After finding an empty garden at Walt Disney Feature Animation under John Lasseters new leadership, GNOMEO AND JULIET, the pet animated project of Sir Elton John, will restart as a co-production between Disney owned Miramax Films and the musical superstars Rocket Pictures.
ANGER MANAGEMENT director Peter Segal has been attached to helm New Lines adaptation of the DC comic, SHAZAM!, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Segal also will produce along side Michael Ewing via their Callahan Filmworks.
Emily Watson, Ben Chaplin and Alex Etel (MILLIONS) have signed onto THE WATER HORSE, based on the Dick King Smith novel, reports the trades. Jay Russell is set to direct the film, which is scheduled to start filming in early May in Scotland and New Zealand.
The co-production between Walden Media, Beacon Pictures and Revolution Studios chronicles the tale of a lonely boy in Scotland (Etel) who discovers a mysterious egg on the shore of a lake. When the egg hatches, a mythical sea monster of Scottish legend called the water horse" emerges.
Vanguard Animation and IDT Ent. have announced the launch of production of their CG-animated feature film, SPACE CHIMPS, which will be distributed domestically through IDT Ent.s multi-picture deal with Twentieth Century Fox. The comedy follows the galactic misadventures of a hapless descendant of the first chimps in space.
Germany's Stallion Film will adapt notorious Japanese manga WICKED CITY into a live-action English-language film, according to VARIETY. SPAWN director Mark Dippe will helm, co-write and co-produce. Hideyuki Kikuchis bestselling manga was adapted into a cult anime film, which introduced demon tentacle sex into the lexicon.
Johnny Hartmann will also co-adapt the story, which tells the tale of demon beasts from a parallel dimension and the secret resistance that fights to prevent the apocalypse.
Fox/Blue Skys ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN, hailed as the first blockbuster of 2006, cooled off by 50% in its second week, but still managed to lead the box office with $33.8M and a cume of $115.7M for the weekend ended April 9, 2006.
DreamWorks Animation (DWA) announced that they have just acquired the rights to develop and produce the computer-animated feature PUNK FARM, inspired by Jarrett J. Krosoczkas popular childrens book of the same name. The story was developed by producer Kevin Messick and writer Jim Hecht, the latter of whom most recently co-wrote the animated hit ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN.
Universal has caged the rights to the sci-fi comedy pitch ZOO from ELF scribe David Berenbaum, reports VARIETY. Berenbaum developed the pitch from a treatment by Ehren Kruger, who will produce with Daniel Bobker through their Bobker/Kruger company.
The plot is being kept on the down low.
Berenbaums other writing credits include an adaptation of kids' fantasy series THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES, Revolution's upcoming ZOOM'S ACADEMY and Disney's THE HAUNTED MANSION.
Blue Sky Studios exclusively used Angstrom Titan64 SuperBlade rendering servers and Titan64 Creator workstations for ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN. Blue Sky is using the Angstrom Titan64 computers to enable significantly more complex imagery and faster generation of animated features.
New Regency's upcoming sci-fi adventure JUMPER has signed actors Thomas Sturridge (VANITY FAIR), Teresa Palmer (THE GRUDGE 2) and Jamie Bell (BILLY ELLIOT, KING KONG), reports VARIETY. Set to be a trilogy, MR. AND MRS. SMITH director Doug Liman will helm with Lucas Foster and Simon Kinberg producing.
Based on a 1992 novel by Steven Gould, Jim Uhls is rewriting an adaptation by David Goyer.
LAIKA Ent. has secured the film rights for one of the U.K.s bestselling children's novels, HERE BE MONSTERS, by writer/illustrator Alan Snow. LAIKA paid a "significant" six-figure sum to develop it as an animated feature film.
LAIKA ceo Dale Wahl said, "Great animated feature films begin with engaging stories and appealing characters. This book has both, as well as a wonderful sense of humor. It's a great addition to our development and production slate, which currently includes the CG and stop-motion movie CORALINE and the CG film JACK & BEN'S ANIMATED ADVENTURE."
In an unprecedented move for Bollywood, The Percept Picture Co. has greenlit a sequel to its first high-budget animated feature, HANUMAN, reports VARIETY. The company hopes to have the film ready for an October 2007 release.
The original film, which followed the adventures of the Hindu monkey god, remain at the top of the Indian box office for a month and grossed more than 100 million rupees ($2.25 million). The film was budgeted at 80 million rupees ($1.8 million) a record for an Indian animated film.
Peter Dinklage (THE STATION AGENT, ELF) has been cast as the villain in Walt Disney Pictures and Spyglass Ent.s UNDERDOG, reports VARIETY. Live-action rendition of the TV cartoon starts shooting April 10 in Rhode Island with Frederik Du Chau (RACING STRIPES) at the helm.
