Ice Age is a 2002 American computer-animated comedy film directed by Chris Wedge and co-directed by Carlos Saldanha from a story by Michael J. Wilson. Produced by Blue Sky Studios as its first feature film, it was released by 20th Century Fox on March 15, 2002. The film features the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary. Set during the days of the ice age, the film centers around three main characters - Manny (Romano), a no-nonsense woolly mammoth; Sid (Leguizamo), a loudmouthed ground sloth; and Diego (Leary), a sardonic saber-tooth tiger - who come across a human baby and work together to return it to its tribe. Additionally, the film occasionally follows Scrat, a speechless "saber-toothed squirrel" voiced by Wedge who is perpetually searching for a place in the ground to bury his acorn.
Ice Age was originally intended as a 2D animated movie developed by Fox Animation Studios, but eventually became the first full-length animated movie for the newly-reformed Blue Sky, which had been reshaped from a special FX house to a CG animation studio. Focus shifted from making an action-adventure drama film to a more comedy-oriented one, and several writers, such as Michael Berg and Peter Ackerman, were brought on to bring out a wittier tone.
Upon release, Ice Age was met with mostly positive reviews and was nominated at the 75th Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature, losing to Spirited Away. It was a box office success by grossing over $383 million, starting the Ice Age franchise. It was followed by four sequels, Ice Age: The Meltdown in 2006, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs in 2009, Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012, and Ice Age: Collision Course in 2016.