Foxs BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE 2 debuted in the top spot at the box office with $27.7M for the weekend ended Jan. 29, 2006. Universals new entry, NANNY MCPHEE (with vfx from Framestore CFC), was a distant second with $14.5M. Screen Gems UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION (with Luma Pictures as the lead vfx house), last weeks winner, slipped to third place with $11.4M for a two-week cume of $44.6M. Buena Vistas ANNAPOLIS bowed in fourth with $7.6M. HOODWINKED, the hot 3D-animated indie from The Weinstein Co., dropped to fifth with $7.4M, good enough for a cume of $37.7M.
Robin Williams has joined the star-studded cast of 20th Century Foxs NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The funny man will play Theodore Roosevelt opposite Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Kim Raver, Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dyke and Bill Cobbs.
IMAX Corp. and Warner Bros. Pictures will release V FOR VENDETTA, the action-adventure from the creators of THE MATRIX trilogy, simultaneously to IMAX and conventional theaters on March 17, 2006. Produced by Joel Silver and the Wachowski Brothers, directed by James McTeigue and starring Natalie Portman, V FOR VENDETTA will be digitally re-mastered through IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology. Warner Bros. Pictures will be the exclusive distributor of the film to IMAX theaters worldwide. It features vfx from Cinesite (Europe) and Double Negative.
Screen Gems has hired AMITYVILLE HORROR director Andrew Douglas to turn Min-Woo Hyungs manga PRIEST, published by TOKYOPOP, into a feature film, reports VARIETY. Mitchell Peck, Mike De Luca, Sam Raimi and Josh Donen will produce the film, which is set to start production this summer. Cory Goodman wrote the screenplay.
The tale is a vampire Western that follows a warrior priest who disobeys church law by partnering with a young sheriff and a priestess to hunt down a band of renegade vampires who have kidnapped his niece.
One of the first signs that things will change at Disney under Pixars Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, Lasseter informed Walt Disney Feature Animation employees that TOY STORY 3 would cease production immediately, reports the ASSOCIATED PRESS.
At the Sundance Film Festival, Blur Studio announced that it will develop its 2005 Academy Award-nominated short film GOPHER BROKE into a feature film. The short screened as part of the Animation Spotlight at Sundance. The film went on to win prizes at the Animago Festival in Munich and the Imagina Awards in France.
The film, written and directed by Jeff Fowler, follows an increasingly frustrated gopher as his attempts at snagging a snack from passing vegetable truck ends in what can be described as you get what you wish for.
Picturehouse has purchased the North American rights to HELLBOY director Guillermo del Toro's dark fairy tale PAN'S LABYRINTH for nearly $6 million, reports the trades. Picturehouse president Bob Berney and Wild Bunch's Carole Baraton netted the long-in-the-works deal at Sundance.
Set in fascist, 1940s Spain, the story follows Ofelia, a lonely, dreamy child who tries to come to terms with an era of postwar repression by creating a world filled with mythical creatures. Maribel Verdu, Sergi Lopez, Ivana Baquero and Doug Jones star.
Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert's Ghost House Pictures has netted the film rights to Japanese videogame SIREN from SCE Worldwide Studios, Sony Computer Ent.'s worldwide game development studios for the PlayStation platforms, reports VARIETY. Working closely with the games director Keiichiro Toyama, Michael Gordon (forthcoming 300) will pen the script.
DODGEBALL director Rawson Marshall Thurber has inked a deal to write and direct the big-screen adaptation of MAGNUM P.I. for Universal Pictures, reports the trades. Brian Grazer will produce via his Imagine Ent. company.
Screen Gems UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION (with Luma Pictures as the leading vfx house) led the box office with $26.8M in its opening bow for the weekend ended Jan. 22, 2006. HOODWINKED, the hot 3D-animated indie from The Weinstein Co., followed in second place with $10.4M and a two-week cume of $28.6M. Buena Vistas GLORY ROAD slipped from first to third with $8.76M and $27.7M. Paramounts LAST HOLIDAY was right behind in fourth with $8.71M and $25.9M.
Ron Howard's THE DA VINCI CODE will open the 59th Festival de Cannes on May 17, 2006. Howards films that previously screened as Cannes include WILLOW, FAR AND AWAY and ED TV.
Based on Dan Browns best-selling thriller, the story chronicles the conspiracy developed to cover-up the true meaning of the Holy Grail. Many historians and religious leaders have criticized the book as pure fiction.
Mexican commercial directors Jorge and Javier Aguilera known as Big Brother have been tapped to helm the live-action adaptation of the Japanese anime, KITE, reports VARIETY. Rob Cohen and Anant Singh are producing.
Singh and Brian Cox will produce for Singh's Distant Horizon. Cohen and Marc Pitre will produce for Cohen's Nowita Pictures. Joshua Rubin is penning the script.
Cindy and Donald Hewitt, who penned the English-language adaptations to Hayao Miyazaki's HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE and SPIRITED AWAY, have sold their comedy pitch titled, NONE OF HER BUSINESS, to New Line, reports VARIETY. Mosaic Media Group, the company behind the screen adaptation of videogame GOD OF WAR at Universal, will produce the film.
The story follows a female corporate exec who after getting fired gets her job back by dressing up as a man.
Mandate Pictures have secured the film rights to comicbook series THE GHOULY BOYS, reports the trades. Benderspink, who produced A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, will produce the film.
First published in 2004 by Slave Labor Graphics Publishing, the comic was created, written and illustrated by the artist known as Christopher. The story follows four young monsters a wolf boy, a kid zombie, a young sea monster and a third-generation boogie man who dont fit in with the "normal" kids.
Writer-director Timur Bekmambetov, whose NIGHT WATCH series is a sensation in Russia, has inked a one-year, first-look deal with Rogue Pictures for English-language flicks, reports VARIETY. The second film in his horror/sci-fi series, DAY WATCH, was released on New Years Day and has already become the highest grossing film in Russian history. The first film in the series, NIGHT WATCH, is set to hit theaters in the States Feb. 17, 2006, from Fox Searchlight.
The Weinstein Co. and Kanbar Ent. are teaming on a sequel to their current CG-animated release HOODWINKED, to be called HOOD VS. EVIL, reports VARIETY with confirmation to AWN by the pics writer/director, Cory Edwards.
HOODWINKED finished half a nose behind Disney's GLORY ROAD for the top spot over the four-day holiday weekend box office to take in $16.9 million in its debut.
Bryce Dallas Howard (THE VILLAGE, LADY IN THE WATER) is in final talks with Columbia Pictures to play the role of Peter Parkers doomed love Gwen Stacy in SPIDER-MAN 3, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Stacy is an iconic character in SPIDER-MAN lore being Parkers first love from high school who was killed by the Green Goblin during a bridgetop battle that was quite similar to the battle that occurred in the first SPIDER-MAN film.
Walden Media and the Walt Disney Co. have hired ZATHURA lead Josh Hutcherson as the lead in the film adaptation of BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA, reports VARIETY. The film will begin production later this month in New Zealand.
Klasky Csupos Gabor Csupo will make his live-action directing debut on the film, which is based on Katherine Paterson's famed novel. The story follows a sad boy who befriends an outsider, who together create the world called Terabithia, which is filled with giants, trolls and other magical beings.
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.
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.