Walt Disney Pictures' new animated feature, MEET THE ROBINSONS, grossed an impressive $7.1 million on just 581 3-D screens to become the largest digital 3-D opening in history for the weekend ended April 1, 2007.
BLADES OF GLORY, the new Paramount ice skating comedy with Will Farrell and Jon Heder (with vfx from Rainmaker), took the gold at the box office with an opening of $33M for the weekend ended April 1, 2007. Disney's latest animated feature, MEET THE ROBINSONS, grabbed the silver, with $25.1M in its debut, including a record $7.1M in digital 3-D. Slipping to third was Warner Bros.' 300, which struck for another $11.4M.
Mike Disa will helm HOODWINKED 2: HOOD VS. EVIL, the CGI animated sequel to the 2006 box office hit HOODWINKED, for the Weinstein Co and Kanbar Ent. The Weinstein Co. will co-produce and co-finance the sequel with Maurice Kanbars CGI animation studio, Kanbar Ent.
Helen Mirren, following up her best actress Oscar for THE QUEEN, has signed on to play Nicolas Cage's mother in NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS, according to the trades. She will be joining fellow cast members Cage, Ed Harris, Jon Voight, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha and Harvey Keitel.
When an ancestor of Ben Gates (Cage) is linked to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Gates must travel the globe to uncover the proof that will clear his family name.
Jon Turtletaub is directing the Walt Disney film, which is being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.
Mark Wahlberg has signed on to star in M. Night Shyamalan's THE HAPPENING for 20th Century Fox. The studio has set the worldwide release for Friday the 13th of June 2008. Wahlberg will play a father who must protect his family during an apocalyptic threat to humanity. Shyamalan wrote the original screenplay, and produces with Sam Mercer and Barry Mendel. Production will begin in Philadelphia in August.
Having left AMERICAN DOG at Disney, Chris Sanders has found a new directing job on DreamWorks Animation's CROOD AWAKENING, which was written by British comedy icon John Cleese and Kirk De Micco (RACING STRIPES). The project was originally set up at Aardman when DreamWorks had a production deal with the U.K. studio.
The plot of the comedy set in the Stone Age is being kept under wraps. A release date for film has not yet been set.
British thespian Ray Winstone, who was recently seen in the Oscar winner THE DEPRATED, has joined the cast of INDIANA JONES 4, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Though the plot is being kept secret, sources told the trade pub that Winstone will play Indy's sidekick. Winstone joins a cast that already includes Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett.
John Cusack has signed on to replace Christian Slater as the title character in Exodus Film Group's feature IGOR. Exodus also announced that WILL & GRACE's Emmy and SAG award winning actor Sean Hayes has also joined the cast as Igor's sidekick Brian The Brain.
"John and Sean are both terrific actors and ideally cast in their roles," said IGOR director, Tony Leondis. "We couldn't be more excited to have them join an already fantastic voice cast."
300 director Zack Snyder is returning to the world of zombies as he teams with Warner Bros. on his original story, ARMY OF THE DEAD, reports VARIETY. Snyder will produce with his wife Deborah via their Cruel & Unusual Films production house. Joby Harold, who wrote Weinstein Co.'s forthcoming AWAKE, will write the screenplay. Cruel's Wesley Coller is set to exec produce.
U.K. distribution firm Metrodome Distribution is set to re-release the 1986 animated feature TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The film will make a two-week run in one theater in London's West End starting May 4, 2007. Metrodome hopes to capitalize on the buzz leading up to the theatrical release of Michael Bay's live-action TRANSFORMERS feature in July. Metrodome will also release a two-disc, remastered widescreen edition of the animated feature on DVD June 4.
AJA Video announced that the KONA 3 video capture card is being used with Apple Final Cut Pro as the editing platform-of-choice for the upcoming 20th Century Fox release ALIEN VS. PREDATOR 2. KONA 3 is AJA's top-of-the-line uncompressed capture card for SD, HD and Dual Link 4:4:4 HD for PCI Express (PCIe) Apple G5 Power Macs and Mac Pro systems, and was an integral part of the film's Apple Final Cut Pro editing pipeline.
The CG-animated debut of the Turtles halted 300's box office reign, as TMNT (animated by Imagi) delivered $24.2M in its debut for Warner Bros. for the period ended March 25, 2007. However, Warner Bros.' 300 still powered its way to second place with $19.8M. With vfx from Hybride, Animal Logic, Hydraulx, Scanline VFX, Buzz Images, Meteor Studios, WB Internal, Pixel Magic, Screaming Death Monkey and Lola Visual Effects, 300 now has accumulated $161.7M in three weeks.
Paramount Pictures has tapped THE PRESTIGE scribe Jonathan Nolan to pen Steven Spielberg's wormhole epic, INTERSTELLAR, reports VARIETY. The "traveling to other dimensions" tale will be based around a scientific theory by Kip S. Thorne. The Caltech physicist and relativity expert hypothesizes that wormholes are the key to time travel.
