- “They have five hours to save the World Wide Web before it's too late. They'll have to make every last bit count.”
- ―The film's tagline
Project Zero is a 2000 American animated science fiction action comedy film produced by TjsWorld2011 Entertainment for Paramount Pictures. It was directed and co-written by TjsWorld2011, and produced and co-written by Ntpockets. It was the fourth feature film produced by TW2011 Entertainment. The film tells the story of a team of high school students venturing inside the cyberworld to find an unknown threat and stop it from breaching the barrier of their world.
The film's concept was one its director TjsWorld2011 originally came up with in 1998, while working on his Nickelodeon series Tj's World. He wrote a screenplay that he described was "superimposed" over the technology of the recently-emerged Internet at the time, and took inspiration from earlier films such as Tron (1982) and Akira (1988). Studio mate Ntpockets convinced him to pitch the screenplay to Paramount in January 1999. The film combines Tj's normal two-dimensional computer animation style with three dimensional animation. He recruited the help of the recently-founded visual effects company Blur Studio to create the backgrounds and scenes set inside the cyberworld, as well as various visual effects. John Debney composed the film's main score, and Tj composed several additional electronic pieces inspired by its settings. Production lasted from January until late October 1999. The film was dedicated to Ntpockets' late grandfather Herbert Pockes, who died shortly before the film was completed.
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 and was a box office success, grossing $128.6 million worldwide against its $65 million budget. It was later released on DVD, VHS and LaserDisc on August 8, 2000; it was the last TW2011 film to be released on LaserDisc.
- Matthew Broderick as Jason East
- Kath Soucie as Ashley Seinfeld
- Grey DeLisle as Brenda Axis
- Rob Paulsen as Michael Warburton
- Tara Strong as Amy Garrison
- Jennifer Hale as Mrs. East
- Tom Kane as The Principal
- Samuel L. Jackson as Cyrus Cyrusis
- Ntpockets as Mr. Burnside / Maxx Bargan
- Reese Witherspoon as District Tour Guide
- Jennifer Martin as Disembodied Female
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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. Tj's World had previously existed in the form of two 11-minute shorts that had aired on Nickelodeon’s Oh Yeah! Cartoons showcase series in 1997 and 1998, respectively. In July 1998, shortly before the release of Revolt Squad, Nickelodeon notified Tj after the shorts’ original airings that they had greenlit a full series based on them, and ordered production on it to begin in September with no clear deadline. Tj was enthusiastic about the idea, and thus he and Nt signed with Nickelodeon Animation Studios for co-production of the series with his vanity production company TjsWorld2011 Entertainment not too long after Revolt Squad’s release. 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.”
At almost the same time Tj’s World premiered on Nickelodeon in June 1999, Paramount had released a film adaptation of South Park by Tj’s apparent rivals, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Tj recalled, “It was pretty much the same as the series, which I didn't like too much either. When I came out of the theater, I was thinking about how everyone in Hollywood could copy these guys’ style now that it had been exposed in a wider medium than television.” After that, Tj criticized Paramount for co-financing the South Park film. He recalled, “I threatened to terminate my relationship with Paramount and take the whole Project Zero thing away with me to Universal instead, but I didn't." Shortly after, Tj apologized for his outburst, and agreed to leave his relationship with Paramount intact. He said later, “I told Paramount that I had changed my mind and I would stay with them and finish what I had started. It was really kind of my way of saying to them, ‘You may have planted a bad seed, but I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure it doesn't grow.’”
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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 primary score was composed by John Debney, with additional music composed by TjsWorld2011 himself. He stated that he was able to create his own original compositions to be used alongside Debney's score using the program FruityLoops, and described it as being 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, featuring both Debney and Tj's respective music for the film, 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, Paint World, 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 by Paramount Home Entertainment. It was the last film from TjsWorld2011 Entertainment to be released in the LaserDisc format, before LaserDisc manufacturing was ceased in the fall of 2000. Project Zero was the fifth and second-to-last TW2011 film to have a telecined copy of the film recorded for its home media release; the film was directly recorded from the reel of it that was screened for its Los Angeles premiere on March 14, 2000.
2013 Blu-ray reissue and remasterEdit
In January 2013, TjsWorld2011 announced through his Facebook page that he was doing a "remastering job" of the film. It was later included as an additional setting on the Blu-ray reissue of the film, which was released on April 9, 2013. In a "mini" featurette about the remastering process, Tj explains that he used editing software to minimize shaking on the original converted telecine reel of the film, which had been used for its original home video release. He also explains that he used color correction on many parts of the film to give it "more brighter and clearer" colors, and also "went through the entire audiotrack and fixed some bugs up a bit".
Main article: Project Zero (video game)
A video game based on the film of the same name was released for PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, and Game Boy Color in February 2000, and later ported to PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, and Game Boy Advance in late 2001.