Titan A.E.

Titan A.E.

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Don Bluth
Gary Goldman
Produced by Don Bluth
Gary Goldman
David Kirschner
Screenplay by Ben Edlund
John August
Joss Whedon
Story by Hans Bauer
Randall McCormick
Starring Matt Damon
Bill Pullman
John Leguizamo
Nathan Lane
Janeane Garofalo
Drew Barrymore
Music by Graeme Revell
Edited by Bob Bender
Paul Martin Smith
Fiona Trayler
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • June 16, 2000 (2000-06-16)
Running time
94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $75–$90 million
Box office $36.8 million

Titan A.E. is a 2000 American animated science fiction action-adventure film directed and produced by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. The film's title refers to the spacecraft central to the plot, with A.E. meaning "After Earth". It stars the voices of Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, John Leguizamo, Nathan Lane, Janeane Garofalo and Drew Barrymore. The film's animation technique combines traditional hand-drawn animation and extensive use of computer generated imagery. Its working title was Planet Ice. The film was theatrically released on June 16, 2000 by 20th Century Fox. It was the last film to be made by Fox Animation Studios before its closure. The film grossed $36.8 million[1] on a $75–$90 million budget, making a $100-million loss for 20th Century Fox.[2]


In 3028 A.D., humanity has mastered deep space travel and interacted with several alien species. A human invention called "Project Titan" alarms the Drej, a pure energy-based alien species. As the Drej start to attack Earth, Professor Sam Tucker, the lead researcher for "Project Titan", sends his son Cale on one of the evacuation ships with his alien friend Tek while Tucker and other members of his team fly the Titan spacecraft into hyperspace. When the Drej mothership destroys Earth and the Moon with a massive directed-energy weapon, the surviving humans become nomads, generally ridiculed by other alien species.

Fifteen years later, Cale is working in a salvage yard in an asteroid belt called Tau 14. He is tracked down by Joseph Korso, captain of the spaceship Valkyrie. Korso reveals that Professor Tucker encoded a map to the Titan in the ring he gave Cale. Tek tells Cale that humanity depends on finding the Titan. When the Drej attack the salvage yard, Cale is forced to escape aboard the Valkyrie with Korso and his crew: Akima, a human female pilot; and Preed, Gune, and Stith, aliens of various species.

On the planet Sesharrim, the bat-like Gaoul interpret the map and discover the Titan is hidden in the Andali Nebula. Drej fighters arrive and capture Cale and Akima. The Drej eventually discard Akima and extract the Titan's map from Cale. Korso's crew rescues Akima while Cale eventually escapes in a Drej ship and rejoins the group. Cale's map has changed and now shows the Titan's final location.

While resupplying at a human space station called New Bangkok, Cale and Akima discover that Korso and Preed are planning to betray the Titan to the Drej. Cale and Akima manage to escape the Valkyrie but are then stranded on New Bangkok when Korso and the rest of the crew set off for the Titan. With the help of New Bangkok's colonists, Cale and Akima salvage a small spaceship named Phoenix and race to find the Titan before Korso.

Cale and Akima navigate through the huge ice field in the Andali Nebula and dock with the Titan before the Valkyrie arrives. They discover DNA samples of Earth animals and a pre-recorded holographic message left by Cale's father. Professor Tucker explains that the Titan was designed to create an Earth-like planet; however, its power cells lack the energy necessary for the process. The message is interrupted by the arrival of Korso and Preed. Preed attempts to double-cross Korso, but he kills him. Moments later, the Drej attack the Titan. While the remaining crew of the Valkyrie distracts them, Cale - given the fact that Drej are, essentially, beings of pure energy - modifies the Titan to absorb them, thus re-energizing the ship. A repentant Korso sacrifices his life to help Cale complete the repairs. The Titan absorbs the Drej mothership along with everyone aboard and uses gained power to mold the ice field into a new habitable planet.

