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Universal Animation Studios (formerly Universal Cartoon Studios or Universal Feature Animation) is the animation division of Universal Pictures, tasked for animated productions. The studio has primarily focused upon the production of television and feature animation of other properties. It also has produced direct-to-video sequels to other Universal-released feature films, such as The Land Before Time, An American Tail, and Balto, as well as other films and television series.

HistoryEdit

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. Universal Cartoon Studios opened its doors in 1991 to produce animated feature films and television series 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. At the time when Universal Cartoon Studios was founded in 1991, Universal established its own feature animated department called Universal Feature Animation to produce theatrically released animated feature films.

From 1989–1997, Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment operated Amblimation, a traditional animation studio which was started to compete with Walt Disney Animation Studios, which was experiencing great success at the time with films such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King.

The Amblimation studio, however, was not as successful. Their first feature An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, a sequel to 1986's An American Tail, made $40 million at the worldwide box office in 1991, but their next feature, We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, was a box office bomb, only grossed $9.3 million in the United States in 1993, while their third and final feature Balto grossed $11 million worldwide and was overshadowed by the success of the competing Disney•Pixar film Toy Story in 1995. Amblimation was shut down in 1997 and some of its staff went on to join DreamWorks Animation.

Since 1999, Universal became the primary distributor of animated features produced by Gingo Animation, an North Hollywood-based animation company. Universal has had much more success with Gingo, and the box office receipts of their films are competitive with those of Disney and Pixar. By 2004, Gingo became the flagship feature animation division of Universal, which acquired the studio in that year. In 2006, Universal Cartoon Studios was renamed into Universal Animation Studios.

In 2008, Illumination Entertainment, an animation production company founded by Chris Meledandri, made a deal with Universal Studios which positioned Illumination as NBCUniversal’s family entertainment arm within its own feature animation field (which consists of Gingo) that would produce one to three films a year starting in 2010, divided between Gingo and Illumination. Like Gingo Animation, Illumination retains creative control and Universal exclusively distributes the films; many critics and fans of Gingo alike felt that both Gingo and Illumination were meant to help Universal to establish a successful feature animation group and a competitor to Disney's feature animation group which consists of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, respectively.

To maintain the separateness of Gingo and Illumination (even though they share common ownership and senior management), it was outlined 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.

On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal announced its intent to acquire DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion, making DreamWorks Animation the third animation studio owned by Universal after Gingo and Illumination; the acquisition was later completed on August 22, 2016. On that same day, the television animation divisions of Universal, Gingo and DreamWorks merged.

FilmographyEdit

Feature filmsEdit

Released filmsEdit

# Title Release date Co-production with Animation service(s) Composers Budget Gross RT MC
1 Paint World December 25, 1999 Gingo Animation Wang Film Productions
Fil-Cartoons
Mark Mothersbaugh $48 million $452.1 million 94% 69
2 The Gabriel Garza Movie July 31, 2002 Wang Film Productions
Saerom Animation
James L. Venable $60 million $89.8 million 38% 44
3 Computeropolis July 2, 2004 Gingo Computer Animation Department John Debney
Heitor Pereira
$65 million $687.1 million 89% 91
4 M.I.S.S.I.O.N. July 1, 2005 Harry Gregson-Williams $78 million $293.2 million 84% 76
5 Curious George February 10, 2006 Imagine Entertainment Toon City Animation
Yowza! Animation
Heitor Pereira $50 million $69.8 million 69% 62
6 BJ and Wally July 7, 2006 Gingo Animation Gingo Computer Animation Department John Powell $74 million $486.5 million 53% 51
7 Computeropolis 2 July 6, 2007 John Debney
Heitor Pereira
$77 million $953.4 million 84% 80
8 Swapped July 2, 2008 Mark Mothersbaugh $70 million $376.8 million 51% 49
9 The Tale of Despereaux December 19, 2008 Relativity Media Framestore Feature Animation William Ross $60 million $86.9 million 56% 53
10 Woo La La March 13, 2009 Gingo Animation Gingo Computer Animation Department Hans Zimmer $81 million $532.4 million 95% 81
11 Computeropolis 3 March 5, 2010 John Debney $85 million $783.6 million 43% 57
12 Gabriel Garza July 6, 2011 Mark Mothersbaugh
James L. Venable
$645.3 million 94% 72
13 Plucky Chicken July 27, 2012 John Debney $82 million $426.7 million 59% 51
14 Quest March 1, 2013 Mark Mancina $97 million $524.9 million 97% 89
15 Gabriel Garza 2 July 2, 2014 Mark Mothersbaugh
James L. Venable
$99 million $895.6 million 96% 84
16 Paradoria March 6, 2015 Mark Mothersbaugh
John Powell
$103 million $1.126 billion 98% 87
17 The Planetokio Movie December 11, 2015 Hans Zimmer $536.3 million 74% 69
18 Imagimals September 9, 2016 John Debney $101 million $1.018 billion 78% 57
19 Gabriel Garza 3 March 3, 2017 Mark Mothersbaugh $110 million $812.7 million 79% 70
20 Lix December 8, 2017 John Debney $837.2 million 97% 80

Upcoming filmsEdit

# Title Release date Co-production with Animation service(s) Composers Current Production Status
21 Computeropolis: The Deep Web May 4, 2018 Gingo Animation Gingo Computer Animation Department John Debney
Heitor Pereira
Post-Production
22 Paradoria 2 April 5, 2019 TBA Production
23 Untitled film December 6, 2019 TBA TBA
24 Imagimals 2 February 21, 2020 Gingo Animation Gingo Computer Animation Department Pre-Production
25 Z.O.O. March 27, 2020 Aardman Animations
Mako Animation
Aardman Animations Harry Gregson-Williams
26 Hyper May 21, 2021 Gingo Animation
SpectreVision
Gingo Computer Animation Department TBA Development
27 Untitled films December 10, 2021 TBA TBA
28 March 4, 2022 Gingo Animation
29 March 3, 2023
30 December 22, 2023

Direct-to-video feature filmsEdit

Title Release date Co-production with
The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure December 13, 1994
The Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving December 12, 1995
The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists December 10, 1996
The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island December 9, 1997
Hercules and Xena – The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus January 6, 1998 Renaissance Pictures
The Day in the Life of Gabriel August 4, 1998 Gingo Animation
The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock December 1, 1998
Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein September 28, 1999 Bagdasarian Productions, LLC.
Gabriel Hits the Road! January 18, 2000 Gingo Animation
An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island February 15, 2000
An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster July 25, 2000
Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman August 29, 2000 Bagdasarian Productions, LLC.
The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire December 5, 2000
Gabriel's World Tour November 13, 2001 Gingo Animation
The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze December 4, 2001
Balto II: Wolf Quest February 19, 2002
The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water December 10, 2002
Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure March 18, 2003 Paramount Pictures
Nickelodeon Movies
The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration December 2, 2003
Van Helsing: The London Assignment May 11, 2004
The Land Before Time XI: Invasion of the Tinysauruses January 11, 2005
Balto III: Wings of Change February 1, 2005
Hatty's Big Reunion June 7, 2005 Gingo Animation
The Adventures of Brer Rabbit March 21, 2006
Iken & Naomi: A Planetokio Story January 30, 2007 Gingo Animation
The Land Before Time XII: The Great Day of the Flyers February 27, 2007
The Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends November 27, 2007
Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey! March 2, 2010 Imagine Entertainment, Toon City Animation
The Little Engine That Could March 22, 2011 Crest Animation Productions
Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle June 23, 2015 Imagine Entertainment, Toon City Animation
The Land Before Time: Journey of the Brave February 2, 2016 Universal 1440 Entertainment
Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas Is You November 14, 2017 Universal 1440 Entertainment, Splash Entertainment, Telegael and Magic Carpet Productions
Woody Woodpecker February 6, 2018 Universal 1440 Entertainment
Paint Universe February 12, 2019 Universal 1440 Entertainment and Gingo Animation

Television seriesEdit

Title Original run Network Co-production with
Back to the Future: The Animated Series 1991–1992 CBS Amblin Television
Gabriel Garza 1991–2002 CBS / NBC Gingo Animation
Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories 1992–1993 Showtime
Fievel's American Tails 1992 CBS Amblin Television
Exosquad 1993–1994 Syndication
Family Dog 1993 CBS Amblin Television
Problem Child 1993–1994 USA Network Imagine Television
Monster Force 1994 Syndication
Beethoven 1994–1995 CBS Northern Lights Entertainment
Earthworm Jim 1995–1996 Kids' WB Shiny Entertainment
Savage Dragon USA Network
Hatty 1996–2002 NBC Gingo Animation
The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper 1996–1998 Fox Kids Amblin Television
Wing Commander Academy 1996 USA Network
Vor-Tech: Undercover Conversion Squad 1996 Syndication
The New Woody Woodpecker Show 1999–2002 Fox Kids
GGTV 1999–present NBC Gingo Animation
Paint World 2000–2001 Fox Kids
The Mummy: The Animated Series 2001–2003 Kids' WB
Planetokio 2002–2003 UPN Gingo Animation
Critter Mockers 2003–2009 Discovery Kids
Curious George 2006–2015 PBS Kids Imagine Television
The Land Before Time 2007–2008 Cartoon Network Amblin Television
The BJ and Wally Show 2007–2012 Gingo Animation
Computeropolis: Adventures of Peri and Nicky 2008–2014
Woo La La 2011–2013
Gabriel & Friends 2015–present Netflix
The Hatty Weasel Show
Tales in Paradoria 2016–present
Planetokio Adventures
Quest: Adventures of Ridder
Imagimals: The Series 2018–present Universal Kids
Lix & Melody: The New Tunes 2018 Netflix
Bernard Revamped
Niz Chicoloco Gingo Animation and DreamWorks Animation Television
Untitled Gingo series 2019 Universal Kids Gingo Animation

Short filmsEdit

Produced with Gingo AnimationEdit

Other filmsEdit

Television specialsEdit

Cancelled projectsEdit

Further information: List of unproduced Universal Studios animated shorts and feature films

See alsoEdit


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