 2011
26 Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle June 23, 2015
27 The Land Before Time: Journey of the Brave February 2, 2016
28 Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas Is You November 14, 2017
29 Gabriel and the Big Hero 6 January 16, 2018
30 Woody Woodpecker February 6, 2018
31 Despicabopolis March 20, 2018
32 Paint Universe February 12, 2019

Television specialsEdit

# Title Release date
1 Computeropolis Xmas November 22, 2011
2 It's a Very Gabriel Christmas! November 20, 2013
3 Paradoria Holiday November 15, 2016

Short filmsEdit

# Title Release date
1 Fractured Fairy Tales: The Phox, the Box, & the Lox August 27, 1999
2 Print 3D Errors December 14, 2004
3 Computeropolis: A Technical Ride June 11, 2006
4 Peri and Nicky Get a Flu December 11, 2007
5 The Sounds of the Ocean March 13, 2009
6 The Chat September 7, 2010
7 Game Boys December 6, 2011
8 Go Party! July 27, 2012
9 Virtual Madness July 3, 2013
10 Back in Time December 9, 2014
11 Camp Jamo July 7, 2015
12 Noodles
13 Getting Annoyed
14 How to Act Like a Player March 22, 2016
15 Busho's Guide to Cool Things January 10, 2017
16 Zip March 3, 2017
17 Leno Finds Love June 6, 2017
18 Double Date December 8, 2017
19 Neon May 4, 2018
20 Zola's Makeover September 4, 2018
21 Monkey Business
22 Keena's Paradorian Quest November 9, 2018

Miscellaneous workEdit

FranchisesEdit

Title Release date
Woody Woodpecker 1940–present
An American Tail 1986–1999
The Land Before Time 1988–present
Balto 1995–2005
Ama and the Mysterious Crystal 1997–2000
Paint World 1999–present
Computeropolis 2004–present
Curious George 2006–present
Gabriel Garza 2011–present
Paradoria 2015–present
Luna & Zak
Imagimals 2016–present
Lix 2017–present

AccoladesEdit

Academy AwardsEdit

Coming soon!

Golden Globe AwardsEdit

Coming soon!

Annie AwardsEdit

Coming soon!

Critics' Choice AwardsEdit

Coming soon!

Kids' Choice AwardsEdit

Coming soon!

GalleryEdit

Coming soon!

TriviaEdit

  • Universal Animation Studios is often described by fans as the Universal counterpart of Walt Disney Animation Studios while Illumination is described as the Universal counterpart of Pixar.
  • Unique for an animation studio, every one of Universal Animation's feature films so far features a younger (human) protagonist (mostly a young boy or a teenage boy).

See alsoEdit


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Universal Filmed Entertainment Group
Universal PicturesUniversal Pictures Home EntertainmentUniversal Animation StudiosIlluminationIllumination Mac GuffDreamWorks AnimationFocus FeaturesGramercy PicturesWorking Title FilmsNBCUniversal Entertainment Japan
Television Production
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Former Studios
MCA Inc.Pacific Data ImagesUniversal Interactive
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Studios HollywoodUniversal Orlando Resort (Universal Studios FloridaIslands of AdventureCityWalk) • Universal Studios JapanUniversal Studios SingaporeUniversal Studios Beijing