While on the newly-formed Planet "Bob" (named by Cale), Cale and Akima witness the weather of the new planet as it begins to rain. Stith and Gune leave on the Valkyrie as human colony ships approach the planet to start life anew.




The story of Titan A.E. had been in development at 20th Century Fox since 1998, and was originally intended to be a live-action science fiction film.[3] The script had been passed around to various writers, such as Ben Edlund and Joss Whedon, and had been given to an undisclosed director. After $30 million had been spent in the film's early development with no progress, the director was sacked. Then-chairman of 20th Century Fox Bill Mechanic gave the script to Fox Animation producers Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, who were fresh from the success of their recent film Anastasia. Mechanic had no scripts for Fox Animation to work on, and was faced with the choice of laying off the animation staff unless they took Titan A.E.. Bluth and Goldman, who were not fans of science fiction, took the script regardless.[4]

Fox Animation Studios were given a budget of $75 million dollars and 19 months to produce the film. Unlike Bluth and Goldman's previous films, the animation in Titan A.E. is predominantly computer-generated, while main characters and several backgrounds were traditionally animated. Many of the scenes were enacted by the animation staff using handbuilt props before being captured by a computer. Many scenes and backgrounds were painted by concept artist Paul Cheng, who had worked on Anastasia and its direct-to-video spinoff Bartok the Magnificent.[5] Like Anastasia, the storytelling and tone in Titan A.E. is much darker and edgier than Bluth and Goldman's previous films, with the film being regularly compared to Japanese anime. Although Bluth and Goldman denied any influence by anime, they have acknowledged the comparison.[3]

During the production of Titan A.E., Fox Animation suffered a number of cutbacks which ultimately led to its closure in 2000. Over 300 animation staff were laid off from the studio in 1999, and as a result much of the film's animation was outsourced to a number of independent companies.[6] Several scenes were contracted to David Paul Dozoretz's POVDE group, the "Wake Angels" scene was animated by Reality Check Studios (their first feature film work),[7] while the film's "genesis" scene was animated by Blue Sky Studios, who would later go on to animating 20th Century Fox's Ice Age and Rio film franchises as well as The Peanuts Movie. Under pressure from executives, Bill Mechanic was dismissed from 20th Century Fox prior to Titan A.E.'s release, eventuating in the closure of Fox Animation Studios on June 27, 2000, ten days after the film's release. All these events stunted the film's promotion and distribution.[4]



Titan A.E.: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released June 6, 2000[8]
Genre Soundtrack, rock, rap rock, alternative rap
Length 44:30
Label Capitol/EMI Records
Professional ratings
Review scores

The soundtrack for Titan A.E. was released on audio cassette and CD by Capitol/EMI Records on June 6, 2000 and features 11 tracks by various contemporary rock bands, including Lit, Powerman 5000, Electrasy, Fun Lovin' Criminals, The Urge, Texas, Bliss 66, Jamiroquai, Splashdown, The Wailing Souls, and Luscious Jackson.[8]

No. TitleArtist Length
1. "Over My Head"  Lit 3:39
2. "The End Is Over"  Powerman 5000 3:10
3. "Cosmic Castaway"  Electrasy 3:30
4. "Everything Under the Stars"  Fun Lovin' Criminals 4:04
5. "It's My Turn to Fly"  The Urge 3:44
6. "Like Lovers (Holding On)"  Texas 4:36
7. "Not Quite Paradise"  Bliss 66 3:59
8. "Everybody's Going to the Moon"  Jamiroquai 5:24
9. "Karma Slave"  Splashdown 3:26
10. "Renegade Survivor"  The Wailing Souls 4:07
11. "Down to Earth"  Luscious Jackson 4:51


Titan A.E.: Limited Edition
Film score by Graeme Revell
Released October 23, 2014[9]
Genre Soundtrack
Length 76:55
Label La-La Land Records
Producer Graeme Revell
Don Bluth Music of Films chronology
Titan A.E.

