After KING KONG, Peter Jackson and partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens are eyeing Alice Sebold's bestselling novel, THE LOVELY BONES, reports VARIETY. Closer in tone to Jackson's HEAVENLY CREATURES than LORD OF THE RINGS, BONES tells the story of a deceased 14-year-old girl who looks down from heaven to watch her grieving family and find the person who raped and murdered her.
Independent producer Steve Bing of Shangri-La Ent. has forked over $80 million to co-finance Warner Bros. feature, POLAR EXPRESS, reports VARIETY. Bing will not take a personal producing credit on the film, but the credits will read: "a Castle Rock presentation of a Shangri-La production." Unlike gap financing that must be repaid to an investor, Bing is taking the same financial risk as Warner, who will retain distribution rights worldwide.
David Hayter (X-MEN, X2: X-MEN UNITED) has been hired to rewrite IRON MAN for New Line Cinema, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (TV's SMALLVILLE) wrote the previous draft. The Marvel comic told the story of billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, who creates an armored suit allowing him to fly and shoot repulsor rays. The comic began in the 1960s and brought Iron Man up against the Viet Cong, however the film will take place in a modern setting.
Caught in the tight web of SPIDER-MAN 2, which has been pushed up to June 30, 2004, Paramount Pictures has decided to postpone the release of SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW from June 25 to Sept. 17, which gives the experimental CG adventure more time to find its audience, according to the studio.
Newmarket Films has announced that it will be releasing in theaters a new director's cut of sci-fi cult favorite DONNIE DARKO, reports VARIETY. The new version will include 21 minutes of footage not in the original release and beefed up visual effects. The new cut will debut May 29 at the Seattle Film Festival then roll out in theaters slowly starting in July. The original theatrical release in 2001 only grossed $517,375, but the film has found a cult following on DVD, grossing $10 million.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM) and The Jim Henson Co. have signed a two-year first-look deal to produce live-action feature films. The Henson-MGM deal came together after a successful relationship working together on the hit family comedy GOOD BOY!, a live-action film produced by Jim Henson Pictures, which one of the most profitable releases for MGM in 2003.
Audiences will pay to see an ass-kicking woman seek vengeance as evidenced by the $25.1M opening box office turned in by Miramaxs KILL BILL VOL. 2 to take the number one spot and best the October 2003 $22.1M opening of KILL BILL, VOL. 1. BILL 2, with vfx by K.NM.B. EFX Group, easily knocked out the competition from Marvel Studios and Lions Gates THE PUNISHER, which debuted in second place with $13.8M.
After a long series of cast announcements featuring an all-star group of actors in the CGI indie fantasy DELGO, the title role has finally been announced with Freddie Prinze, Jr. as the voice of Delgo.
Section 8 and A Thousand Words have hired Bob Sabiston as the animation director on Richard Linklater's adaptation of Philip K. Dick's sci-fi novel A SCANNER DARKLY. Sabiston also served as the animation director on Linklater's WAKING LIFE. The animator has directed such shorts as SNACK AND DRINK and ROADHEAD.
John Malkovich has been added to the cast of THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, Disney's adaptation of the Douglas Adams novel, reported THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Malkovich is set to play religious cult leader Humma Kavula, a character created by Adams exclusively for the long-in-the-making film production. The film is set to start shooting this month in London, with former commercials director Garth Jennings helming.
MONTY PYTHON member John Cleese and LEGEND's devilish actor Tim Curry have joined the voice cast of Vanguard Animation's CG feature VALIANT, reported THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Cleese will play an Allied pigeon, trapped behind enemy lines. Curry will lend his voice to one of the baddies on the Falcon Brigade.
Artbeats, an industry leader in royalty-free stock footage for film, video and multimedia professionals, today announced it would release its new Ultra collections at the 2004 National Assn. of Broadcasters Convention (NAB). Featuring captivating slow motion imagery, Artbeats' Ultra collections offer an entirely new perspective to fire, water and motion, and provide some of the most unique royalty-free footage available at this year's NAB.
