Another R-rated comedy found its way to the top of the box office chart in its debut Universals THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN grossed $21.4M for the weekend ended Aug. 21, 2005. DreamWorks RED EYE, the Wes Craven airplane thriller (with vfx by Digital Dream), bowed in second with $16.1M.
Sahara Percept is set to make a major theatrical push for Silvertoons 2D animated feature, HANUMAN, reports ANIMATION 'XPRESS.
Sahara Motion Pictures coo Sandeep Bhargava said, "We are treating the 2D animated feature Hanuman as a mainstream release and will be giving it a full push on our part. We hope that the movie will be appreciated. For HANUMAN, we have a slew of marketing innovations and ground activities planned across the country. We also plan to develop and market merchandise around the movie.
Angelina Jolie will star as the queen of darkness in BEOWULF, director Robert Zemeckis latest feature that will rely on the same performance capture technique at Sony Pictures Imageworks (Imagemotion) used on THE POLAR EXPRESS and next summers MONSTER HOUSE, reports VARIETY.
Distribution may wind up at Paramount domestically and Warner Bros. internationally.
Jolie will play the queen that tempts the Viking that would be king. Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Brendan Gleeson, Robin Wright Penn and John Malkovich.
The 30th Toronto International Film Festival will be host to the battle of the stop-motion features as both DreamWorks and Aardman Animations WALLACE & GROMIT - THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT and Warner Bros. THE CORPSE BRIDE will be making their North American debuts at the event.
Directed by Nick Park, original creator of the Academy Award-winning clay-animated shorts, and Steve Box, THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT, stars the voices of Peter Sallis (who has voiced the role of Wallace in all of the shorts), Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter.
IMAX Corp. and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that BATMAN BEGINS: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE is now IMAX's highest grossing digitally re-mastered 2D release, reaching the milestone in less than nine weeks. With total grosses of $14.5 million on 72 worldwide IMAX screens, it eclipses the record set by THE MATRIX RELOADED: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE, which grossed a little more than $14 million in 22 weeks. For the three-day period from Aug. 12 to Aug.
Nicole Kidman is set to star in a sci-fi thriller, INVASION, for Warner Bros. Joel Silver is producing through Silver Pictures, reports DAILY VARIETY. Silver chose Oliver Hirschbiegel, the German helmer of DOWNFALL, to direct INVASION as his first English-language studio feature.
David Kajganich penned the script about a behavior-changing epidemic that decimates the human race. Kidman will play a D.C. psychiatrist who figures out that extraterrestrials are behind the invasion and battles to protect her son, who may hold the key to stopping the takeover.
Warner Bros. Pictures is set to bring to life Frank Millers ancient Greece-set graphic novel, 300, into a feature film, according to VARIETY. Zack Snyder (DAWN OF THE DEAD remake) will direct and Atmosphere Pictures MM and Hollywood Gang Prods. are producing. Gerard Butler (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) will star. Filming will begin Oct. 17 in Montreal.
The true story follows 300 elite Spartan fighters who, led by King Leonidas (Butler), fought to the death against King Xerxes' overpowering Persian army during the battle of Thermopylae in 481-480 B.C.
Universal and THE BOURNE SUPREMACY director Paul Greengrass will make 9/11 inspired feature, FLIGHT 93 with production set to start October 1, according to VARIETY. Working Title Films partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce.
The $15 million film will run in realtime chronicling the takeoff and hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93 by terrorists. The drama will follow the discovery of the passengers that other planes had been hijacked and crashed into buildings and their decision to take over the plane themselves.
Paramounts action-packed FOUR BROTHERS (with vfx support from Mr. X and Creature Effects) debuted in the top spot for the weekend ended Aug. 14, 2005, with $21.1M. But the slump continued as the top 12 movies were off by 16% from last years numbers. Another newcomer, Universals frightener, THE SKELETON KEY (with vfx from Rhythm + Hues), bowed in second with $16M. Sinking to third was Warner Bros. THE DUKES OF HAZZARD, which managed only $13M for a two-week cume of $57.4M. New Lines WEDDING CRASHERS landed in fourth place with $11.8M and $163.8M to date.
LORD OF THE RINGS actor Karl Urban is in talks to star in PATHFINDER, a Viking epic produced by Phoenix Pictures and director Marcus Nispel (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake), according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. 20th Century Fox will distribute.
The film is a remake of Nils Gaups 1987 Norwegian picture, which Phoenix acquired the rights to in 2001. The original followed Norway's warlike clans around the year 1000 A.D., however the redo script from scribe Laeta Kalogridis (ALEXANDER) moves the action to North America around the same time.
India s first live-action/animation hybrid feature, BHAGMATI THE QUEEN OF FORTUNES, is set for release, reports NewIndPress.com. The work was completed entirely in three years by 120 animators from Z.I.C.A. (Zee Institute of Creative Arts).
Mexicos #2 television network TV Azteca entered the theatrical feature film distribution business with the release of the 3D animated, PIRATES EN EL PACIFICO (PIRATES IN THE PACIFIC), reports VARIETY. TV Azteca partnered with leading exhibitor Cinepolis on the venture and is set to release the film in the U.S. this fall.
