Michael Bay is negotiating a deal to direct THE TRANSFORMERS for DreamWorks and Paramount, according to VARIETY. Steven Spielberg is exec producing the live-action/CG flick, which is set for a Thanksgiving 2006 release. Shooting is scheduled to begin this fall. The film has been long in development, but take on the film from Spielberg ignited the flames under the project. Writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci wrote a draft of the script and pitched it to Bay, who they are working with on THE ISLAND, which spurred the BAD BOYS director to take interest in the project.
Comicbook writer Jeph Loeb has been hired to adapt Will Eisners THE SPIRIT for the big screen, reports VARIETY. Odd Lot's Gigi Pritzker and Deborah Del Prete will produce, along with Batfilm's Michael Uslan. Exec producers are Benjamin Melniker and Steve Maier with co-producers being F.J. DeSanto and Linda McDonough.
The story follows a presumed dead masked detective who uses his questionable existence as an advantage in fighting crime in Central City.
Adding more star power to the cast of live-action/CGI CHARLOTTES WEB, Robert Redford has signed on to voice Ike, the arachnophobic horse who faints at the first glimpse of Charlotte, reports VARIETY. The picture is currently filming in Melbourne.
Redford joins other star voices, which include Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, John Cleese, Steve Buscemi, Cedric the Entertainer, Reba McEntire, Kathy Bates, Thomas Haden Church and Andre Benjamin. Dakota Fanning is the films live-action heroine.
When director Robert Rodriguez of Troublemaker Studios set out to make a stark black-and-white movie based on three of the books from Frank Millers SIN CITY ("A Hard Goodbye," "That Yellow Bastard," and "The Big, Fat Kill") he was determined to be true to that original style and to make a film that looked like nothing else. Shooting actors on greenscreen, he employed ComputerCafé Group's CaféFX to create the backgrounds for one of the episodes, essentially, to create Sin City from the ground up.
Robert Rodriguez faithful adaptation of Frank Millers SIN CITY exceeded all expectations in its box office debut for the weekend ended April 3, 2005, bringing home $29.1M for Dimension (thanks to vfx support from CafeFx, Hybride and The Orphanage). Debuting in a distant second was MGMs comedy, BEAUTY SHOP, which collected $12.8M. Sonys GUESS WHO, last weeks winner, dropped to third place with $12.7M and a two-week cume of $41M.
Touchstone Pictures' psychological thriller, DARK WATER, will now open on July 8, 2005, one month ahead of its previously scheduled release date. The film, starring Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Connelly, and helmed by acclaimed director Walter Salles (THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES), is produced by Bill Mechanic, Roy Lee and Doug Davison. Based on a film by the creators of the Japanese version of THE RING, DARK WATER also stars Oscar nominees John C. Reilly, Tim Roth and Pete Postelthwaite, along with Dougray Scott and Camryn Manheim. Rafael Yglesias wrote the screenplay.
Fox 2000 Pictures is in final discussions with the Warner Bros.-based director Alfonso Cuaron (HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN) to replace M. Night Night Shyamalan as the director of LIFE OF PI, reports VARIETY.
Fox is moving to Cuaron to handle the adaptation of the Booker Prize-winning bestseller by Yann Martel, because it is unwilling to wait a year and a half for Shyamalan to finish his next film LADY IN THE WATER at Warner Bros. Because Cuaron has a contract with Warner, Fox 2000 will have to hammer out a split rights deal with WB.
Paramount and Nick Movies are negotiating to buy the film rights to FIRE BREATHER, a fantasy graphic novel by Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn, according to trades. Published by Image Comics, the comic revolves around high schooler Duncan Rosenblatt, who's half-human and half-dragon. Hes always at odds with his divorced parents a sweet-natured soccer mom and a 300-foot monster.
If the deal goes through, Nick svp Julia Pistor will producer with Adrian Loudermilk of Venture Management will take an exec producing credit.
THE X-FILES star David Duchovny is set to star in the upcoming sci-fi feature PARALLEL, reports SCI FI WIRE. The film was written and will be directed by first-timer Josh Boone.
"It's a very, very interesting, very well-written sci-fi thriller, to throw a couple of genres at you," Duchovny said in an interview. "That's getting closer to becoming a reality to shoot."
The dual AMD Opteron processor-based workstations and servers from Verari Systems were used throughout the production pipeline for maverick director Robert Rodriguez' latest all-digital feature, SIN CITY, which opened today (April 1, 2005).
Luma Pictures has signed on as lead vfx provider for UNDERWORLD II, the sequel to Lakeshore Ent./Screen Gems 2003 hit. The sequel continues the saga of war between the Death Dealers (vampires) and the Lycans (werewolves). The film traces the beginnings of the ancient feud between the two tribes as Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and Michael (Scott Speedman), the lycan hybrid, try to discover the secrets of their bloodlines. All of this takes them into battle as the immortals must finally face their retribution. The film is currently in production with Len Wiseman again directing.
Kristen Bell (TV's VERONICA MARS) and newcomer Steve Talley will star in long in development remake of Japanese supernatural horror film KAIRO titled PULSE, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Making his feature debut will be commercial director Jim Sonzero. The film will be produced by Neo Art & Logics Mike Leahy and Joel Soisson. Production is set to begin early this summer in Romania. The story centers on a website run by an evil force whose takes control of web surfers lives. Wes Craven was originally attached to helm the project.
