The filmmakers hired Industrial Light & Magic to create the Martians using computer animation after their previous plan to use stop motion, supervised by Barry Purves, fell through because of budget limitations. Mars Attacks! was released theatrically by Warner Bros. Pictures in the United States on December 13, 1996 and received mixed reviews from critics.
The film grossed approximately $101 million in box office totals, which was seen as a disappointment. Mars Attacks! was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and earned multiple nominations at the Saturn Awards.