Project Zero is a 2000 American animated science fiction action-comedy film produced by TjsWorld2011 Entertainment for Paramount Pictures. It was the fourth feature film from TW2011 Entertainment, as well the studio's first film without the involvement of Pyro R. Productions since 1995's The Hub (Pyro R. served as an executive producer on this film). The film follows an amateur technician (Matthew Broderick) who invents a makeshift gateway to the computer world, but soon 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 director and co-writer TjsWorld2011 in 1998 while working on his Nickelodeon series Tj's World. Producer and co-writer Ntpockets convinced him to pitch their original screenplay for the film to Paramount in January 1999. Production lasted from March to October 1999, with recently-founded visual effects company Blur Studio assisting the studio by creating various cyberworld backgrounds and scenes, as well as various visual effects. John Debney composed the film's score and dabbled in electronic instrumentation to create pieces inspired by its settings. Project Zero was also Mary Kay Bergman's final voice 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 14, 2000, and was released in the United States on March 17, 2000 by Paramount Pictures. It received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its story, style, and effects, and was a box office success, grossing $128.6 million worldwide on its $65 million budget. The film was later released on DVD, VHS and LaserDisc on August 8, 2000; it was the last film from TW2011 Entertainment to be released in the latter format. It was later released on Blu-ray on March 17, 2010, exactly ten years after its original release, and was later reissued on Blu-ray and DVD for its fifteenth anniversary on March 17, 2015, exactly fifteen years after its original release.
Jason (Matthew Broderick) is a struggling 16-year-old inventor and technician who strives to make his late father's vision of a gateway between the physical world and the electronic world a reality.
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- Matthew Broderick as Jason
- Kath Soucie as Ashley
- Grey DeLisle as Brenda
- Rob Paulsen as Michael
- Samuel L. Jackson as Cyrus
- Sam Register as Viro
- Mary Kay Bergman as Mrs. East
- Patrick Warburton as The Principal
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Following the release of TjsWorld2011’s previous film Revolt Squad (1998) through Warner Bros., Tj and Ntpockets began work on Tj’s next television series Tj's World for Nickelodeon in September 1998. During production of the series, Tj frequently took breaks to work on a screenplay revolving around the then-recently emerged technology of the Internet. He recalled, “I was invited to an America Online presentation some years earlier and I was pretty amazed by it. They showed us various websites in the making, and I wanted to write a screenplay involving them, so that's what I did. [...] AOL’s technology had helped me expand my creativity for it in a way, so I had a lot in mind for the script.”
By January 1999, Tj had completed his original screenplay; upon its completion, he presented the first draft to Paramount Pictures, the sister company of Nickelodeon who was also owned by Viacom. Paramount responded by proposing to adapt it into a feature film co-branded under its Nickelodeon Movies label. Tj gladly accepted the film offer, but turned down the Nick branding offer. He recalled, “I wanted it to be a project separate from my Nickelodeon work. I said just because I was working with Nick now didn't necessarily mean I was willing to make movies with them, but not just yet.”
The film was later completed on October 12, 1999.
- Further info: Project Zero: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Project Zero: Original Motion Picture Score
The film's score was composed by John Debney at the supervision of TjsWorld2011 and Ntpockets. Tj stated that he requested and co-developed parts of the score to be inspired by ambient producers such as Aphex Twin, as well as film scores by producers such as Vangelis, Giorgio Moroder, Brad Fiedel and Tangerine Dream.
The film's accompanying soundtrack album was released on CD, cassette and vinyl on February 29, 2000 by Interscope Records. The film's accompanying score album was released on March 14, 2000 by Varèse Sarabande.
- A teaser trailer was released on October 3, 1999, and was shown before films such as Superstar, The Landrums, and Toy Story 2.
- The first theatrical trailer was released on December 4, 1999, and was shown before films such as Bicentennial Man, Stuart Little, and Galaxy Quest.
- The second theatrical trailer was released on January 26, 2000, and was shown before films such as Snow Day, Hanging Up, and Mission to Mars.
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The film grossed $128.6 million worldwide against its $65 million budget, leaving it at number two behind Erin Brockovich on its opening weekend.
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The film was originally released on DVD, VHS, and LaserDisc on August 8, 2000. It was the last film from TW2011 Entertainment to be released in the LaserDisc format, before LD manufacturing was ceased in fall 2000.
Main article: Project Zero (video game)
A video game based on the film of the same name was released for Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, and Microsoft Windows in April 2000, and was later ported to PlayStation 2 and Xbox in May 2001.