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 Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
(2004) on IMDb

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

Poster/DVD for Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
Poster/DVD for Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a 2004 American science fiction actionadventure film written and directed by Kerry Conran in his directorial debut, and produced by Jon AvnetSadie FrostJude Law and Marsha Oglesby. The film stars Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. It is an example of “Ottensian” (pre-WWII) dieselpunk.

Conran spent four years making a black and white teaser with a bluescreen set up in his living room and using a Macintosh IIci. He was able to show it to Avnet, who was so impressed that he spent two years working with him on his screenplay. No major studio was interested in Sky Captain, but Avnet convinced Aurelio De Laurentiis to finance Sky Captain without a distribution deal.

Almost 100 digital artists, modelers, animators and compositors created the multi-layered 2D and 3D backgrounds for the live-action footage while the entire movie was sketched out via hand-drawn storyboards and then re-created as CG animatics. Ten months before Conran made it, he shot it entirely with stand-ins in Los Angeles and then created it in animatics so the actors could envision it.

Despite being a box office bomb, generating $58 million for a $70 million budget, Sky Captain received largely positive reviews, and is regarded as a cult classic. It is notable as one of the first major films, along with Casshern (2004) and Immortal, and Sin City (2005), to be shot entirely on a “digital backlot“, blending actors with CG surroundings.

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