JOE BLOW, the latest Vinton Studios short film, directed and conceived by Emmy Award-winning director Mark Gustafson, bows at Landmark Theatres starting April 16, 2004 in New York City and LA with wider distribution to follow. The short film will run prior to the steamy drama YOUNG ADAM, starring Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton.
In a story that will never die, Morgan Creek has announced that it will release both the Paul Schrader and Renny Harlin versions of its EXORCIST prequel on DVD, reported VARIETY. Schrader was the original director on the project, but his version was not the fright fest Morgan Creek was looking for. The production house then hired Renny Harlin to punch up the film, which led to an almost entire re-shoot of the film with a revamped screenplay.
The Orphanage has been tapped to finish more than 45 vfx shot on Fox's THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW before it hits theaters May 28, 2004. Orphanage visual effects supervisor Remo Balcells and visual effects producer Jody Echegaray will oversee a team of 60 effects wizards, creating digital environments, character animation and particle simulations. Marc Sadeghi will serve as exec producer for Orphanage. Digital Domain and ILM are the chief fx shops on the film.
VFXWorld has confirmed that the Pink Panther will be sporting a brand new 3D animated look for the main title sequence of the upcoming live-action PINK PANTHER feature starring Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau. London-based Nexus Prods. (which produced the highly touted CATCH ME IF YOU CAN main titles) will be doing the animation honors.
In a recent interview with AWN, David DePatie, co-creator and co-copyright owner of the animated Pink Panther character, expressed concern about early CGI tests, suggesting that they made the Panther "look too round and kind of chubby."
Warner Bros. has announced that HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE will be released in theaters Nov. 18, 2005, reported Zap2It.com. However, VFXWorld has learn from WB that the production team was not set a firm date for the film's release. Directed by Mike Newell (FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL), the fourth film in the popular series will go into production later this year. Unlike the other POTTER films that begin with Harry at his aunt and uncle Dursley's house, this film will kick off with Harry and friends attending the International Quidditch Cup.
Sir Paul McCartney would someday like to make a traditional Disney-like animated feature and is currently developing a story that he first wants to publish as a children's book. In fact, he told journalists, including REUTERS, that it's been his ambition since he was a Beatle back in the '60s. As part of a baby step toward achieving that goal, McCartney has produced PAUL MCCARTNEY: THE MUSIC AND ANIMATION COLLECTION, a DVD to be released through Miramax Home Ent. on April 13. The DVD contains three animated musical shorts made in collaboration with director Geoff Dunbar.
In its seventh week in release, Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST jumped back to number one with $15.2M, thanks to the Easter holiday weekend ended April 11, 2004. So far, the biblical epic (with vfx by Keith Vanderlaan's Captive Audience) has racked up a phenomenal $353M to place eighth on the all-time list.
Robert Rodriguez's recently resignation from the DGA has thrown a wrench into Paramount's development of sci-fi epic, A PRINCESS OF MARS, which was to be Rodriguez follow-up to his current project SIN CITY, reports VARIETY. Because Paramount is a DGA signatory thus required to employ only guild directors. Rodriguez resigned from the guild so he could sidestep co-directing rules on SIN CITY, which will be co-directed by the graphic novel's creator Frank Miller and guest directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Lucasfilm has announced that STAR WARS: EPISODE III will be released to theaters in the U.S. and Canada on Thursday, May 19, 2005. The release will be nearly simultaneous around the globe. In Japan, the film will be released in July, the month in which all previous STAR WARS premiered.
BARBERSHOP director Tim Story has signed on to direct 20th Century Fox and Marvel's FANTASTIC FOUR, reports LATINO REVIEW. It has been rumored that THE SHIELD star Michael Chiklis is being eye for the Benjamin Grimm/The Thing role and Tim Robbins may play Dr. Doom. George Clooney has long been rumored to be the top choice to play Four leader Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic.