The Lightbox - Animation News
Updates on the happenings in the animation industry, including news and personal opinions, with special attention to feature animation. The latest news items on this page are available in RSS.

May 21, 2003 (last updated 20:17)
I stopped updating this site a long time ago. For more current notes, including an excellent email newsletter, head over to

March 02, 2002 (last updated 23:32)

Harry reviews Peter Pan 2
A better-than-expected review of Return to Neverland from Ain't It Cool News. "There is magic amongst the dog turds of this project."

Disney Aquires Sen to Chihiro, Lasseter to Dub
From a post on Slashdot: "Disney has finally announced that it will be bringing Miyazaki's anime masterpiece Sen to Chihiro (Spirited Away) over to North American theaters."

February 23, 2002 (last updated 21:41)

Chuck Jones dies
Legendary animation director Chuck Jones died yesterday. He was 89.

February 11, 2002 (last updated 09:55)

Wired News on Oscar Animation category
Wired News reports on the new Feature Animation category for the upcoming Oscars. The nominees will be announced Tomorrow (Feb 12).

January 10, 2002 (last updated 19:29)

Jerry Beck reviews "Art of Monsters" book
A glowing review of the inspirational artwork behind the recent Pixar film. Worth owning, but I was disappointed by the lack of textual content and passed this one up. [buy]

Lilo and Stitch trailer
Teaser trailer for Disney's upcoming "Lilo and Stitch" is available. The film opens June 2002, as usual.

December 05, 2001 (last updated 22:15)

Happy Birthday, Walt
Walt Disney would have been 100 today. If only he had lived to see what his creations have become... (Above audio link requires RealAudio.)

November 08, 2001 (last updated 10:25)

"Fizt" software developed for Monsters, Inc.
Wired News on the new technology developed for Pixar's Monsters, Inc. " individually simulated each of the 3 million hairs that cover one of the lead monsters..."

November 06, 2001 (last updated 10:44)

Spirit images from Shrek DVD
DreamWorks SKG Fansite has some images from the upcoming Dreamworks feature, Spirit, taken off the preview on the Shrek DVD. Beautiful stuff.

The Art of Monsters Inc
The "art of" book accompanying the release of Pixar's Monsters, Inc. is available. It's filled with preproduction artwork and character designs.

Monsters tops box office
Monsters, Inc. opened over the weekend to gross over $62 million, easily beating out the competition.

November 01, 2001 (last updated 13:14)

Disney's Don Quixote
From AICN, a few character sketches from a possible Disney Don Quixote feature, originally to be directed by the Brizzi Brothers.

September 19, 2001 (last updated 15:43)

Trailer for Peter Pan 2
Trailer for Peter Pan 2, apparently to be released in theaters instead of direct-to-video as was originally assumed.

August 13, 2001 (last updated 11:36)

Universal's Where the Wild Things Are reports news of Where the Wild Things Are, to be produced by Universal with Disney veterans Eric Goldberg and David Reynolds.

August 07, 2001 (last updated 14:47)

Upcoming PDI films: Tusker and Madagascar
USAToday reports on two upcoming PDI/Dreamworks projects, with quotes from Katzenberg and mention of Spirit, Dreamworks' next traditionally animated film.

1998 interview with Rob Hummel, VP Technology, Dreamworks
Interesting interview from 1998 with Rob Hummel of Dreamworks Animation about their films and the process of getting a studio setup.

Voice talent for PDI/Dreamworks' Madagascar
Ain't It Cool News' mention of Madagascar with voice talent.

July 12, 2001 (last updated 12:10)

Miyazaki's latest and rumors of retirement
Ain't it Cool News reports on Miyazaki's latest feature, opening in Japan this month. Plus, reports that he will retire after this film.

Previews from Miyazaki's Spirited Away
A haunting preview video for the upcoming Miyazaki film, Spirited Away, set to open in Japan this month.

July 09, 2001 (last updated 16:58)

Aardman suspends work on Tortoise and Hare
Here's the AWN news headline about Aardman stopping production on their next feature due to story problems. Ain't It Cool News had a less positive report, stating they would fast-track the Wallace and Gromit feature instead.

June 29, 2001 (last updated 09:05)

Inside look at Plympton's Mutant Aliens
AtomFilms provides a great inside look at Bill Plympton's latest feature film, Mutant Aliens. Through a series of short production dairy videos, Plympton shows his production process and how he comes up with ideas.

June 19, 2001 (last updated 14:28)

Atlantis opens 2nd at Box Office
Despite weak reviews of Tomb Raider, Disney's Atlantis only manages to come in 2nd with $20 million. Shrek holds strong at 3rd with a gross of almost $200 million.

Atlantis Illustrated Script
So far the closest thing to a "making of" book for animation fans, this book offers an abridged script alongside sketches, paintings, rough animation, and production skills.

Atlantis article on AWN presents a short behind-the-scenes look at Disney's Atlantis, "Ushering in a New Era."

May 07, 2001 (last updated 16:33)

Shrek Behind the Scenes
Special trailer provides a short behind the scenes look at Shrek, with commentary by Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy.

April 19, 2001 (last updated 15:54)

The Emperor's New Groove DVD
Regular disc and special edition 2-disc set available on May 1st. A very quick turn-around for Disney, as the movie is still playing in some theatres.

March 22, 2001 (last updated 23:13)

Animation Legend William Hanna Dead at 90
This news story briefly flashed across CNN while I was watching TV tonight. Goodbye Hanna -- you left an incredibly legacy.

March 16, 2001 (last updated 00:17)

Waking Life at SXSW
Ain't It Cool News reviews Richard Linklater's Waking Life. (I live in Austin but missed the screening. Ugh.)

Waking Life preview in Wired Magazine
Wired Magazine's Feb 2001 issue previewed Linklater's Waking Life. Pick up the real magazine, since the online version doesn't have the images.

March 09, 2001 (last updated 12:50)

Updates to start again shortly
Well, sadly this site stopped being updated regularly a while ago. I hope to start up again within the next week or so.

October 30, 2000 (last updated 11:51)

Pixar's Monsters Inc trailer
The trailer for Pixar's next feature, Monsters Inc, is now online at the Disney Pictures web site.

October 01, 2000 (last updated 12:11)

Animated Feature Oscar category
AWN reports on the Academy Award's decision to add a category for Best Animated Feature. It will only be offered if there is a significant amount of animated features in one year, and has some mixed opinions. An important read.

Fantasia 2000 DVD set for November 14
Disney's Fantasia 2000 will be released on DVD on November 14th, 2000. Plus, a 3-disc set with the original Fantasia, Fantasia 2000, and more is also coming.

Nightmare Before Christmas re-release
The Special Edition of Nightmare Before Christmas gets a new release on October 15 at select theaters. Check the list for a city near you.

September 10, 2000 (last updated 00:25)

Richard Linklater's Waking Life
Ain't It Cool News provides a few images from Richard Linklater's animated film, Waking Life, currently in production. Apparently it is a combination of rotoscoping and experimental animation.

September 04, 2000 (last updated 12:16)

Trailer and more available for Emperor's New Groove
Disney's web site has been updated with a Flash-driven section on the upcoming Emperor's New Groove, and somewhat controversial movie that has taken several turns since it's first inception under a different title. To be honest I'm a little scared b

Atlantis trailer and background story available
I was a little surprised to see this trailer up so early. Also available is some background text and a silly font that you can download for your Mac or PC. The images from this movie look stunning, though. The film is directed by Gary Trousdale an

First reports on Disney's Brother Bear
Ain't It Cool News provides the first look into the Disney Florida studio's next project.

AWN's September issue available
Animation World Magazine's September issue focuses on feature films, with an interview with Don Bluth. Plus: Education and training.

July 30, 2000 (last updated 11:39)

Bugs Bunny turns 60
Last week marked the 60th anniversary of Bugs Bunny's first appearance. The All Things Considered radio show highlights Bugs' career. (Requies Real Audio.)

Disney Artist Eyvind Earle passes
AWN notes the passing of Eyvind Earle, who worked on such early classics as Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, and Peter Pan.

July 24, 2000 (last updated 08:58)

Fox Animation shuts down
New York Times article about Fox Animation Studios finally shutting its doors. This seemed to have been likely for the last couple of years, and Titan A.E.'s mediocre performance at the box office didn't help matters. (free registration required)

Slashdot readers on Fox Animation
Sladhdog readers discuss the fate of Fox Animation, including the role of 3D CGI, bad story, and Disney.

July 09, 2000 (last updated 14:35)

Angry Kid at AtomFilms
A new series of 1 minute shorts by Aardman Animations appeared on AtomFilms recently. How did I miss this? While there, check out other Aardman creations such as Adam and Creature Comforts.

Chicken Run intro available on net
Starting 7/10/2000 and running for one week, will make 7 minutes from Chicken Run available on their web site.

June 21, 2000 (last updated 08:56)

Titan A.E. opens at #5 spot
Titan A.E. brought in just $9.3 million over its first opening weekend. Dinosaur remains strong at #7 while Fantasia 2000 re-opened in limited engangement at #11.

Interview with Titan A.E. creators on AWN
The first part of an interview with Don Bluth and Gary Goldman is one of the features of the June issue of Animation World Magazine. Goldman talks up the computer effects and other accomplishments of the Fox animation team.

June 16, 2000 (last updated 08:35)

Walt Disney inducted into inventors hall of fame
Disney will be inducted into the hall of fame for the invention of the multi-plane camera, first used in the short Old Mill and the feature Snow White.

June 14, 2000 (last updated 08:53)

Animo to support Mac, add Internet features
Cambridge Animation Systems announced upcoming Mac OS support, as well as new features geared toward producing content for the Internet, such as Flash output. The Mac version will be feature-comparable to the NT and IRIX versions.

June 06, 2000 (last updated 11:45)

Titan AE to be transferred over Internet
Titan AE is becoming the first movie to ever be digitally transferred over the Internet to a theatre. The movie will be transferred securely (thanks to Cisco) and projected at a screening at the Supercomm trade show.

June 04, 2000 (last updated 22:00)

Dinosaur still strong after third week
Dinosaur drops to the #3 spot to bring its total to $96 million. Meanwhile, the next few weeks will see the openings of Titan AE, the Fantasia 2000 re-release, and Chicken Run.

May 22, 2000 (last updated 09:36)

Dinosaur has big opening weekend
Disney's Dinosaur pulled in just under $40 million over the weekend, easily besting other top films for the number 1 spot, and the 20th best opening of all time.

May 11, 2000 (last updated 22:54)

Lightbox Back Online
After a long break, news items will began flowing again here. Really.

Tarzan Special Edition DVD
The Tarzan Special Edition DVD was released recently. This highly recommended two-disk DVD set includes directory commentary, sketches and concept art, as well a short piece with Glen Keane. Grab a copy from by clicking above.

Brad Bird joins Pixar
Brad Bird, acclaimed director behind last year's wonderful but ill-marketed Iron Giant, has left Warner for Pixar. Good luck Brad!

Disney's Dinosaur Making Of Site
Disney offers a peek behind some of the work that went into Dinosaur, Disney Feature Animation's latest film to be released next week. This Flash-based site doesn't offer much, though -- those eager for details will have to wait for the book.

February 02, 2000 (last updated 18:08)

Disney's Kingdom of the Sun news
Ain't it Cool News provides detailed information on the latest incarnation of Kingdom of the Sun, now called The Emperor's New Groove. A must-read for animation lovers wanting insight into the current goings-on at Disney Feature Animation.

