Hugh Jackman (X-MEN: THE LAST STAND) has agreed to star with Nicole Kidman in writer/director Baz Luhrmann's as yet untitled epic.
The Weinstein Co. has sold most of the world on Exodus Film Groups CG-animated feature comedy IGOR, following Cannes.
Key territorial sales include the U.K. to Momentum, in France to TF1, in Germany and Switzerland to Constantine, in Spain to Aurum, in Russia to West Film Group, in Eastern Europe to EEAP, in Benelux to RCV, in Brazil to Europa, in the Middle East to Italia, in Portugal to Lusomundo, in South Korea to Jung-A Ent., in Turkey to Film Pop and in Taiwan to Applause.
The Weinstein Co. is in final talks on a three-picture deal with MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA star Ziyi Zhang, which includes a live-action version of MULAN, VARIETY reports. The second film in the deal would be a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 classic, THE SEVEN SAMURAI.
Lionsgate has dropped the development on a live-action feature film version of Marvel Comics' BLACK WIDOW, reports IGN FILMFORCE. Insiders say the studio balked on the project after poor box office results for other recent female-driven action films like ULTRAVIOLET and AEON FLUX.
Writer/director David Hayter said, "Marvel and I then spoke to a few other financing entities, but I never felt comfortable that we had found a place that was willing to take the movie, and the character, seriously."
Paramount Pictures has optioned the pitch ODD TODD, based on the Webtoon created by Todd Rosenberg, according to VARIETY. Jonathan Kesselman (THE HEBREW HAMMER) is attached to direct.
Rosenberg independently produced the Web series and later adapted it for Comedy Central's broadband website. He will write the screenplay, which will follow the title character as he locks himself out of his apartment on the very day his unemployment checks run out.
ODD TODD will be among the first films developed by the Comedy Central Films banner. Mike Karz will produce.
Warner Bros. has acquired the animated family script, AARDVARK ART'S ARK, from Casey Affleck, who is set will exec produce, reports VARIETY. The story centers on the adventures of an animal family aboard Noah's Ark. Afflecks previous screenwriting credit was with Matt Damon on Gus Van Sants GERRY.
Universals romantic comedy, THE BREAK-UP, debuted at $39.1M, good enough to upend Foxs X-MEN: THE LAST STAND from the top spot at the box office for the weekend ended June 4, 2006. After its record Memorial opening, THE LAST STAND (with vfx from Cinesite, Framestore CFC, MPC and Weta Digital, among others) dropped to second place with $34M and a cume of $175.3M. DreamWorks animated comedy, OVER THE HEDGE, held the third spot with $20.6M and a cume of $112.3M.
Dimension Films has announced that they will make a new HALLOWEEN movie with Rob Zombie (THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES) writing, directing and serving as a producer. Malek Akkad of Trancas Intl Films (HALLOWEEN H20: 20 YEARS LATER) will produce along with Andy Gould of Vision Ent. Group (THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES). Zombie will also serve as music supervisor. Miramax Films will co-finance the development with Dimension Films.
X-MEN: THE LAST STAND certainly made its mark, debuting with a record breaking Memorial Day holiday gross of $122.8M over the four-day period ended May 29, 2006. The third X-MEN in Foxs Marvel franchise this time directed by Brett Ratner boasts vfx from Cinesite, Framestore CFC, MPC and Weta Digital, among others.
Perhaps encouraged by the record-breaking opening of X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, Warner Bros. Pictures has pushed up the release of SUPERMAN RETURNS to June 28, giving it two more days at the box office before Disneys PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MANS CHEST opens on July 7.
Meanwhile, two animated features have swapped release dates: Warner Bros. has moved up THE ANT BULLY a week to July 28 after Paramount pushed back THE BARNYARD a week to Aug. 4.
Anne McCaffrey's best-selling and long-running sci-fi/fantasy series THE DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN will fly into theaters via Canadian production company Copperheart Ent, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
Copperheart, which produced Chris Landreths 2005 Oscar-winning animated short RYAN, has optioned the 19-book series, which began with DRAGONFLIGHT in 1968.
Ang Lee has pacted with Focus Features to direct LUST, CAUTION, an espionage thriller set in WWII-era Shanghai. Bill Kong, who previously produced Lee's CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, will produce. Focus Features ceo James Schamus will exec produce.
Warner Bros.-based Legendary Pictures will bring Ed Spielmans 1970s TV series, KUNG FU, to the big screen, VARIETY reports. Spielman and Howard Friedlander, a writer on the original series, have penned the screenplay.
