Exceeding even the initial record-breaking estimate by $3M, Disneys PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MANS CHEST (with cutting edge vfx by ILM) broke out with an astounding $135.6M over the three-day weekend ended July 9, 2006. This swats SPIDER-MANs $114.8M. Other records smashed include best single and opening day ($55.8M), beating REVENGE OF THE SITHs $50M, and fastest to $100M (two days flat).
Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie will join Jack Black, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Dustin Hoffman and Ian McShane in the cast of the computer-animated comedy, KUNG FU PANDA. The DreamWorks Animation film will reunite Jolie and Black who voiced lead characters together in the 2004 animated comedy, SHARK TALE.
Samuel L. Jackson has leapt on board Regency Enterprises' sci-fi thriller, JUMPER, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Doug Liman is set to direct.
Based on the Steven Gould novel, the tale follows a kid from a broken home who discovers that he has the ability to teleport. As he searches for the man he believes is responsible for the death of his mother, the kid draws the attention of the National Security Agency and another youth with the same abilities.
The Christian media company Good News Holdings is developing a horror film franchise based on the upcoming DUDLEYTOWN series of teen novels by Bodie Ingelvie, VARIETY reports. Good News previously optioned Anne Rice's biblical epic about Jesus.
Good News will team with Illinois-based Bible publisher Tyndale House Publishers on DUDLEYTOWN, which is set in a town that is deserted following a series of disappearances and murders.
IMAX Corp. and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that SUPERMAN RETURNS grossed $108 million at the domestic box office in 4,065 locations over the extended fourth of July weekend, and that SUPERMAN RETURNS: AN IMAX 3-D Experience contributed $6.83 million, representing a record seven-day per-screen average of $89,804. The film shattered every opening week record for an IMAX Hollywood simultaneous release, playing to sell-out crowds and strong audience satisfaction. The film also opened on 11 IMAX screens internationally and will launch on 24 more in coming weeks.
Entertainment and design company Imaginary Forces (IF) recently designed and animated the dynamic title reveal in the TRANSFORMERS teaser trailer. The teaser for the Michael Bay-directed film is online now at the official website, www.transformersmovie.com, and will play in theaters with Disney's PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST beginning July 7.
It has been confirmed that Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards will play the father of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in a cameo role in Disney's PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END, reports THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.
In creating Jack Sparrow, Depp has said he used Richards body language and mannerism for inspiration.
"We're all looking forward to the idea of Keith coming in and doing a cameo," Depp said in London. "You never say it's definite until the guy steps on the set and the camera is rolling. But it's looking very, very good.
During a panel at Charlottes Heroes Convention, BABYLON 5 creator and comicbook writer J. Michael Straczynski slipped the news that David Goyer (BLADE, BATMAN BEGINS) is writing a treatment for a screen adaptation of THOR, reports EMPIRE. Its unknown whether Goyer will be rewriting the draft from Mark Protosevich (POSEIDON) or starting from scratch.
Framestore CFC was the sole London facility to contribute to SUPERMAN RETURNS vfx, and was responsible for the film's climactic sequences.
Realscan 3D, an industry leader in high resolution, high color structured light 3D scanning, announced its involvement on the forthcoming Disney film UNDERDOG (Aug. 3, 2007). Realscan 3D provided the production with animation-ready precision digital doubles of the lead character, Shoeshine, Underdog's alter-ego, and the heads and muzzles of the cast dogs in the film. Realscan also created a digital double of the film's villain, Simon Barsinister, played by Peter Dinklage.
Warner Bros. SUPERMAN RETURNS opened softer than expected but still posted solid Independence numbers in its five-day theatrical bow for the period ended July 2, 2006. Bolstered by vfx from Sony Pictures Imageworks, Rhythm & Hues, Framestore CFC, Rising Sun Pictures, The Orphanage, Frantic Films, among others, the Bryan Singer reboot scored an estimated $84.7M on around 8,200 screens at 4,065 theaters. For the weekend, it earned around $52.6M, which puts it below last years WAR OF THE WORLDS Independence Day start ($64.9M) but ahead of BATMAN BEGINS ($48.7M).
Cindi Rice, co-exec producer of the upcoming animated fantasy film, DRAGONS OF AUTUMN TWILIGHT, said the film will remain true to the book by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, the first in their Dragonlance Chronicles series, reports SCI FI WIRE.
"I'm extremely proud of the creative team I brought together," Rice said. "George Strayton has written a very cool script while staying true to Margaret's and Tracy's vision. Will Meugniot is simply an animation genius, and he's helping us create a very innovative and complex film. It is a joy to work with both of them."
