Not all animated movies have a happy ending. Arizona animators could tell you that.
My grandparents live in Phoenix, Arizona. Over the years, they have sent me numerous newspaper clippings, especially about animation. I was well-informed about the opening of Fox Animation Studios in Phoenix, and the production of Anastasia (1997) and Titan A.E. (2000). And of course, they let me know when the studio closed down.
In 2002, they sent me an article about (former Fox) animator Len Simon's Fat Cat Animation Studios in Phoenix, Arizona. Fat Cat did contract work for DreamWorks, but their first big project was supposed to be Hope Canyon. We get a glimpse of the main character, Makai, and we learn the movie involves poachers.
Arizona has some amazing wildlife, which is well-suited for animation. You may have heard of the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. They're just the tip of the iceberg. I can't believe there's not a famous cartoon horned toad.
We'll address that right now. Here's my new cartoon character, Randy the Horned Toad.
Ok, back to Hope Canyon.
Doing some research, I discovered the plans for Hope Canyon were much more ambitious than I thought. Curiously, the article my grandparents sent fails to mention that a Hope Canyon "theme park" was in the works for Arizona.
Check out this archived article (that I found today online) from the Phoenix Business Journal: