Chris Nolans magic thriller, THE PRESTIGE, rose to the top of the box office chart for the weekend ended Oct. 22, 2006, conjuring $14.8M for Buena Vista (with vfx from French-based buf).
Microsofts feature film adaptation of HALO has lost a lot of its sheen with its studios Fox and Universal backing out, reports VARIETY.
Both studios had agreed to co-finance the film, which had a budget growing north of its initial $135 million pricetag. However, the real reason the studios jumped ship was due to their unsuccessful attempt to get Microsoft and the producers to lower their profit participation.
Tim Burtons THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS makes its debut today (Oct. 20, 2006) in a Disney Digital 3-D version in 168 theaters. It began its engagement at Hollywoods El Capitan Theatre yesterday.
The enormously popular stop-motion animated feature from 1993, directed by Henry Selick, is the first movie in industry history to be released exclusively in Digital 3-D, and represents the first time that a 3-D feature has been created from an existing animated classic.
The cat was already out of the bag so to speak at Comic Con last summer, but now The Jim Henson Co. (TJHC) officially confirms it is in development on a full-length feature about the Fraggles, stars of the 1980s television show, FRAGGLE ROCK.
Emmy winner Jeremy Piven (ENTOURAGE) and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE alum Molly Shannon have joined the voice cast of Exodus Film Groups CG-animated feature IGOR. Piven will voice the role of Dr. Schadenfreude, Igors nemesis, with Shannon voicing the role of Eva, a giant, indestructible Monster invented by Igor. They join Steve Buscemi, John Cleese and Christian Slater.
Dimension Films is in final talks with SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION director Frank Darabont to helm his adaptation of Stephen Kings 1985 short story, THE MIST, reports VARIETY. Thomas Jane is in negotiations to star.
King originally granted the rights to the story to Darabont when the filmmaker had a deal at Paramount. Darabont is in talks to regain the script rights from Paramount.
Dimension co-chairman Bob Weinstein and production president Richard Saperstein hope to start filming in the spring.
The debut of Tim Burton's THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS in Disney Digital 3-D on Oct. 20, 2006, comes on the heels of the long run of SUPERMAN RETURNS, which had scenes converted to IMAX 3-D. With word that STAR WARS, enhanced by similar conversion perhaps for next year in honor of the 30th anniversary, this trend gains real momentum.
Along with the recent success of 3D-animated films, from POLAR EXPRESS to OPEN SEASON, 3-D has captured the viewers imagination.
Helena Bonham Carter (THE WINGS OF THE DOVE) will join the cast of SWEENEY TODD, the DreamWorks Studios and Warner Bros. co-production that will star Johnny Depp as The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Tim Burton is set to direct the film based on the award-winning Stephen Sondheim musical.
Carter will play the diabolical Mrs. Lovett who dispenses her victims' bodies in her meat pies and becomes Sweeney's amorous accomplice.
London-based sales firm Odyssey Ent. has obtained worldwide rights to Starz Animation's $45 million CG feature SHEEPISH, reports VARIETY. The film will be released in North America by 20th Century Fox.
Set for release in early 2008, casting is underway with production set to take place in Toronto. Daniel St. Pierre and Kevin Johnson will direct. Starz animation president Janet Healey and chief creative officer Jerry Davis are overseeing the project.
Takashi Shimizu, director of the hit sequel THE GRUDGE 2, exclusively tells VFXWORLD that he used visual effects minimally in order to enhance the haunted house type of scares in the film. While I dont think its a good idea to rely on visual effects too much, I really like using them effectively, the director said. Ever since I was a kid, I have always enjoyed movies with visual effects, and they have given me great inspiration.
NORBIT director Brian Robbins has been tapped to direct Eddie Murphy in STARSHIP DAVE, VARIETY reports. The 20th Century Fox project is in pre-production and will be produced by Deep River Prods. and Guy Walks Into a Bar.
March has been set as the start date for production.
Rogue Pictures has obtained the right to the forthcoming vampire comicbook titled "BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Neill Dela Llana and Ian Gamazon (CAVITE) have been hired to adapt and direct the project. Zoom Ent.s Michael Zoumas and Blatant Pictures Barry Levine are the producers.
In BLOOD, a rash of murders in the New York subway system make citizens believe a serial killer is on the loose, but it turns out the killings are the work of a vampire living under the city since the days it was known as New Amsterdam.