Warner Bros. Pictures has bought Ron Friedman and Steve Bencichs live-action, coming-of-age adventure THE TREEHOUSE.Wes Ball will make his feature directing debut on the film, with Tapestry Films Robert Levy, Peter Abrams and Andrew Panay producing. Warners' Lionel Wigram and Lauren Craniotes, along with Warner Bros. Animation president Sander Schwartz, are shepherding the film.
The story chronicles the adventures of a lonely boy who uncovers a magical treehouse, which transports him to a fantastical forest ruled children rule and parents dont exist.
The Eureka Initiative in the U.K., dedicated to strengthening European competitiveness with innovative technology, developed the Damage software tool to track and manage digital assets for VALIANT, the regions first 3D-animated feature and the maiden project from Vanguard Animation and London-based Ealing Studios.
Now that VALIANT has been released in the U.K. and will bow in mainland Europe in July and Aug. 19 in the U.S. (through Disney), it is hoped that Eureka project E! 3062 Damage will now open up a while new global market for the European animation industry.
Imagi Services president/ceo Tom Gray announced the signing of Kevin Munroe to write and direct a new CGI-animated feature-length TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES film. Now in pre-production, the film is targeted for U.S. release in spring 2007.
First Argentinean is set to tell the stories of 12 tango dancers and bring to the world what authentic tango is all about, reports ETTODAY.COM.
The film was originated by Cecelia, a graphic designer who works as a part-time tango instructor at this tango school, which is quite popular in this neighborhood of Buenos Aires. In 2003, she joined a Cuban multimedia designer named Raquel and started on this animated production.
Sonys GUESS WHO, the comedic remake of GUESS WHOS COMING TO DINNER, debuted in the top spot with $20.6M for the Easter weekend ended March 27, 2005. Coming in a distant second was another comedy, Warner Bros. MISS CONGENIALITY 2: ARMED AND FABULOUS, which tallied $14M. DreamWorks THE RING TWO, which debuted in the top spot last week, fell to third place with $13.6M (vfx by Rhythm & Hues) for a cume of $57.9M. The 3D-animated ROBOTS claimed the fourth spot for Fox/Blue Sky with $12.9M and $87.3M.
Universal Pictures has announced that principal animation has started on its big screen adaptation of CURIOUS GEORGE. Will Ferrell will voice The Man in the Yellow Hat and will be joined by Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy, Dick Van Dyke, Joan Plowright and Ed O'Ross. Jun Falkenstein (THE TIGGER MOVIE) is directing with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer producing. The 2D feature will contain original songs by Jack Johnson. It is set for release on February 10, 2006.
In the latest jostling for prime release dates, Disney has pushed back Vanguard Animations VALIANT, the U.K.s first 3D-animated feature, from April 15 to Aug. 19, 2005. Vanguards debut feature, produced at the revitalized Ealing Studios, bowed March 25 in the U.K. With Disneys own CHICKEN LITTLE now flying the coop Nov. 4, this highly anticipated story of a World War II carrier pigeon should fill the bill nicely.
Warner Bros. Pictures has entered into an agreement with NeoPets Inc. to develop and produce animated feature films based on new stories and characters from the virtual world of Neopets.com, the world's leading online youth community.
Dylan Sellers will produce the projects with Doug Dohring, chairman/ceo of, NeoPets. Warner Bros. Pictures' Aditya Sood will oversee production for the studio. NeoPets will co-finance development.
Writer Hadley Davis is drafting the script for a teen movie adaptation of Zatanna, the DC Comics sorceress, reports SCI FI WIRE.
"It's sort of an obscure DC Comic book," Davis said in an interview. "Well, I say that, and then people who know comic books know the comic. It has existed for years and years, but she is a female magician. It's for Warner Bros. and [producer] Denise DiNovi, and we've made her sort of a teen magician."
Warner Bros. has agreed to produce M. Night Shyamalans next fantasy thriller LADY IN THE WATER, the trades report. THE VILLAGE filmmaker will write and direct as well as produce along with Blinding Edge Pictures Sam Mercer. All of the thrill masters pics since THE SIXTH SENSE have been made with Walt Disney, however both parties past on working on LADY together.
Thomas Haden Church, who was most recently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in SIDEWAYS, has been cast as Spider-Man's new adversary in SPIDER-MAN 3. The announcement was made by Sam Raimi and producers Laura Ziskin and Marvel Studios' Avi Arad, however the identity of the villain Church will play is being kept secret. Production is set to begin early next year with the film to be released on May 4, 2007.
Paramount has signed ALIEN VS. PREDATOR director Paul W.S. Anderson to write and helm a remake of Roger Cormans cult adventure, DEATHRACE 2000, reports VARIETY. In addition, Anderson will produce along with Corman, C/W partners Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, and Impact Pictures partner Jeremy Bolt.
The original featured a race where drivers accumulated points for running over pedestrians. The new version will be "set in 2020, ours is an ultraviolent, no-holds-barred race with heavily armed Escalades, Ferraris and Aston Martins," Anderson said.
20th Century Fox has confirmed rumors that British helmer Matthew Vaughn has been hired to direct X-MEN 3, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Avi Arad, Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter will produce. Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg have written the script. Hugh Jackman has already signed on to reprise his role as Wolverine and the studio is in talks with Ian McKellen, Halle Berry and Patrick Stewart. The film is expected to start lensing in mid-July and will hit theaters May 26, 2006.