Hot off its deal with Nickelodeon, Worldwide Biggies Inc. has entered into an agreement with Ilion Animation Studios to produce the studios first CG theatrical release entitled PLANET ONE. Albie Hecht, the ceo of Worldwide Biggies Inc., and Ilion have signed the Oscar-nominated writer of SHREK and SHREK 2, Joe Stillman, to pen the script. Ilion Animations Studios is the theatrical animation company started by the founders of Pyro Studios, best known as the creators of the international hit videogame series COMMANDOS.
Walden Media, Beacon Pictures, Revolution Studios and Ecosse Films have teamed to produce a feature based on children's fantasy novel THE WATER HORSE, by British author Dick King-Smith. Weta Digital and Weta Workshop have been tapped to handle the visual effects.
Robert Nelson Jacobs will write the script and Jay Russell will direct. Production is set to start in May in New Zealand.
The book follows a lonely boy in Scotland who finds a mysterious egg from which hatches a "water horse" a mythical sea monster of Scottish legend.
Warner Bros. Pictures has tapped writer Rob Lieber to script the first CG-animated feature based on the popular kids website NeoPets, VARIETY reports. Dylan Sellers will produce with DNAs John A. Davis set to direct and co-produce.
The concept for the feature is being kept on the down low.
SHREK 2 co-director Kelly Asbury has written and will direct the live-action screenplay adaptation of Clive Barker's THE THIEF OF ALWAYS for 20th Century Fox and Seraphim Films, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
Asbury and Barker met at an authors festival where Asbury was invited to discuss his nonfiction book DUMMY DAYS. Asbury and Barker struck up a conversation, which lead to Barker asking Asbury to write and direct the screen adaptation of his 1992 juvenile dark fantasy novel.
For the third consecutive year, Screen Gems has offered up record Super Bowl openings, and this year the remake of WHEN A STRANGER CALLS scared up $21.6M against the Big Game for the weekend ended Feb. 5, 2006. Fox's BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE 2 slipped to second with $13.6M and a two-week cume of $45.6M. Following in third was Universal's NANNY MCPHEE (with vfx from Framestore CFC), bringing home $9.7M and $26.5M. Focus Features' Oscar favorite, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, climbed to the fourth spot with $6M, as it expanded to 2,089 screens.
The Weinstein Co. has acquired the North American distribution rights to Exodus Film Groups CG-animated feature comedy IGOR. Chris McKenna (TVs AMERICAN DAD) wrote the screenplay and John D. Eraklis is set to produce. Seasoned animation exec Max Howard, who has collaborated on such animated blockbusters as THE LION KING, ALADDIN, SPACE JAM and THE IRON GIANT, will exec produce.
Principal photography will commence Feb. 6, 2006, at Leavesden Studios on HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, the fifth film adaptation of J.K. Rowling's beloved HARRY POTTER novel series.
Directed by award winning British filmmaker David Yates (THE GIRL IN THE CAFÉ, SEX TRAFFIC, STATE OF PLAY), THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX is produced by series producer David Heyman and David Barron, from a screenplay by Michael Goldenberg (WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, PETER PAN, CONTACT).
Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media, in collaboration with Academy Award-nominated director Andrew Adamson, have begun pre-production on THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN, the follow-up to the international blockbuster, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE.
The Weinstein Co. has announced that Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguezs double-feature horror flick, GRINDHOUSE, will begin filming in Austin, Texas, in the next few weeks, according to the trades.
Award-winning animation director Genndy Tartakovsky (STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, SAMURAI JACK, DEXTER'S LABORATORY) has signed on to direct POWER OF THE DARK CRYSTAL, the much anticipated sequel to The Jim Henson Co.'s 1982 classic fantasy film.
Kristen Bell (VERONICA MARS), Jay Baruchel (MILLION DOLLAR BABY), Chris Marquette (JUST FRIENDS) and Sam Huntington (SUPERMAN RETURNS) are in final talks to join the cast of FANBOYS, which follows a group of STAR WARS geeks, who attempt their dying friends wish of screening the yet-unreleased STAR WARS: EPISODE I THE PHANTOM MENACE at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Dan Fogler (forthcoming SCHOOL OF SCOUNDRELS) has already been cast as a hot-headed pizza boy.
Digital Dimension Canada, a division of Los Angeles-based Digital Dimension, has selected SOFTIMAGE|XSI software as the main 3D production for the upcoming 3D-animated feature, THE LEGEND OF SECRET PASS.
In turnaround, Warner Bros. Pictures has snatched up Roland Emmerich's big-budget 10,000 B.C. from Sony, reports VARIETY. Emmerich will start lensing the prehistoric adventure in late April in South Africa with an eye on a summer 2007 release.
The turnaround comes less than five months after Emmerich and producing partner Michael Wimer initiated the project at Columbia Pictures through their Centropolis company.
New Line has put a FRIDAY THE 13TH prequel on the fast track, reports VARIETY. The studio has greenlit the script development of a story that would chronicle the origins of hockey-mask wearing killer Jason Voorhees. The studio hopes to have the 10th film in the franchise ready for a Friday, Oct. 13, 2006, opening.
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.