The background music for Titan A.E. was composed Graeme Revell, although an official album containing the film's underscore was originally not released alongside the film. On October 23, 2014, the movie's score was made available for the first time by La-La Land Records, released as limited edition CD of 1,500 copies, containing most of what Revell wrote for the feature. It contains 32 tracks and music cues, including two bonus tracks: an orchestra-only version of "Creation", and an alternative version of "Prologue" with a different opening.[9]


Digital screening

Titan A.E. became the first major motion picture screened in end-to-end digital cinema. On June 6, 2000, ten days before the movie was released, at the SuperComm 2000 trade show, the movie was projected simultaneously at the trade show in Atlanta, Georgia as well as a screen in Los Angeles, California. It was sent to both screens from the 20th Century Fox production facilities in Los Angeles via a VPN.[10]

Home media

Titan A.E. was released on VHS[11] and "Special Edition" DVD on November 7, 2000[12] by 20th Century Fox, which contains extras such as a commentary track by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, a "Quest for Titan" featurette, deleted scenes, weblinks, and a music video for Lit's "Over My Head".[13] The region 1 North American version also comes with an exclusive DTS English audio track in addition to Dolby Digital 5.1 featured in most international releases.[13] Chris Carle of IGN rated the DVD an 8 out of 10, calling the movie "thrilling... with some obvious plot and character flaws" but called the video itself "a fully-packed disc which looks and sounds great" and "for animation and sci-fi fans, it's a must-have."[14] The film has never been released on Blu-ray.[15]

Cancelled video game

A video game adaptation by Blitz Games was planned to be released for the PlayStation and PC in Fall 2000 in North America, following the film's Summer release.[16] Development on both platforms had begun in March 1999 under the film's original title Planet Ice,[17] and an early playable version was showcased at the 2000 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.[16] In July 2000, a spokesman from the game's publisher, Fox Interactive, announced that development on the title had been halted largely due to the film's failed box office, which was "only one of many different factors" that led to its cancellation.[18]


Critical response

Titan A.E. received a mixed response from critics, with a 48 out of 100 score from Metacritic,[19] and 52% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes based on 99 reviews with the consensus "Great visuals, but the story feels like a cut-and-paste job of other sci-fi movies."[20] Film critic Roger Ebert enjoyed it, giving it 3.5/4 stars for its "rousing story", "largeness of spirit", and "lush galactic visuals [which] are beautiful in the same way photos by the Hubble Space Telescope are beautiful". He cited the Ice Rings sequence as "a perfect examine [sic] of what animation can do and live action cannot".[21]

Box office

The film opened at #5, with $9,376,845 for an average of $3,430 from 2,734 theaters.[1] The film then lost 60% of its audience in its second weekend, dropping to #8, with a gross of $3,735,300 for an average of $1,346 from 2,775 theaters.[22] The film ended up grossing only $36,754,634 worldwide ($22,753,426 in the United States and Canada, and $14,001,208 in international markets).[1] The film's budget is estimated at between $75 million[1] and $90 million.[23] According to Chris Meledandri, the supervisor of the film, Titan A.E. lost $100 million for 20th Century Fox.[2] After the film's failure, Fox Animation Studios was shut down.


Titan A.E. won a Golden Reel Award for "Best Sound Editing for an Animated Feature",[24] and was nominated by the same organization for "Best Sound Editing for Music in Animation", and a Satellite Award for "Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media", losing both to Chicken Run.[25][26] The film was also nominated for three Annie Awards, including "Outstanding Achievement in An Animated Theatrical Feature", "Effects Animation", and "Production Design" which it lost to Toy Story 2 and Fantasia 2000, respectively,[27] and was nominated for Best Science Fiction Film at 27th Saturn Awards, but lost to X-Men, another film from 20th Century Fox.[28] Drew Barrymore was nominated for "Best Voice-Over Performance" by the Online Film & Television Association for her role as Akima, but was beaten by Eartha Kitt from The Emperor's New Groove.[29]