Ray Harryhausen will team with Mindfire Ent. on a series of new movies, telefilms, videogames and merchandising under the "Ray Harryhausen Presents" moniker, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The projects will be based on Harryhausens unproduced works.
Several scripts are already in development one set in Greek mythology and the other an alien invasion tale. The first film is set to start production in the fall.
Sony sees a sequel for worldwide hit, THE DA VINCI CODE, in Dan Browns first religious thriller, ANGELS & DEMONS, hiring Akiva Goldsman to adapt, reports VARIETY. DA VINCI made $231.8 million worldwide in its first five days.
The studio hopes to bring DA VINCI producing team of Brian Grazer and John Calley onto the project. Though no deals have been set, director Ron Howard and star Tom Hanks will have a first look at the new film.
Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the North American rights to PERSEPOLIS, an animated feature based on Iranian author Marjane Satrapi's autobiolgraphical graphic novels, reports VARIETY. Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud co-wrote and are co-directing the film, which is being co-produced by 2.4.7. Films and France 3 Cinema.
2.4.7. Films Marc-Antoine Robert and Xavier Rigault are producing with Kathleen Kennedy (MUNICH, WAR OF THE WORLDS) exec producing.
Capturing $77M, THE DA VINCI CODE exceeded low expectations and overcame negative reviews during its opening weekend ended May 21, 2006. In fact, the controversial blockbuster from Sony Pictures (with vfx from MPC and Rainmaker UK, among others) collected an exceptional opening worldwide gross of $238.1, according to the studio, second only to STAR WARS: EPISODE III. Sony is even contemplating making Dan Browns literary prequel, ANGELS AND DEMONS, into a movie.
Double Negative (UNITED 93, HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE and BATMAN BEGINS) was selected to create a number of sequences to enhance THE DA VINCI CODE, which opened to smash business for the weekend period ended May 21, 2006.
Frank Spotnitz, the man behind much of the mythology of THE X-FILES, has been hired to help write the next movie based on the hit series, reports SCI FI WIRE.
Long in development, the second X-FILES film has mainly been held up by legal matters between series creator Chris Carter and 20th Century Fox. "David, Gillian and I, and even Chris Carter, all have deals in place, and once the legal issues are over with, we will go on with it," Spotnitz said. "I'm hoping it will get resolved soon."
Warner Bros. has snatched up the German rights to anime feature BRAVE STORY, helmed by Koichi Chigira, VARIETY reports. Fuji TV and Gonzo Digimation produced the film, which is being representing internationally by Pony Canyon. Warner Bros. is already the films distributor in Japan and has the first option in various other regions. Budgeted at 1 billion yen ($9 million), the film is based on a manga by Miyuki Miyabe about a boy who lives in a world called Vision.
IDT Ent. has announced the start of production on a new CG-animated feature film, titled SHEEPISH. The film, in production at the companys West Coast headquarters in Burbank, is a comic twist on the old saying beware of wolves in sheeps clothing. Animation will be done at IDT Ent.s studio in Toronto.
Dimension Films has announced that GRIND HOUSE, the highly-anticipated collaboration from directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, will be released in theaters Easter weekend, 2007.
"The Easter holiday was a record-breaking weekend for Dimension this year with SCARY MOVIE 4, and we are confident that GRIND HOUSE will do extremely well in this slot," said Bob Weinstein, co-chairman of Dimension Films.
HP technology helped DreamWorks Animation SKG create the 3D-animated feature, OVER THE HEDGE, which was released today in U.S. theaters and is showing at the 59th Cannes International Film Festival.
HP, which is DreamWorks Animation's preferred technology provider, delivered servers, workstations and HP Halo collaboration studios to meet the demanding business and production needs required to create the new animated comedy.
NaturalMotion Ltd. announced that its award-winning endorphin software was used by Giant Killer Robots to create several character animation sequences for POSEIDON. endorphins ability to quickly and easily generate realistic animation allowed the teams to create very demanding and destructive shots that would have been near impossible to achieve using traditional tools.
Guillermo del Toro (HELLBOY) and Alfonso Cuaron (HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN) have been hired by Warner Bros. to make an adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1973 book, THE WITCHES, reports VARIETY. Del Toro will write and direct with Cuaron producing via his New York-based company Esperanto.
In regards to Nicolas Roegs 1989 adaptation, Del Toro said, "The Roeg film is a brilliant movie but certain aspects are a departure from Dahl's original. Dahl had the brilliance of writing children's stories, which shocked adults.