Sonys THE GRUDGE 2 scared up $20.8M in its box office debut for the weekend period ended Oct. 15, 2006. This marks the12th number one hit for the studio, extending its record. Close behind in second place was Martin Scorseses THE DEPARTED (with vfx from The Basement, Lola Visual Effects and Ockhams Razor), which captured $19M for a two-week cume of $56.9M. Universals MAN OF THE YEAR, the political satire starring Robin Williams, debuted in third with $12.2M.
MAXON's CINEMA 4D and BodyPaint 3D were called upon by the visual effects and character animation artists at Sony Pictures Imageworks to create the classic cartoon look and feel of OPEN SEASON. MAXON software was used by texture artists, matte painters and look dev artists on every frame of film, from characters to rocks, in this, the first offering from Sony Pictures Animation.
For CHILDREN OF MEN (opening Christmas Day through Universal Pictures), director Alfonso Cuarón approached Framestore CFC to handle the film's most challenging single vfx element: a CG baby, which is first seen actually being delivered.
Columbia Pictures has hired FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS feature helmer Peter Berg to direct TONIGHT, HE COMES, the 10-years in the making superhero flick starring Will Smith, reports VARIETY. Previously, Jonathan Mostow and Gabriele Muccino were set to helm the picture, but left the project over creative differences.
The schedule sees lensing start in May for a summer 2008 release.
Terry Gilliams TIDELAND (opening Oct. 13) is a dark and challenging film that looks at an adult world through the eyes of a child. Based on a novel by Mitch Cullin it follows a young girls innocent view of her difficult life as she is exposed to the traumatic and confusing world around her and explores how Jeliza Rose uses her imagination to escape this chaos. Shot on location in Regina, Canada in limited time, director Gilliams approach was to create an ALICE IN WONDERLAND world in reverse with adults peering through a childs view of their surroundings.
Right on the heels of acquiring worldwide film rights to the hit manga series, LAMENT OF THE LAMB, TOKYOPOP has chosen the property to launch the company's first foray into independent film production.
Created by Kei Toume and originally published in Japan by Gentosha, LAMENT OF THE LAMB follows the physical and mental torment of a man who discovers that he is cursed with a hereditary disease that makes him crave blood.
Stu Levy, TOKYOPOP ceo/cco, is producing the film.
Hollywoods El Capitan Theatre will debut Tim Burton's THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS In Disney Digital 3-D on Oct. 19 with special opening night tricks and treats (including the first-ever display of original puppets from the film).
Monster Distributes launched CAOZï¿½s edgy 3D animated film, ANNA AND THE MOODS at MIPCOM.
ANNA AND THE MOODS is written by Academy Award-nominated Icelandic writer Sjï¿½n on a commission by the Brodsky Quartet. Julian Nott, composer of WALLACE AND GROMIT, sets Sjï¿½n's story to music. The Brodsky Quartet has performed a musical version of the work on live tours in the UK, with Sjï¿½n performing the story. Voices are by Bjork, Damon Albarn, Terry Jones, Sjon and Thorunn Laurusdottir.
Marvel Studios announced that Academy Award-nominee Terrence Howard (HUSTLE & FLOW) has joined the cast of IRON MAN. Howard will take on the role of Jim "Rhodey" Rhodes, Tony Stark aka Iron Man's best friend, in the project slated to launch into theaters May 2, 2008. Previously, Marvel announced that Robert Downey Jr. would be playing the title role and Jon Favreau would be directing.
Kahani World Inc. a Toronto-based independent animation company, and Virgin Comics Llc. have teamed up to co-produce SECRETS OF THE SEVEN SOUNDS, a full length animated feature, inspired by the ancient Indian myth Ramayana.
Martin Scorsese returns to familiar crime turf with THE DEPARTED, which blew away the competition with $26.8M for Warner Bros. in its opening weekend for the period ended Oct. 8, 2006. Thats the directors best opening yet, and he had seamless vfx help from The Basement, Lola Visual Effects and Ockhams Razor, under the supervision of Rob Legato.
Rogue Pictures, Universal-based Focus Features genre division, has inked a three-year first-look deal with Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Forms Platinum Dunes, VARIETY reports. Bay, Fuller and Form will produce horror films, with budgets south of $25 million, for Rogue, which will give the trio as much as 10% of first-dollar gross.
Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies have agreed to co-produce THE GAME OF SUNKEN PLACES, based on M.T. Andersons Scholastic Press book, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The project was pitched to the studios by screenwriter Matt Nix.
The story chronicles two boys as they learn that their housing development is really a gigantic game. The boys must play the game in order to validate human's worth to an alien race.