SKY HIGH actor Michael Angarano is in talks to join Jackie Chan and Jet Li in their untitled J&J project, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Rob Minkoff will direct with Casey Silver producing.
Angarano is set to take the lead as a disgruntled 17-year-old wannabe kung fu trainee, who after being beaten up by a street gang, is transported to ancient China where he must free the Monkey King (Li) and locate his all-powerful staff. John Fusco penned the screenplay.
Production is set to start in early May in China.
Feature film rights to the immensely popular GEARS OF WAR videogame from Microsoft and Epic Games (which recently took the game of the year award at GDC) have gone to New Line Cinema, reports VARIETY.
Stuart Beattie (COLLATERAL and 3:10 TO YUMA) is scripting and earned the gig based on a 21-page treatment. Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey are producing.
VIZ Pictures has announced the special North American theatrical screenings of PING PONG, the comedic sports film by director Fumihiko Sori.
Jet Li is in talks to play the title villain in The Mummy 3 for Universal Pictures, reports the trades. XXX director Rob Cohen is helming. The plot details are being kept on the QT, but it is known that the story is set in China and will involve the famous terra-cotta warriors, which were created to guard over the tomb of an emperor.
Stephen Sommers, director of the first two MUMMY films, along with Bob Ducsay, Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks, will produce. Jeff Kirschenbaum and Erik Baiers shepherding for the studio.
Gabrielle Union, Ed Helms and Elizabeth Banks have been added to the cast of Eddie Murphy's upcoming comedy/adventure, STARSHIP DAVE, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The film is being produced by 20th Century Fox and directed by Brian Robbins, who helmed Murphy's NORBIT.
Union and Helms will be crewmembers aboard the human-shaped ship while Banks is Murphy's love interest -- a hip, urban artist. Union will be the chief cultural officer and Helms is the snooty second-in-command.
An all-star cast headed by Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer and John C. Reilly are providing voice work in Shane Acker's animated sci-fi, fairy tale, 9. Adapted from his Academy Award nominated short, the 3D-animated feature is currently in production at Attitude Studio and LuxAnimation in Luxembourg for Focus Features.
300 added another $2.7M to its record-breaking IMAX gross of $9.1M in its second weekend from 62 domestic IMAX screens.
"The overwhelmingly positive moviegoer response to 300 in IMAX's immersive format is contributing to the overall success of the film," said Dan Fellman, president of Domestic Distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures. "We are very pleased with the film's performance and look forward to its continued success in both conventional and IMAX theaters in the coming weeks."
Toho has announced that in summer 2008 it will release Hayao Miyazaki's latest feature, GAKE NO UE NO PONYO (PONYO ON A CLIFF). Studio Ghibli is of course producing.
The follow-up to his $169 million worldwide grosser HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE will follows Ponyo, a goldfish princess that wants to become human. Miyazaki will also write the original story. A five-year-boy, who befriends Ponyo in the story, is based on his grandson, who is the son of Goro Miyazaki, the director the animated feature TALES FROM EARTHSEA.
THE GREEN HORNET has landed at Columbia Pictures, VARIETY reports. The project has been making the rounds for years in development at various studios. Neal H. Moritz's Original Film will take the latest stab at production the feature adaptation.
Beginning in 1936 as a radio serial from LONE RANGER creators Fran Striker and George Trendle, THE GREEN HORNET chronicles the escapades of millionaire publisher Brit Reid, who dons a mask and works as a crimefighter at night. The character eventually made the jump to comicbooks, film and TV.
Angelina Jolie has been hired to star in Universal Pictures' bigscreen adaptation of the graphic novel, WANTED, reports VARIETY. James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman have already signed on and NIGHT WATCH director Timur Bekmambetov will helm.
McAvoy (LAST KING OF SCOTLAND) plays a young man who soon after learning his dad is an assassin, discovers that his father has been murdered. Jolie will take on the role of an assassin who educates the youth man in the ways of an assassin.
Shochiku has secured worldwide rights to CG feature VEXILLE, the latest film from APPLESEED director Fumihiko Sori, reports VARIETY. Shochiku will release the film in late summer 2007 via its own theater chain.
In a closed off Japanese society in 2066, the country develops weapons, which spurs the U.S. to spend in a special forces unit, led by female commander Vexille, to discover Japan's secrets.
The $10 million film features the voices of Meisa Kuroki, Yasuko Matsuyuki and Shosuke Tanihara.
Michael Bay is joining his TRANSFORMER writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci on the adaptation of Whitley Strieber's forthcoming book, 2012, reports the trades. Warner Bros. is the studio behind the project and Kurtzman and Orci will also produce. In the book, a researcher travels to a parallel universe to meet his double in an effort to stop an apocalypse predicted by the ancient Mayans.