John Singleton has inked a deal with Paramount Pictures to write and direct an adaptation of Tom Clancys spy thriller, WITHOUT REMORSE, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Troubled former agent and Disney exec Michael Ovitz, who owns the rights to the property, will produce. Ovitz once represented both Singleton and Clancy.
With production starting Jan. 23, 2006, New Line has hired Virginia Madsen to replace Elisabeth Shue in the thriller THE NUMBER 23, which also stars Jim Carrey, reports VARIETY. The film is being directed by Joel Schumacher and also stars Danny Huston and Rhona Mitra. Contrafilms Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson are producing from a screenplay by Fernley Phillips.
The story follows a man who becomes obsessed with a book, featuring the number 23 throughout, which seems to mirror his life, except that it ends with a murder.
German director Michael "Bully" Herbig is planning a 3D animated spoof of German "Heimat" films rural melodramas popular in the years following World War II, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Titled LISSI UND DER WILDE KAISER (LISSI AND THE WILD KAISER), the film is particularly parodying the Austrian SISSI trilogy of the 1950s, which starred Romy Schneider as a teenage princess caught between love and royal responsibilities.
When the final box office results were tabulated for the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend (ended Jan. 16, 2006), GLORY ROAD from Buena Vista nudged past HOODWINKED from The Weinstein Co: $16.92M vs. $16.87M. Nonetheless, the fractured riff on LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD exceeded all expectations as the first 3D-animated feature released in 06, with a record dozen or so to come in a single calendar year.
Walden Media has acquired the rights to the Isabel Allende trilogy featuring young adventurer Alexander Cold, which marked the famed author's first foray into young adult literature. CITY OF THE BEASTS, the first book, will be produced by Barrie Osborne (THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy). David Rothenberg (MODOC) will adapt from Allende's novel and co-produce. The books are published by HarperCollins, which partnered with Walden Media and Walt Disney Pictures on the successful launch of the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA film franchise.
Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon will don the crown of the evil queen in Walt Disney Pictures' ENCHANTED, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The film has Sarandons Queen Narissa banishing a princess-in-waiting (Amy Adams) from a 2D animated world to the live-action world of New York City where the princess actually finds true love with a modern prince (James Marsden). The modern fairy is being directed by Kevin Lima from a script by Bill Kelly.
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.
New York City-based Asterisk produced an animated sequence for the Merchant/Ivory Productions WHITE COUNTESS, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics.
The 40-second sequence occurs about 20 minutes into the film as a young girl stops to look at a shadowbox on the amusement pier. The glass slide in the shadowbox slowly comes to life and elegantly depicts the journey to another town shes been hoping for.
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.
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.
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.
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.