Side Effects Software announced that Digital Domain employed Houdini Digital Assets technology to create the vfx for STEALTH, which immerses viewers in a photorealistic experience with jet planes flying at supersonic speeds. In order to develop this effect, Digital Domain created hyperrealistic shots that could only be created in the computer. Therefore, Digital Domain chose Side Effects Software's award-winning Houdini to create more than 650 shots ranging from heat signatures, engine effects, lift condensation and even a two-mile ring of fuel bursting into flame.
Is Arnold Schwarzenegger saying, Ill be back for the WESTWORLD remake? VARIETY reports that Warner Bros.-based producer Jerry Weintraub is moving ahead with the film with THE CELL director Tarsem at the helm. Schwarzenegger was attached to the project before he was elected governor of California. He not involved at this point in the project, but his status could change depending on whether he decides not to run for re-election in January 2007 or loses. Schwarzenegger had not only been attached to star, but also produce.
DreamWorks is in final negotiations to acquire the film rights from Paramount to Tom Clancy's videogame franchise SPLINTER CELL, reports VARIETY. Daniel Pyne (THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE remake) is set to write the screenplay. Michael Ovitz, Clancy's longtime manager, will still produce.
Bill Murray is in talks to reprise his role as the voice of the fat, orange cat for 20th Century Fox's GARFIELD 2, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The original films live-action stars Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love Hewitt have already signed on to return. However, Hewitt's role will be small due to her commitment to the forthcoming CBS series GHOST WHISPERER. Lucy Davis (U.K. version of THE OFFICE) and Billy Connolly (MRS. BROWN) have been added to the cast.
New Line has signed HERBIE: FULLY LOADED director Angela Robinson to a seven-figure deal to co-write and direct the action comedy, GENBOT, reports VARIETY. Robinson and co-writer Alex Kondracke pitched the idea of a young woman who gets involved a secret government operation that turns her into a cyborg to the studio. Robinson will produce from her Pink Thunder production house along with partners Larry Kennar and Lisa Stewart. George Waud and Shanna MacNair are shepherding for New Line.
EMPRESS CHUNG is set to be the first major feature animated entirely in communist North Korea to see a wide release in a capitalist country when it opens in South Korea on Friday, reports REUTERS. It will open in Pyongyang on Aug. 15, the same day the Korean peninsula was freed from Japanese colonial control and was divided into North and South Korea by the Allied forces. The film directed by Nelson Shin will be the first to open jointly in North and South Korea.
"We made it together. We will watch it together. I couldn't be happier," Shin said.
Damien gets a mommy and daddy for Foxs remake of THE OMEN, according to VARIETY. Liev Schreiber (SCREAM series) and Julia Stiles (MONA LISA SMILE) have been hired to play the roles of the anti-christs unknowing parents, who were originally played by Gregory Peck and Lee Remick. John Moore (2004s FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX) will direct the film, which is set to start filming in October. Dan McDermott (SELLING TIME) has adapted the script. In a marketing ploy, THE OMEN 666 will be released on Tuesday, June 6, 2006.
Disney Pictures and Spyglass Ent. are in talks with RACING STRIPES director Frederik Du Chau to direct the live-action adaptation of UNDERDOG, reports VARIETY. The film will combine CG and live-action to make a real dog talk and appears to have superpowers. Spyglass Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber and Jonathan Glickman are producing aside with Jay Polstein.
In helping realize Tim Burtons vision for the Nut Room factory sequence in CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, Framestore CFC delivered photoreal digital, working closely with vfx supervisor Nick Davis. Combining its artistry with footage of both real and animatronic squirrels, Framestore CFC delivered 130 shots for the film, including some 64 featuring CG squirrels.
Warner Bros. big screen adaptation of THE DUKES OF HAZARD debuted in the top spot at the box office for the weekend ended Aug. 7, 2005, revving up $30.6M worth of ticket sales. New Lines WEDDING CRASHERS, last weeks winner, dropped to second place again with $16M for a cume of $143.6M. Warner Bros. CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (with delightful vfx from MPC, Framestore CFC, Cinesite and Digital Domain) dipped to third place with $10.9M for a total of $169.4M.
New Line Cinema is in talks with British director Anand Tucker (SHOPGIRL, HILARY AND JACKIE) to helm THE GOLDEN COMPASS, the feature film adaptation of the first installment of author Philip Pullman's popular HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy, which includes THE GOLDEN COMPASS, THE SUBTLE KNIFE and THE AMBER SPYGLASS. HIS DARK MATERIALS is being produced by Deborah Forte of Scholastic Media, the publisher of the books.
Paramount Pictures announced on Aug. 3, 2005, that its film WAR OF THE WORLDS, starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg, has grossed over $500 million at the worldwide box office, including $218.3 million domestically and $310.7 million worldwide.
The picture has set several box office records for both Paramount and Cruise, including largest opening day, largest single day and largest opening weekend for both star and studio, and has broken several international records. The film is also Cruises biggest hit to date, passing MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: II.
Samuel L. Jackson has been signed to star and co-produce a live-action feature to be adapted from the manga property AFROSAMURAI, created by Takashi Okazaki, according to trade reports.
Japanese animation studio GDH K.K. Gonzo, Fuji TV and Mosaic Media in Los Angeles will produce the flick. Jackson will also provide his voice for the animated TV series due out on Spike TV next year.