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Category: Films

Headline News American Wedding is No Bridesmaid; Nemo Keeps Swimming Along

Universal's AMERICAN WEDDING (with VFX by Soho VFX) powered the weekend box office ending Aug. 3, 2003, grabbing a huge $33.3M slice of cake. SPY KIDS 3D: GAME OVER fell to second place, dropping 41% while collecting $19.5M for a total of $68.5M in its second weekend. Hybride Technologies and The Orphanage shared VFX duties for the Dimension Films release.

Headline News Ripa Gets More Animated in Delgo

Talkshow host Kelly Ripa is the latest to join the star-studded cast of DELGO, the independently produced computer-animated feature from Atlanta, Georgia-based Fathom Studios. Ripa (LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY, HOPE AND FAITH) is providing the voice of Princess Kyla's handmaiden. The fantasy adventure is set in a divided land where a troubled youth and some unlikely friends must save the world from itself.

Headline News Miramax and LEGO Bond on Two More BIONICLE Projects

Banking on some slightly different kind of toy stories, Miramax Films and LEGO Co. are in production on a second CGI-animation direct-to-video based upon the toy companys BIONICLE brand and are developing a theatrical motion picture scheduled for release in 2005. These are early commitments considering their first collaboration, BIONICLE: MASK OF LIGHT, wont debut on DVD and video until September 16, 2003.

Headline News Softimage used by Hybride on Spy Kids 3D

Hybride used a range of Softimage systems to create animation and effects for the box-office topper SPY KIDS 3D: GAME OVER. The 100-person team at Hybride relied on the SOFTIMAGE|XSI product, SOFTIMAGE|XSI Batch and SOFTIMAGE|XSI BatchServe.

Headline News Spy Kids 3D Pulls Off Upset; Nemo Breaks Record

Out of nowhere, SPY KIDS 3D: GAME OVER topped the box office charts for the weekend ending July 27, 2003, bringing in $33.4M for Miramax's Dimension Films, with VFX by Hybride Technologies and The Orphanage. Meanwhile, even though Disney/Pixar's FINDING NEMO reeled in $4.4M in the eighth spot, it topped $313M as this year's best grosser, good enough to break the LION KING's record as the all-time animation king. However, if you count the recent IMAX reissue, THE LION KING technically has earned a total of $328.5M.

Headline News TroubleMaker & Janimation Use AMD Processor-Based Systems on Spy Kids 3D

TroubleMaker Studios and Janimation animators used AMD processors with hardware support from BOXX and NVIDIA, as well as software from Microsoft and Softimage on SPY KIDS 3D: GAME OVER. The third installment of Robert Rodriguez' highly successful family franchise features stereoscopic elements enhanced with 3D glasses.

Headline News Blur Follows Aunt Luisa With Sci-Fi Short

Blur Studio, whose acclaimed AUNT LUISA short will screen at the SIGGRAPH Conference (July 29-31, 2003), is producing a 7-minute sci-fi adventure as a change of pace. The untitled computer-animated project, directed by Blur co-founder/creative director Tim Miller, is about a fisherman in the far future that catches more than he bargained for.

Headline News Lara Croft to Battle Seabiscuit; 28 Days to Offer Alternate Ending

Paramount's LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE (with VFX by Cinesite (Europe) Ltd., Double Negative and the Moving Picture Co.) will open July 25, 2003 against Universal's SEABISCUIT (with VFX by Pixel Playground Inc., Sony Pictures Imageworks and The Orphanage).

Headline News Mad Cow Enlisted for Clifford Feature

Sydney, Australia-based animation studio Mad Cow Pictures announced it is providing pre-production and production design, effects and support for the upcoming feature version of CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG. The film is being produced by Scholastic Entertainment, Big Red Dog Productions and Starburst Studios. Mad Cows co-owner Steve Trenbirth will serve as the unit director.

Headline News R!OT Santa Monica Recreates 19th Century London for League

R!OT Santa Monica created a massive and richly detailed digital replica of 19th Century London as part of its VFX package for Fox's new THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. The R!OT team also concocted a roomful of missile silos inside a giant submarine, impaled a man on a rhinoceros horn and came up with a unique way of visualizing the voices on an old phonograph recording.

Headline News Homeboy Burt Reynolds Cast in Delgo

Burt Reynolds is the latest addition to the star-studded cast of DELGO, the independently produced computer-animated feature from Atlanta, Georgia-based Fathom Studios. The Oscar-nominated actor said in a release, "I am very proud to be a part of the first animated film being produced in my home state of Georgia."

Burt Reynolds (BOOGIE NIGHTS, SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT) is providing the voice of Delgo's boisterous father. The fantasy adventure is set in a divided land where a troubled youth and some unlikely friends must save the world from itself.

