Sunday, April 4, 2010

Don Bluth’s Ups and Downs

  • Don Bluth first started working as an assistant animator for Walt Disney Studios working on Sleeping Beauty.
  • He then left the studio only to come back there again to work on Robin Hood, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Rescuers and Pete’s Dragon.
  • Bluth felt that Disney Studios had changed and was not the same place that it used to be when he had worked there previously. As a result, he gathered a team of his own, and set up his own studio in his garage.
  • There, he produced Banjo the Woodpile Cat which was an experimental short film meant to test whether he could make his own full-length feature.
  • In 1980, Don Bluth launched his first theatrical film, The Secret of NIMH, which unfortunately was not a success at the box office.
  • Bluth then turned his attention to producing video games which included the Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace.

Bluth's luck turned for the better when he teamed up with Steven Spielberg to make An American Tail which opened in theaters in 1989.
The story was weak, but the animation was a success, equal to Disney Studios' original work.

Bluth and Spielberg partnered again to make the film about dinosaurs called The Land Before Time; this series became quite popular for many kids during its time.

Bluth’s forth film, All Dogs Go to Heaven, lost at the box office to The Little Mermaid, but managed to be more popular on direct home video.

Sadly, his other films that followed did not meet his expectations. Rock-A-Doodle, Thumbelina, and A Troll in Central Park were all major disappointments.

All posters above belong to

Luckily he would come out of this downhill trend when in 1997, Don Bluth’s greatest masterpiece, Anastasia was produced. It received high ratings at the box office and grossed over $140,000,000 worldwide! Many people have mixed this film up as one that must have been made by Disney Studios which in many ways is a compliment to Bluth.

His last film, Titan A.E., marked the end of Don Bluth’s studio.

In the end, he will always be remembered as one of the first animators besides Disney who attempted to make his own theatrical animated films.

Here are some video clips from Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp. In the game, Dirk must rescue Princess Daphne from an evil wizard named Mordock.

Videos belong to

All footage and images rights belong to Don Bluth

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