Paramount Pictures has tapped SEVEN-helmer David Fincher to direct an adaptation of the graphic novel TORSO, which was written by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko, reports the trades. THE RING scribe Ehren Kruger will write the adaptation, which will be produced by Pandemonium's Bill Mechanic, Angry Films' Don Murphy and comic artist Todd McFarlane.
The Weinstein Co.'s Dimension Films has hooked the domestic distribution rights to PIRANHA, a remake of the 1978 cult classic, VARIETY reports. Chuck Russell will direct in spring. Dimension will handle all English-speaking territories.
Set at Arizona's Lake Havasu, a vacation spot becomes a blood bath when a savage school of piranha swims through a crack in a crater formed by a prehistoric eruption at the bottom of the lake.
Image in Media Inc. (Image) announced that it has signed a $20 million co-production agreement for a 3D animation feature film entitled MONSTER CLUB THE MOVIE with China Film Animation Ltd. and UK-based producer Treehouse Film and Television Ltd. Production is planned to start in Q1 2006 and be completed within 12 months.
Legendary animator Joe Barbera just directed a brand new TOM AND JERRY theatrical short that will make its world television premiere on Cartoon Network Jan. 27, 2006, at 9:00 pm. The seven-minute cartoon, THE KARATEGUARD, produced by Warner Bros. Animation, has already been submitted for a 2006 Academy Award nomination in the animated short film category, and is the 162nd theatrical short in the 66-year career of the Academy Award-winning cat and mouse duo.
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE is now IMAX's highest grossing digitally re-mastered 2-D release. With total grosses of more than $16 million on 89 IMAX screens worldwide, it passes the record set by BATMAN BEGINS: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE, which grossed $15.9 million last year.
Warner Bros. has snatched up the rights to WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, which was in turnaround at Universal, according to VARIETY. Warner wants to put the Spike Jonze-directed, Dave Eggers-written adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's book into production later this year. Playtone's Tom Hanks and Gary GGoetzman will produce with Sendak and John Carls.
Horror ruled the box office once again with the debut of Lionsgates HOSTEL (with vfx by Precinct 13 Ent.), which captured $19.5M for the weekend ended Jan. 8, 2005.
With the popular Russian sci-fi thriller, NIGHT WATCH (NOCHNOI DOZOR), set to platform Feb. 17 in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco from Fox Searchlight Pictures, the second part of the trilogy, DAY WATCH, has just shattered box office records in Moscow. Fox Searchlight will release DAY WATCH theatrically later in 2006. The third part, DAWN WATCH, is currently in pre-production.
DAY WATCH premiered in Moscow on Jan. 1 with the biggest opening day gross ever at $2.1M. The three-day cume was $7.8M. DAY WATCH is now approaching a record $30M.
The final box office numbers for 2005 are in and, not surprisingly, seven of the top 10 finishers were vfx-intensive blockbusters. Foxs STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH led the way with $380.2M. Following in second, third and fourth place were Warner Bros. HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE with $278.6M, Paramounts WAR OF THE WORLDS with $234.2M and Buena Vistas THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE with $232.1M.
DEEP SEA 3-D, the new documentary from IMAX Corp. and Warner Bros. Pictures, will be co-narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winselt and will feature an original score from Danny Elfman (CORPSE BRIDE and CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY). This marks the first doc to boast the actors voices and the first original IMAX production to be scored by the award-winning composer.
Ted Rae will serve as visual effects supervisor on Mel Gibsons APOCALYPTO, the mythic action-adventure set against the turbulent end times of the once great Mayan civilization, now shooting in Mexico and slated for a summer release by Disneys Touchstone Pictures.
Buena Vistas THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA squeaked past Universals KING KONG at the New Years holiday box office ended Jan. 2, 2006. With impressive vfx from Rhythm & Hues, Sony Pictures Imageworks and ILM, NARNIA garnered $33.7M. Meanwhile, KONG (with impressive vfx of its own from Weta Digital) captured $31.8M. Thus, NARNIA has a four-week cume of $225.7M vs. KONGs three-week cume of $174.5M.