Headline News Darabont on Board for Captain Sternn CG Projects

Darkwoods Prod., the production house of SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION director Frank Darabont, has signed on with Himani Original Prod. to develop a CG-animated feature film, animated TV series, comic books and video games based on Bernie Wrightson's (SWAMP THING) comic book character Captain Sternn. The character originally appeared in HEAVY METAL MAGAZINE and made an appearance in the 1981 animated cult flick HEAVY METAL. Also attached to the project are writer David J. Schow (THE CROW) and Himani president/founder Kevin Kutchaver (HERCULES, XENA) as director of animation.

Headline News Bad Boys Sequel Tops the Chart; Nemo Crosses $300M

With a one-two punch of his own, producer Jerry Bruckheimer ruled the weekend box office like no other producer before him, with BAD BOYS II debuting impressively at an estimated $46.7M and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL hauling in a hefty $33.2M in its sophomore turn. At least for the moment, the curse of the summer sequel has been given a respite.

Headline News Sinbad Last Traditionally-Drawn Feature at DreamWorks

After the dismal box office performance of SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS ($23.4 M since July 2, 2003), DreamWorks animation head Ann Daly proclaimed in the NEW YORK TIMES that the studio will no longer be making traditionally-drawn features. Co-founder and animation guru Jeffrey Katzenberg added that the 2D art form sadly may be obsolete as a result of changing technology.

Headline News Pirates Sequel Already in Works

With PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK already past $85M after one week of release, Disney has acted quickly in setting course on a sequel with all of the main participants, including Johnny Depp, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, and confirmed by a Walt Disney Co. spokesperson. No story has been conjured, but writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio are said to be huddling with the studio.

Headline News R!OT Creates Virtual Treasure Trove of Terminator 3 Environments

R!OT Santa Monica produced more than a dozen complex VFX shots for Warner Bros. TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES (produced by C2/Intermedia), including several highly detailed 3D digital matte paintings. Specializing in creating realistic virtual environments, artists from the studio's feature film unit created a remote desert military facility, a cavernous elevator shaft, a warehouse filled with robotic weapons, aerial scenes and other hard to replicate locations.

Headline News Proxima Excited About Exorcist Prequel

Proxima, an Italian digital effects partner of famed Cinecittà Studios in Rome, has been handed a large portion of the VFX work on EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING, the prequel to the legendary horror film that Warner Bros. will release February 6, 2004. The Paul Schrader film was shot at Cinecittà and Proxima is part of Cinecittà Digital Village, which is quickly becoming one of the most important digital arenas in Europe.

Headline News Pirates Provides Second Punch for Disney

As expected, Disney's PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL blew away all comers for the weekend of July 11-13, 2003. The estimated weekend gross was a very impressive $46.4M, while the five-day figure came in at $70.4M, exceeding most expectations.

Headline News Who Will Animate Fox's Cat and Mouse?

Now that director Kevin Lima (TARZAN and 102 DALMATIANS) has been signed to helm Fox's live-action/animated CAT AND MOUSE next year, the search is on to see who will perform the 2D animation for the opening 10 minutes of the comedy. According to a spokesman, the production team is meeting with animators and studios in L.A., New York and Canada. But it has not been determined whether an animation director and crew or a one-stop shop will be hired.

Headline News Plentiful Pirate Bounty During Mid-Week Bow

Disney's PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL struck box office gold in its first two days of release, bringing in $13.5M on July 9, 2003 and $10.4M on July 10. That's good news for the summer season, which needed a boost, and especially good for Disney, which now appears to have the one-two punch it desperately needed in FINDING NEMO ($282.6M) and PIRATES.

Headline News Diesel Revs Up for Riddick Reprisal

Vin Diesel will reprise his break-out role as PITCH BLACK's anti-hero Richard B. Riddick in THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, a sci-fi action/adventure that just started shooting for Universal Pictures, in association with Radar Pictures and One Race Prods. Co-starring Colm Feore, Alexa Davalos, Karl Urban, Linus Roache, Thandie Newton and Dame Judi Dench the film is written and directed by David Twohy (BELOW and PITCH BLACK), produced by Scott Kroopf (THE LAST SAMURAI and PITCH BLACK) and Vin Diesel (XXX).

Headline News T3 Wins Independence; Nemo Passes Shrek and Sinbad Sputters

TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES may have won the Independence holiday box office race for Warner Bros., taking in $44M for the weekend and $72.3M for the five-day period (bolstered by the combined VFX of Industrial Light + Magic, Anatomorphex, Pacific Data Images, Pacific Titles & Optical and Stan Winston Studio), but the big story was FINDING NEMO.

Headline News Extraordinary Misunderstanding About Spielberg Leaving Indy IV

Despite a recent comment by Sean Connery (while promoting THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN in Las Vegas) that Steven Spielberg might not direct INDY IV, a spokesman for the director told VFXWorld.com that he fully intends to shoot the movie in 2004 for release in the summer of 2005.

"Somebody, somewhere, must have misunderstood something," the spokesman said. "The

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