Dinklage will play Simon Barsinister, an evil scientist who once created a Big Dipper Machine in an effort to steal the world's water supply.
Paramount Pictures has scooped up the film rights to Mark Waldens young-adult novel, H.I.V.E., according to VARIETY. Lynda Obst is set to produce.
Title stands for the Higher Institute of Villainous Education, a school where kids with superior criminal potential are trained to become supervillains.
Bloomsbury U.K. holds the book rights in the U.K. while international publishing rights are up for grabs at this weeks Bologna Book Fair. The deal was brokered by exec Ben Cosgrove, his first since leaving Section Eight to join Paramount.
Surprising theater-goers who went to see ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN with a teaser trailer, Twentieth Century Fox has announced details about the highly-anticipated SIMPSONS MOVIE.
The film will open worldwide in theaters on July 27, 2007. David Silverman, THE SIMPSONS supervising animation director, who also co-helmed Pixars MONSTERS, INC., is directing.
SUPERMAN RETURNS will become the first live-action Hollywood feature to be converted from 2D to IMAX 3-D. IMAX Corp. will use its proprietary 2D to 3-D conversion technology to convert approximately 20 minutes of the film into An IMAX 3-D Experience.
"Releasing select sequences of SUPERMAN RETURNS in IMAX 3-D marks a groundbreaking moment in movies," said Dan Fellman, president of Domestic Distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures. "This film is going to give fans an opportunity to be immersed in a major live-action motion picture like never before."
Adult Swim announced that AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE will make its big screen debut this September.
THE AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE MOVIE FILM FOR THEATRES is an action-adventure epic that tackles the mysterious circumstances that brought Meatwad, Frylock and Master Shake together. An immortal piece of exercise equipment threatens the balance of galactic peace, and it is up to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force to run away from it. Complicating matters, the Plutonians team up with the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past for ultimate control of the deadly device.
Cartoon Network UK is bringing animated shorts back as a way of promoting its TV brand. This seven-figure campaign is Cartoon Networks single largest ever marketing initiative.
From April, in a national campaign negotiated by MediaCom, major kids films at Odeon (Carlton Screen Advertising) and Vue (Pearl and Dean) cinemas will be preceded by six-minute Cartoon Network shorts which will receive an estimated 20 million admissions per year.
ThinkFilm has acquired worldwide rights to FUCK, a doc featuring animation done by Bill Plympton. Directed by Steve Anderson, the film takes an in-depth look at the expletive, featuring appearances by Drew Carey, Billy Connolly, Alanis Morrisette and Ice-T.
ThinkFilm will release the film, which made waves at the South by Southwest film fest, later this year, followed by a run on Showtime.
"Everything about the way we advertise, publicize and even discuss this film requires us to be thoughtful, original and fresh," said Mark Urman, Think's distribution head.
INSIDE MAN, Spike Lees smart heist film, overtook V FOR VENDETTA at the box office for the weekend ended March 26, 2006. The Universal feature debuted with $28.9M compared to Warner Bros. VENDETTA, which dropped 52% in its second week, grabbing $12.3M. With vfx by Cinesite, Double Negative and Baseblack, VENDETTA has now grossed $46.2M. Debuting at number three was Buena Vistas horror-filled STAY ALIVE, which captured $10.7M. Slipping to fourth was Paramounts FAILURE TO LAUNCH (with vfx by Lola Visual Effects), which managed $10.4M for a three-week cume of $63.5M.
John Malkovich has been signed to play a 23rd Century corporate overlord opposite Thomas Jane in Simon Hunter's sci-fier, THE MUTANT CHRONICLES, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
Disney-Pixar's new 3D-animated feature, CARS, will stage its World Premiere on May 26 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. Paul Newman, Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip and others from the film's voice cast will be joined by a host of stars from the racing world and 30,000 guests that are expected to attend the CARS World Premiere, taking place at the same location as that weekend's famous Coca Cola 600 NASCAR race.
U.S. director Vincent Edwards has said he is working on an animated film based on a widely known Indian cartoon hero, reports HINDUSTAN TIMES. The top-secret project will feature several of India's best known Bollywood actors and actresses.
"It's an Indian heritage project that will be acceptable to a global audience without alienating the local viewers," he said.
Edwards, who directed the animated series GODZILLA, THE STARSHIP TROOPERS and SPIDERMAN, said the film would also be turned into a television series by next summer.
IDT Ent. has announced that its changing the title of its first CG feature YANKEE IRVING to EVERYONES HERO. The family comedy, originally directed by the late Christopher Reeve, features a voice cast led by Rob Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Brian Dennehy, Raven-Symone, William H. Macy, Mandy Patinkin, Robert Wagner, Richard Kind, New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, Jake T. Austin, and the late Dana Reeve, one of the films exec producers. The film will be distributed through 20th Century Fox and will open nationwide on Sept. 15, 2006.