Award Nomination Nominee Result
Annie Award Outstanding Individual Achievement for Effects Animation Julian Hynes (visual effects) Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Philip A. Cruden (production design)
Outstanding Achievement in An Animated Theatrical Feature Titan A.E.
Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing - Animated Feature Christopher Boyes, et al. (editors) Won
Best Sound Editing - Music - Animation Joshua Winget (scoring/music editor) Nominated
OFTA Film Award Best Voice-Over Performance Drew Barrymore (Akima) Nominated
Satellite Award Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Titan A.E. Nominated
Saturn Award Best Science Fiction Film Titan A.E. Nominated

Prequel novels

To tie in with the film, a series of prequel novels written by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta were released on February 10, 2000 by Ace Books, the same day as the official novelization of the movie written by Steve and Dal Perry.[30] A comic series focusing on the character Sam was also released in May 2000.[31]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Titan A.E.". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  2. 1 2 Palmeri, Christopher (September 19, 2013). "Despicable Me 2 Producer Knows How to Win the Box Office". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  3. 1 2 Lauria, Larry (June 1, 2000). "A Chat With Don Bluth And Gary Goldman (Part I)". Animation World Network. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  4. 1 2 "DON BLUTH at AnimationNation.com Special Event 2010". AnimationNation. May 21, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2015 via YouTube.
  5. "Paul Cheng - Titan A.E.". Paul Cheng.com. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  6. Linder, Brian (June 27, 2000). "Fox Animation Studios Closes Its Doors". IGN. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  7. "Reality Check Studios Tapped for Tricky Titan AE Sequence".
  8. 1 2 "Titan A.E. - Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  9. 1 2 "Titan A.E. - Graeme Revell - Limited Edition". La-La Land Records. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  10. "Digital Cinema Delivered in Internet Style" (PDF). Cisco Systems. 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2007. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  11. "Titan A.E. [VHS]". Amazon. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  12. "Titan A.E. (2000)". Amazon. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  13. 1 2 "Titan A.E. (2000)". DVDCompare. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  14. Carle, Chris (November 15, 2000). "Titan A.E.". IGN. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  15. "Titan A.E. (2000)".
  16. 1 2 Perry, Douglas C. (June 22, 2000). "Titan A.E.". IGN. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  17. Gestalt (November 8, 2000). "Philip Oliver of Blitz Games". Eurogamer. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  18. "Titan A.E. Canned". IGN. July 26, 2000. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  19. "Titan A.E. Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  20. "Titan A.E. (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  21. Ebert, Roger (June 19, 2000). "Titan A.E. Movie Review & Film Summary (2000)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  22. "Titan A.E. - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  23. W. Welkos, Robert (June 12, 2000). "Animated Clash of the 'Titan'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  24. "MPSE: Golden Reel Feature Film WINNERS! - 48th Annual Awards - for year of 2000". Motion Picture Sound Editors. Archived from the original on December 10, 2001. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  25. "MPSE: Golden Reel Feature Film nominations - 48th Annual Awards - for year of 2000". Motion Picture Sound Editors. Archived from the original on May 14, 2003. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  26. "Satellite Awards (2001)". IMDb. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  27. "28th Annual Annie". Annie Awards. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  28. "X-Men Leads Sci-fi Awards Pack". ABC News. April 4, 2001. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  29. "Online Film & Television Association (2001)". IMDb. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  30. 1 2 Chitwood, Scott (February 10, 2000). "Titan A.E. Prequel Novels and Novelization in Stores". IGN. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  31. 1 2 Chitwood, Scott (May 22, 2000). "A Look at the Titan A.E. Prequel Comic". IGN. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  32. Chitwood, Scott (February 10, 2000). "A Quick Review of Cale's Story". IGN. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
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