Fantasia 2000

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  • Directed By: James Algar, Gaëtan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Hendel Butoy, Francis Glebas, Eric Goldberg, Don Hahn, Pixote Hunt
  • Written By: Don Hahn, David Reynolds, Irene Mecchi
  • Release Date: January 1, 2000
  • Domestic Distributor: Disney
  • Cast: Steve Martin, Itzhak Perlman, Quincy Jones

Box Office Info:
Budget: $85 million (estimated)Financed by: Disney
Domestic Box Office: $60,655,420Overseas Box Office: $30,219,150


Roy E. Disney, nephew of Walt Disney and chairman of the Disney’s feature animation department, toyed with the idea of a sequel to Fantasia (1940) in the mid 1980s, but was met with resistance until the original was re-released in theaters in October 1990.  The re-release pulled in $25M and sold exceptionally well on home video.  In late 1991, Roy Disney convinced studio Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner to greenlight the sequel and finance most it from the profits of Fantasia‘s home video sales.

The sequel was originally titled Fantasia Continued with a 1997 release planned, but the project was not finished in time and it was briefly retitled Fantasia 1999, before becoming Fantasia 2000.  The budget for Fantasia 2000 was reported by Disney at $85 million, but insider sources placed costs at almost double that figure.   The mouse house put all their marketing muscle into the release and invested a fortune to turn Fantasia 2000 into an event.

Disney would book the picture into an IMAX only release for 4 months and then expand the movie nationwide on 35mm.  Fantasia 2000 would mark the first time an animated feature would play on the large format.  Disney became bullish on the terms for their event movie with IMAX and this resulted in numerous IMAX locations refusing to book the pic.  Back then, movies that played on the large format were usually under 1 hour in length and distributors would only receive about 15% of the box office — but the amount of showings per day made up for the small cut of the ticket price.  Fantasia 2000 was 75 minutes long and Disney demanded 50% of the gross and that it would be the only movie allowed to be shown at the cinema for the entire 4 months.  53 locations agreed to the terms.  The only Los Angeles IMAX screen was at the California Science Center, which would not agree to Disney’s terms, but Disney would not let that major market go untapped.  The studio built their own state of the art IMAX theater for $4 million to show Fantasia 2000 and then it would be demolished after its run to make way for a mall.

Disney dated Fantasia 2000 for January 1, 2000 and reviews were mixed to lukewarm positive.  It pulled in a strong $2,290,525 opening from the 54 locations, with a $42,417 per screen average.  The IMAX run was a success (especially for the IMAX corporation, which saw its stocks rise after the Fantasia 2000 run) and it pulled in $50M after 4 months.  There were internal Disney debates over whether the exclusive and long large format run would make the traditional release seem insignificant — which would become the case.

Disney was doing their best to monopolize the animation market and decided to schedule a 4 week long expansion of Fantasia 2000 on June 16, which was the same release date as Titan A.E.  That toon was directed by former Disney animators Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, who also had to deal with their former conglomerate employer trying to crush their previous movie Anastasia, which re-issued The Little Mermaid on the same date.

Fantasia 2000 was booked into 1,313 theaters and there was no interest from auds — it pulled in just $2,911,485.  It declined 49.2% to $1,477,958 the following weekend and sank 53.1% to $692,841 in its third wide session.  The domestic run closed with $60,655,420.

Interest was muted overseas as well, where it cumed $30.2M.  The worldwide total was $90.8M and Disney would see returned about $50M after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not even cover half of their P&A blitz or any of the budget.  After the disappointing box office returns, Michael Eisner called Fantasia 2000 “Roy’s folly”.

One Comment

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  1. The problem with Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 is while it’s a visual and animated spectacular. Its a really fcuking boring movie to watch as a kid. (and somewhat as an adult too)

    45 minutes really should be the absolute limit for these sort of productions.

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