Vanguard Films has announced that they have acquired the feature comedy GNOMES!, written by Micah Herman and Kyle Newman. The high concept plot centers on a boy who discovers that the garden gnomes in his backyard are actually alive. When the boy starts to suspect that his mom's new suitor is a gnome-eating troll, the boy enlists the gnomes' help and all sorts of trouble ensues. Herman and Newman are slated to direct the project.
Bungie, creator of the HALO game, has announced that Peter Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh have joined the film adaptation of the game as exec producers. In addition, WETA will be fabricating Covenant weapons, building life-sized Forerunner structures and handling live-action/CG integration for the project. Universals Mary Parent and Scott Stuber are producing.
If Nick Park seems slightly dazed, its understandable almost three weeks of non-stop promotion has taken him to Australia, Toronto and recently New York City on behalf of his new movie, WALLACE AND GROMIT: CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT, which opens in the U.S. Oct. 7, 2005.
Renee Zellweger returns to the horror genre in the English remake of the Hong Kong horror flick, THE EYE, reports the trades. One of Zellwegers early feature film roles was as the female lead in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION, alongside Matthew McConaughey. Paramount is producing the redux via C/W Prods. heads Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner.
The film follows the eerie visions a woman (Zellweger) begins seeing after she regains her sight after a cornea transplant.
Comicbook hero Lucky Luke will ride onto the bigscreen in TOUS A L'OUEST, which will be produced by Xilam, Dargaud-Marina and Lucky Comics, reports VARIETY. Fall 2007 is set for the films release. With a budget of e12 million ($14.4 million), the flick will be directed by Olivier Jean-Marie from a script by him and Jean-Francois Henry.
Loosely based on the comic THE CARAVAN, the feature will follow cowboy Luke and his talking horse Jolly Jumper as they pit themselves against their long-time enemies the hapless Dalton brothers in 19th century America.
Fox Animation has hired Matthew Weiss to pen an feature script based on the Emily the Strange character created by Rob Reger, reports VARIETY. The live-action feature will contain some animation.
IMAX Corp. and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that HAPPY FEET, the animated musical comedy about a tap-dancing Emperor Penguin and his adventures in the Antarctic, will be released domestically in IMAX 3D simultaneous with the film's 2D premiere in conventional theaters on Nov. 17, 2006. The film is directed by George Miller (the BABE films and the MAD MAX trilogy), with an all-star ensemble cast, featuring the voices of Nicole Kidman, Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman and Brittany Murphy.
NewTek Inc. announced that Zoic Studios relied on the award-winning LightWave 3D as a key tool in producing visual effects shots for Universal Pictures SERENITY, directed by Joss Whedon film. Zoic produced about 220 shots for the film, and for many of these LightWave was used to model, texture, animate, light and render the 3D elements. Of those assets that were created in other 3D applications, many were subsequently rendered in LightWave.
For the second consecutive week, Buena Vistas FLIGHTPLAN (with vfx Lola Visual Effects and Peerless Camera Co.) led the box office for the weekend ended Oct. 2, 2005, bringing in $14.8M for a total of $45.9M. Debuting in second place was Universals SERENITY (with vfx from Zoic and Rhythm + Hues, among others), with a less than stellar $10.086M. TIM BURTONS CORPSE BRIDE, the stop motion feature with vfx from MPC, fell to third place with $10.033M. The Warner Bros. release now totals $33.1M.
Warner Independent Pictures has tapped HIGHLANDER writer Greg Widen to adapt Kelley Eskridge's sci-fi thriller SOLITAIRE, according to VARIETY. Cherry Road Films co-presidents Kendall Morgan and Bo Hyde will produce.
The story is set in a future world where the software and pharmaceutical industries are about converge and chronicles the tale of a female computer engineer who is wrongly sent to an experimental prison.
Walt Disney Pictures has hired TREMORS scribes Brent Maddock and Steve Wilson to pen an untitled film about the Navy Marine Mammal Program, reports VARIETY. Starring otters, sea lions and dolphins, the film will follow their training for military rescue operations. The project will combine the ideas of two pitches the studio has heard on the subject. Producer Patrick Aiello along with Mayhem Pictures Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray had pitched a live-action film while I AM SAM director Jessie Nelson and children's book author Nina Laden had proposed an animated film. All five will produce.
NARNIA partners Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media will reteam to produce the film adaptation of Katherine Paterson's Newberry Medal-winning children's novel, BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA, reports VARIETY. Gabor Csupo, co-founder of Klasky Csupo, will make his live-action directing debut on the film. Jeff Stockwell is adapting the script. Disney will be co-financier and U.S. distributor with Walden retaining international rights.
