Project Zero is a 2000 American animated science fiction comedy film produced by TjsWorld2011 Entertainment for Paramount Pictures. The fourth feature film from TW2011 Entertainment, it was co-written and directed by TjsWorld2011 and co-written and produced by Ntpockets, and was the studio's first independently produced film since The Hub (1995). The film follows an amateur technician who invents a makeshift gateway to the computer world, but discovers that his school's computer network is being corrupted from within. He is thus given the task to travel inside the cyberworld and eliminate the cause of the corruption: the leader of an oppressive dictatorship inside it.
The film's concept was envisioned by TjsWorld2011 in 1997 while working on the film Revolt Squad. Ntpockets convinced him to pitch their original screenplay for the film to Paramount soon after. Production lasted from November 1997 to July 1999, with recently-founded visual effects company Blur Studio assisting the studio in creating various cyberworld backgrounds and scenes, as well as various visual effects. Project Zero also marked Mary Kay Bergman's final film role before her suicide on November 11, 1999, and the film is thus dedicated to her memory.
Project Zero premiered in Los Angeles on March 18, 2000, and was released in the United States on March 24, 2000. It received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its animation, characters, and style, and grossed $102.6 million worldwide against its $27 million budget, making it the sixth highest-grossing animated film of 2000, as well as the fourty-ninth highest-grossing film of 2000 overall. The film was later released on DVD and VHS on April 10, 2001 and on Blu-ray on March 24, 2010, exactly ten years after its original release.
- Matthew Broderick as Jason
- Kath Soucie as Ashley
- Grey DeLisle as Brenda
- Rob Paulsen as Chip, a cybercitizen who helps Jason, Ashley, and Brenda
- Samuel L. Jackson as Cyrus
- Sam Register as Viro
- Mary Kay Bergman as Mrs. East
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- Further info: Project Zero: Music from the Motion Picture and Project Zero: Original Motion Picture Score
The film's accompanying soundtrack album was released on March 7, 2000 by Columbia Records and Sony Music Soundtrax. The album features music by artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack, Sneaker Pimps, the Chemical Brothers, UNKLE, the Crystal Method, Boards of Canada, and Aphex Twin.
Beginning in August 1999, Paramount Pictures launched a cryptic marketing campaign in the lead-up to the release of the film's teaser trailer. The campaign involved three short teasers released on the film's website from August 12 to September 20, 1999, each reading one of the three numbers of the film's release date ("03.24.00").
The film's official teaser trailer was released on September 29, 1999, and was attached films such as Superstar, The Landrums, and Toy Story 2. The first theatrical trailer was released on November 28, 1999, and was attached films such as Stuart Little, Paint World, and Galaxy Quest. The second theatrical trailer was released on January 26, 2000, and attached films such as Snow Day, Hanging Up, and Mission to Mars. TV spots for the film were released from January to March 2000.
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Project Zero grossed over $78.3 million in North America and over $24.3 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $102.6 million. In the United States, the film opened at number three at the box office, behind Romeo Must Die and Erin Brockovich and ahead of Final Destination (which fell to number four after Project Zero's opening), and grossed over $15.3 million from 2,244 theaters on its opening weekend. By the end of the year, Project Zero had finished as the sixth highest-grossing animated film of 2000, as well as the forty-ninth highest-grossing film of the year overall. It was TW2011 Pictures' highest-grossing film up to that point, until it was surpassed by the studio's own PuffRuff School: The Movie in 2001.
Project Zero received mostly positive reviews from critics. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 75% approval rating with an average rating of 7/10 based on 102 reviews; its critical consensus states, "Boasting an impressive voice cast and groundbreaking animation techniques, Project Zero leaves its mark as one of the first accomplished animated films of the twenty-first century." On Metacritic, it holds a score of 68 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars out of four, stating that "even if it may sometimes feel like an amalgamation of every sci-fi cartoon from the '80s, [it] still succeeds in convincing us that it's not a movie made just to sell toys." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone commended the film's screenplay and animation, specifically its use of computer-generated imagery, and said it was "one of the few hand-drawn films that actually uses CGI to its advantage."
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Project Zero was originally released on DVD and VHS on April 10, 2001. The DVD release included a 23-minute making-of documentary titled Project Zero: Behind the Screens, which also aired on CBS and Nickelodeon in May 2001.
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