One of the seasons top DVD sellers, FANTASTIC FOUR (Fox Home Ent. $29.99) no longer suffers from comparisons to THE INCREDIBLES. Apparently viewers are appreciating the virtues of big screen adaptation of the Marvel Comics first superhero family (with noteworthy vfx from Café FX, Giant Killer Robots, Hydraulx, Kleiser-Walczak Digital Effects, Meteor Studios, Pacific Title & Art Studio, Pixel Magic, SW Digital and Soho VFX).
Bonus features include:* Commentary by: Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis and Ioan Gruffud # 3 * Three deleted scenes
yU + co designed and produced the main-on-end title sequence for Sony Pictures MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, delivering a gorgeous, thought-provoking sequence.
NANNY MCPHEE, the new children's fantasy film, directed by Kirk Jones and starring Emma Thompson and Colin Firth, from a screenplay by Thompson, opens Jan. 27 through Universal Pictures. A team of more than 80 artists and technicians at Framestore CFC in London worked for nine months on the films digital vfx, providing some 150 shots. In addition, Framestore CFC's Digital Lab facility created the film's distinctive Digital Intermediate.
Two Iranian animators are making an animation about the life of the great Persian poet, Hafez, inspired by the miniatures of the Timurid era, the Persian service CHN announced.
Vahid Nasirian and Saadat Rahimzadeh are working on the animation, which narrates the life of Hafez. In the film, Hafez falls in love with a woman, and his life is narrated from early youth to old age. There are no details, reports IRANMANIA, in this 20-minute animation, but it employs a number of his poems to narrate his biography and significant events throughout his life.
Although Universals KING KONG has not yet turned into the holiday juggernaut that most industry observers predicted, it muscled its way past Buena Vistas THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE to retain its box office lead during the four-day holiday weekend ended Dec. 26, 2005.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE will be released spring 2006 in China.
DreamWorks has secured the North American rights to TYPHOON, the most expensive Korean film ever made, reports VARIETY. The budget for the film is listed as $15 million, but it is rumored to have cost several million more.
The multi-language film was produced by South Korean major CJ Ent. The K.T. Kwak directed film follows a modern-day pirate planning a massive attack on North and South Korea.
Kodak Digital Cinema and REAL D announced that the companies have formed a strategic alliance to roll out digital 3-D cinema throughout Australia. Installation of digital 3-D cinema systems will be complete in time for the country's upcoming premiere of Disney's CHICKEN LITTLE in 3-D starting Jan. 1, 2006.
From an inviting ice castle to a thawing waterfall, many of the holiday season's movies were shaped with Autodesk Inc.'s media and entertainment software. Leading post-production facilities, including Sony Pictures Imageworks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and The Orphanage, relied on Autodesk's systems and software to realize their wildest wintry ideas.
Peter Jacksons KING KONG performed well below industry expectations with $50.1M in its initial bow for the weekend ended Dec. 18, 2005. However, with a five-day tally of $66.1M, Universal has high hopes that momentum will build for the $207M epic (with impressive vfx from Weta Digital).
Meanwhile, in its second weekend, Disneys THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE (with impressive vfx of its own from Rhythm & Hues, Sony Pictures Imageworks and ILM) finished second with $31.8M and a cume of $113.1M.
Avid Technology Inc. announced that editing teams from Big Primate Pictures, the production company behind KING KONG, and Weta Digital, the movie's digital effects house, employed an end-to-end Avid post-production workflow to bring to life Peter Jackson's vision of the 1933 movie classic.
THE POLAR EXPRESS: AN IMAX 3-D EXPERIENCE, now in its second holiday season, has reached another box office milestone, surpassing $50 million at the box office since it premiered last November. The digitally re-mastered holiday classic was re-released Nov. 23 in IMAX theaters, simultaneous with its DVD launch, and has continuously been among the top 20-grossing films in North America. In its third weekend, from Dec. 9-11, the film registered an impressive 12th-place ranking on the charts, grossing $931,603 on just 66 screens.
Universal Pictures has acquired Don Winston's supernatural spec script, OUR FAMILY TROUBLES, and will develop the drama under a new name as a starring vehicle for Reese Witherspoon, Variety reported.
Witherspoon and her Type A Films partner Jennifer Simpson are set to produce it. Universal svp Holly Bario will oversee the film.