With a takeoff of $24.6M, Buena Vistas FLIGHTPLAN, the Jodi Foster airplane thriller (with vfx from Lola Visual Effects and Peerless Camera Co.), withstood TIM BURTONS CORPSE BRIDE for the weekend ended Sept. 25, 2005. However, Warner Bros. should be pleased with the $19.1M tallied by the stop-motion feature as it goes wide throughout North America. CORPSE BRIDE (with vfx by MPC) now has $19.65M. Coming in third place with $9.6M was DreamWorks romantic fantasy, JUST LIKE HEAVEN (with vfx by Big Red Pixel), which now totals $29.8M.
The world premiere of Walt Disney Pictures/Walden Media's THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE will take place Dec. 7 at Londons Royal Albert Hall in the presence of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. Chosen as the prestigious 2005 Royal Film Performance, the premiere is a fundraising event in aid of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. The movie opens Dec. 9 in the U.S.
Universal Pictures has forked over seven figures to Joss Whedon for him to direct his fantasy thriller spec script GONERS, reports VARIETY. Mary Parent and Scott Stuber are set to produce.
"It's the story of a young woman's journey that involves a great deal of horror and some heroics," Whedon said. "It's certainly darker than SERENITY, and there are a lot of left turns along the way. It is something I had in mind for a while, and it just poured out of me when I finished my film."
Paramount has hired Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Auburn to write an adventure version of the legend of St. George and the dragon, according to VARIETY. Red Wagon's Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher are producing. The studio paid high six figures against low seven figures.
The myth chronicles the knight's struggle to save a feudal princess from a fearsome beast. As a twist, the knight will be not chivalrous and the princess not chaste.
With DreamWorks Animation recently announcing its slate of upcoming films, Walt Disney Studios chairman Richard Cook announced Disneys forthcoming films at the Walt Disney Studios Showcase, which offered previews of the studio's slate through 2008 and featured cameo appearances by Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster and Elton John, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The daylong event was held at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland for exhibitors, retailers, merchandisers and other business partners.
Jane Austens classic novel PRIDE & PREJUDICE, one of the greatest and most memorable battles of the sexes ever portrayed in literature, has been enhanced for its latest cinematic release by leading London visual effects house Double Negative.
Jim Carrey is in talks to star in the thriller THE NUMBER 23, directed by Joel Schumacher for New Line, reports VARIETY. Contrafilms Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson will produce. Fernley Phillips penned the script for the film, which is set to start filming in November.
The story follows a man who becomes enraptured by a book that chronicles his life. However, he is plagued with fear when the story ends with a murder.
Writer Michael Seitzman is set to adapt Mary Doria Russell's debut sci-fi/religious novel THE SPARROW for Warner Bros. and Brad Pitt, according to SCI FI WIRE.
"THE SPARROW asks a big question, and it asks a very relevant question," Seitzman said in an interview while promoting his latest film, NORTH COUNTRY. "Can one culture ever reach its hand out to another culture without a built-in arrogance and dynamic that is sure to doom that relationship, regardless of how benign their intentions? And that's what THE SPARROW is about."
Hot off the announcement that MADAGASCAR 2 will hit theaters in 2008, DreamWorks Animation has announced that KUNG FU PANDA will also be released that year, reports VARIETY. The studios still hopes to release two animated films per year at least until 2009. PANDA will star Jack Black as the voice of a lazy panda prophesied to save the Valley of Peace. John Stevenson and Mark Osborne are set to direct with Melissa Cobb producing from a script by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab.
JU-ON director Takashi Shimizu has been attached to direct a screen adaptation of Hitosi Iwaaki's manga PARASYTE, according to ICv2.com. New Line Cinema and the Jim Henson Co. will co-produce the live-action film, which will go into production after Shimizu wrapped on THE GRUDGE 2 for Columbia.
The science fiction thriller chronicles the effects of alien spores that land on Earth and take over human bodies. The 12-volume manga series was one of the first series published by Tokyopop (then known as Mixx Ent.) in the U.S. between 1998 and 2002.
Framestore CFC was honored when Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles (CITY OF GOD) and cinematographer César Charlone brought political thriller THE CONSTANT GARDENER to their London premises. In addition to providing some 35 VFX shots, including the creation of the fire elements for a burning village, Framestore CFC created the film's Digital Intermediate.
The Moving Picture Co. (MPC) has completed more than 750 visual effects shots for WALLACE GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT, the stop-motion animated feature directed by Nick Park and Steve Box. This first feature-length WALLACE & GROMIT outing was created by Aardman Animations with distribution through DreamWorks. The picture was color graded by Max Horton in the MPC DI lab
While DreamWorks romantic fantasy JUST LIKE HEAVEN (with vfx by Big Red Pixel) ruled the box office for the weekend ended Sept. 18, 2005, seducing $16.4M in its debut, TIM BURTONS CORPSE BRIDE (with vfx by MPC) attracted a lively $385,078 in its five-theater bow, good enough for a whopping per-screen average of $77,015.