10 Things You Didn’t Know about Anastasia

The animated epic musical alternative history film ‘Anastasia’ was released on November 14, 1997.  It was directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman who were both former Walt Disney Animation Studios directors. The film was produced by Fox Animation Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. At the time of its release, there was a lot of hype surrounding this animation as there were many big stars attached to the project. ‘Anastasia’ is now celebrating the 20th anniversary of its release. In honor of this, here are ten things you probably didn’t know about ‘Anastasia’.

  1. It is well-known that Meg Ryan voices the main character in this film. However, she took some persuading to accept the job. She had just finished filming ‘Sleeping in Seattle’ and was dubious about getting involved with Anastasia due to the dark nature of some aspects of the storyline. The producers persuaded her by taking a clip of her acting in ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ and transforming it into an animation.
  2. The movie faced criticism from historians as it is not factually accurate and gives an alternative story of what happened to Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia.
  3. ‘Anastasia’ was a commercial success. It was made on a budget of $50 million and grossed $139 million at the worldwide box office.
  4. The musical score for this movie was written by David Newman. He has a career that spans 40 years and has composed music for many films. These include ‘Throw Momma from the Train’, ‘Frankenweenie’, ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’, ‘The Spy Next Door’, and ‘Touch of Evil’.
  5. The screenplay for the film was co-written by Susan Gauthier, Bruce Graham, Bob Tzudiker, and Noni White.
  6. Although many people know that Meg Ryan and John Cusack provide the voices of the lead characters in this movie, not everyone can identify many other voices in the films. Just some of the people who provide voices for the characters in ‘Anastasia’ include Kelsey Grammer, Hank Azaria, Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters, Christopher Lloyd, and Kirsten Dunst.
  7. There was a huge marketing campaign in preparation for the release of this movie. Some of the promotional sponsors included Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the 1997 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Burger King, Shell Oil, Hershey, Dole Food Company, and Chesebrough-Ponds. The total cost of the marketing campaign was $50 million.
  8. ‘Anastasia’ was released just a week after the Disney movie ‘The Little Mermaid’. Disney was not pleased about this, but they got their revenge. They refused to advertise the film on ‘The Wonderful World of Disney’ which was aired on ABC. They also banned corporate sponsors from airing clips of the film.
  9. Liz Callaway is the singing voice of Anastasia. Callaway originally recorded some of the demo songs as she was hoping to get chosen to sing background vocals. However, the songwriters liked her voice and used her as the lead vocal for the film.
  10. The animators had the character, Rasputin, fall through an iced river. This was a nod to how the real Rasputin was wrapped in cloth before being thrown into a river when he died in 1916.

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