Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a 2001 American animated science-fantasy action-adventure film created by Walt Disney Feature Animation, marking the 41st entry in the Disney Animation canon and its first science-fiction film. Written by Tab Murphy, directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, and produced by Don Hahn, the film features an ensemble cast with the voices of Michael J. Fox, Cree Summer, James Garner, Leonard Nimoy, Don Novello, Phil Morris, Claudia Christian, Jacqueline Obradors, Jim Varney (in his final film role), Florence Stanley, John Mahoney, David Ogden Stiers and Corey Burton. Set in 1914, the film tells the story of young linguist Milo Thatch, who gains possession of a sacred book, which he believes will guide him and a crew of mercenaries to the lost city of Atlantis.
Development of the film began after production had finished on The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). Instead of another musical, the production team decided to do an action-adventure film inspired by the works of Jules Verne. Atlantis was notable for adopting the distinctive visual style of comic book creator Mike Mignola. The film made greater use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) than any of Disney's previous traditionally animated features, and it remains one of the few to have been shot in anamorphic format. Linguist Marc Okrand constructed an Atlantean language specifically for use in Atlantis. James Newton Howard provided the film's score. The film was released at a time when audience interest in animated films was shifting away from hand-drawn animation toward films with full CGI.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on June 3, 2001, and went into general release on June 15. The film received mixed reviews from critics. Budgeted at around $90–120 million, Atlantis grossed over $186 million worldwide, $84 million of which was earned in North America; its lackluster box office response was identified as being released in competition with Shrek and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. As a result of this underperformance, Disney quietly cancelled both Team Atlantis, a spin-off television series, and an underwater attraction at its Disneyland theme park. Atlantis was nominated for a number of awards, including seven Annie Awards, and won Best Sound Editing at the 2002 Golden Reel Awards. The film was released on VHS and DVD on January 29, 2002, and on Blu-ray on June 11, 2013. Despite its initial reception, re-evaluation in later years has resulted in Atlantis gaining a cult following and appraisal from critics as a mistreated classic, due in part to Mignola's unique artistic influence. A direct-to-video sequel, Atlantis: Milo's Return, was released in 2003.