January 24, 2000 (last updated 11:08)

Toy Story 2 brings home Golden Globe!
Toy Story 2 won the Golden Globe for Best Musical/Comedy last night. Congratulations to all the folks at PIXAR! Toy Story was a flawless film that continues to pull in audiences at the box office.

January 23, 2000 (last updated 11:23)

Fantasia 2000 at $11 million after 3 weeks
Fantasia 2000 still struggles to make it into the box office top 10 after 3 weeks.

One of Disney's greatest, Marc Davis passes on at 86
Marc Davis died after a stroke on January 12, 2000. A member of Disney's Nine Old Men, he was involved in some of the classic animated features at Disney.

Tigger Movie set to surprize audiences?
Ain't It Cool News provides a peek at what could turn out to be a good film, despite what most people expect from the limited budget of the television studios.

December 15, 1999 (last updated 08:59)

First peek at next Miyazaki film
Ain't It Cool News provides the first sketch of the next Miyazaki film, possibly due in 2001. Miyazaki is the acclaimed Japanese writer/director behind Kiki's Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke.

December 02, 1999 (last updated 11:25)

AWN Magazine December Issue - Asian Animation and More
Animation World Network's December Issue has a focus on asian animation, plus a look at Toy Story 2 and Fantasia 2000, and a review of John Canemaker's latest book.

November 28, 1999 (last updated 15:47)

Toy Story 2 Tops Box Office
Pixar and Disney's Toy Story 2 brought in $57 million over the Thanksgiving weekend to rank it number 1 at the box office.

November 24, 1999 (last updated 12:24)

Fantasia 2000 Web Site
Several weeks ago Disney opened up the official web site for Fantasia 2000. The Flash-intensive site includes information and QuickTime clips on the different segments and directors of the film.

Iron Giant DVD released
The Iron Giant DVD, VHS, and Laserdisc have been released, with the DVD edition including extra features such as commentary, behind-the-scenes material, and delete scenes.

Tarzan DVD set for February release
Tarzan will be released to DVD and video on February 1, 2000. The Special Edition DVD will include behind-the-scenes and commentary on the film. The DVD is available for pre-order from

AWN November Issue available
The November issue of the Animation World Network magazine is available online, with a focus on feature animation.

September 21, 1999 (last updated 17:48)

Interview with Hayao Miyazaki
Ain't It Cool News presents an interview with the creator of Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, and the upcoming Princess Mononoke and Castle in the Sky.

September 20, 1999 (last updated 17:21)

Fantasia 2000 Trailer at IMAX
A recent post to the rec.arts.disney.animation newsgroup describes the Fantasia 2000 trailer showing at select IMAX theatres.

Princess Mononoke trailer
The first trailer for the english dub was actually released online a couple of weeks ago, but here it is for those that missed it.

September 17, 1999 (last updated 17:28)

September Animation World Magazine available
The September issue of AWN's Animation World Magazine is now online, with a focus on television and voice acting.

Chicken Run and El Dorado images
Several new images on Ain't It Cool News provide a peek into these upcoming films.

Prince of Egypt released on VHS, DVD, and LD
Dreamworks' Prince of Egypt was released this week on VHS, DVD, and Laserdisc. The DVD edition has supplemental footage including preproduction artwork, audio commentary, and more.

Tarzan and Iron Giant drop off Box Office Top 20
Disney's Tarzan and Warner Bros. The Iron Giant have both dropped from the top 20 grossing movies. The Iron Giant, a brilliant film which suffered from poor marketing efforts, has grossed an underwealming $21 million, while Tarzan approaches $170 mi

Iron Giant Video Release set for November 23
Warner Bros. has given up on the theatrical release of The Iron Giant and is making plans for a video release for later this year. The DVD version will include a 22-minute making-of documentary and other content.

Latest projects from inside Disney Feature Animation
Ain't it Cool News gives another update from inside Disney on Fantasia 2000 lineup changes, plus Treasure Planet and more.