In the early 1970s, the film was initially conceived as a space-themed disaster film. However, the script went through numerous iterations from various screenwriters. Additionally, Disney's effects department used computerized camera technology to create the visual effects. The film was released on December 18, 1979, in the United Kingdom and on December 21, 1979, in the United States. It was the first film from Walt Disney Productions to receive a PG rating. The film received mixed reviews from film critics and was a box office disappointment. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.