SUPERMAN RETURNS took off with a solid $21M for Warner Bros. on Wednesday, which includes Tuesday night preview showings. For opening days, it ranks 29th on the all-time list, surpassing BATMAN BEGINS ($15.1M, a Warner Bros. benchmark) and eighth for Wednesday openers.
Of that $21M total, SUPERMAN RETURNS collected about $1.2M from 76 IMAX theaters. On Friday, the movie bumps up from 3,915 theaters to 4,065, making it the fourth largest all-time release. Box office information obtained from boxofficemojo.com.
Frantic Films delivered 140 vfx shots for Warner Bros. SUPERMAN RETURNS, its largest project to date. Having previously worked with director Bryan Singer on X2: X-MEN UNITED, Frantic was again enlisted for six major sequences. In the process, the company used its current proprietary software and created new technology.
Lord Prods. Llc. and Strategic Dreamers Llc., in conjunction with JC2 Animated Ent., are in production on the CG animated film titled, THE LEGEND OF SECRET PASS, for which a percentage of its proceeds will go to cancer research. The fully funded film is set for release in 2008.
Set in the American southwest, THE LEGEND OF SECRET PASS will follows the magical clash between the animal and human worlds when a young Native American boy must win the help of the Thunderbirds of Native American folklore to overcome a wicked spirit and ancient evil.
Despite a critical drubbing at Cannes, Richard Kellys SOUTHLAND TALES will be released in the U.S. by Sony Pictures, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The studio, which will also release the film on DVD, has not decided which label at the company the theatrical release will be under.
Due to the success of the animated film HANUMAN, filmmaker Prahlad Patel is developing another mythological movie in 3D animation based on the tales of Lord Krishna, according to Hindu.com. Patel said the full-length feature would focus on Krishnas life and teachings. Production is set to start in September. The script is finished and the producers plan to have the film ready for release in 2007.
New Line Cinema has officially greenlit production on THE GOLDEN COMPASS, the highly anticipated adaptation of the first of author Philip Pullman's bestselling HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy. Production on the $150 million film is scheduled to begin Sept. 4, 2006, in the U.K., with Oscar-nominated writer/director Chris Weitz (ABOUT A BOY, ANTZ) at the helm. Digital Domain reportedly will handle vfx with Oscar nominee Mike Fink (CONSTANTINE, X-MEN, X-2) serving as visual effects supervisor.
At Cine Expo in Amsterdam, 20th Century Fox enticed European exhibitors with its planned X-MEN spinoff WOLVERINE with rumors flying that the studio is setting 2007 as the release year for the film. WOLVERINE star Hugh Jackman confirmed his involvement via video from his native Australia during the Gold Reel Awards luncheon. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER originally reported that film was certainly set for next year, but has since removed mention of 2007 from its Cine Expo piece.
Universal Pictures and Imagine Ent. have bought J. Michael Straczynski's thriller THE CHANGELING, with Ron Howard interested in directing, reports VARIETY. Brian Grazer will produce.
Billed as being based on actual events, the story follows a mother who prays for the return of her kidnapped son. However when her prayers are seemingly answered, she starts to believe the boy who comes back is not her child.
Adam Sandler and his magical Universal Remote were enough to lure viewers away from CARS, as CLICK debuted at the top of the box office chart for the weekend ended June 25, 2006. The Sony/Revolution comedy/fantasy with vfx from Sony Pictures Imageworks grabbed $40M vs. $23.2M for the Disney/Pixar animated feature, which has now collected $156.6M in three weeks. Paramounts NACHO LIBRE dipped to third in its second stead with $12.6M and a cume of $53.2M.
When SUPERMAN RETURNS debuts on IMAX screens June 27 and June 28 with 20 minutes in 3-D, the conversion was achieved with the help of inventor and computer graphics pioneer David M. Geshwind, president of Three Dimensional Media Group Ltd. (3DMG).
The company has licensed two U.S. Patents to enable IMAXs conversion. However, while Superman may be faster than a speeding bullet, time constraints prevented IMAX from converting the entire movie.
Twentieth Century Fox and producers John and Jordan Davis have snatched up the rights to the young adult fantasy book series by Scott Westerfeld, which starts with UGLIES, reports VARIETY.
Futuristic story finds kids labeled "uglies" until they turn 16 and get surgically transformed into the attractive "pretties," who live to the glamorous part of town. A precocious teen is threatened with being denied the procedure unless she spies on a friend who skipped the operation and joined a rebellious group.
Fido Film, one of Scandinavias leading visual effects studios, completed work on FROSTBITEN, Swedens first vampire feature, directed by Anders Banke.
Frostbiten issomething truly unique in the Scandinavian film industry, especially in terms of visual effects, said Janak Thakker, vfx supervisor/lead animator at Fido Film. The project provided us with many exciting challenges ranging from digital face replacements and digital make-up, to full CG creatures