Mexicos #2 television network TV Azteca entered the theatrical feature film distribution business with the release of the 3D animated, PIRATES EN EL PACIFICO (PIRATES IN THE PACIFIC), reports VARIETY. TV Azteca partnered with leading exhibitor Cinepolis on the venture and is set to release the film in the U.S. this fall.
Side Effects Software announced that Digital Domain employed Houdini Digital Assets technology to create the vfx for STEALTH, which immerses viewers in a photorealistic experience with jet planes flying at supersonic speeds. In order to develop this effect, Digital Domain created hyperrealistic shots that could only be created in the computer. Therefore, Digital Domain chose Side Effects Software's award-winning Houdini to create more than 650 shots ranging from heat signatures, engine effects, lift condensation and even a two-mile ring of fuel bursting into flame.
Is Arnold Schwarzenegger saying, Ill be back for the WESTWORLD remake? VARIETY reports that Warner Bros.-based producer Jerry Weintraub is moving ahead with the film with THE CELL director Tarsem at the helm. Schwarzenegger was attached to the project before he was elected governor of California. He not involved at this point in the project, but his status could change depending on whether he decides not to run for re-election in January 2007 or loses. Schwarzenegger had not only been attached to star, but also produce.
DreamWorks is in final negotiations to acquire the film rights from Paramount to Tom Clancy's videogame franchise SPLINTER CELL, reports VARIETY. Daniel Pyne (THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE remake) is set to write the screenplay. Michael Ovitz, Clancy's longtime manager, will still produce.
Bill Murray is in talks to reprise his role as the voice of the fat, orange cat for 20th Century Fox's GARFIELD 2, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The original films live-action stars Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love Hewitt have already signed on to return. However, Hewitt's role will be small due to her commitment to the forthcoming CBS series GHOST WHISPERER. Lucy Davis (U.K. version of THE OFFICE) and Billy Connolly (MRS. BROWN) have been added to the cast.
New Line has signed HERBIE: FULLY LOADED director Angela Robinson to a seven-figure deal to co-write and direct the action comedy, GENBOT, reports VARIETY. Robinson and co-writer Alex Kondracke pitched the idea of a young woman who gets involved a secret government operation that turns her into a cyborg to the studio. Robinson will produce from her Pink Thunder production house along with partners Larry Kennar and Lisa Stewart. George Waud and Shanna MacNair are shepherding for New Line.
EMPRESS CHUNG is set to be the first major feature animated entirely in communist North Korea to see a wide release in a capitalist country when it opens in South Korea on Friday, reports REUTERS. It will open in Pyongyang on Aug. 15, the same day the Korean peninsula was freed from Japanese colonial control and was divided into North and South Korea by the Allied forces. The film directed by Nelson Shin will be the first to open jointly in North and South Korea.
"We made it together. We will watch it together. I couldn't be happier," Shin said.
Disney Pictures and Spyglass Ent. are in talks with RACING STRIPES director Frederik Du Chau to direct the live-action adaptation of UNDERDOG, reports VARIETY. The film will combine CG and live-action to make a real dog talk and appears to have superpowers. Spyglass Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber and Jonathan Glickman are producing aside with Jay Polstein.
Damien gets a mommy and daddy for Foxs remake of THE OMEN, according to VARIETY. Liev Schreiber (SCREAM series) and Julia Stiles (MONA LISA SMILE) have been hired to play the roles of the anti-christs unknowing parents, who were originally played by Gregory Peck and Lee Remick. John Moore (2004s FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX) will direct the film, which is set to start filming in October. Dan McDermott (SELLING TIME) has adapted the script. In a marketing ploy, THE OMEN 666 will be released on Tuesday, June 6, 2006.
In helping realize Tim Burtons vision for the Nut Room factory sequence in CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, Framestore CFC delivered photoreal digital, working closely with vfx supervisor Nick Davis. Combining its artistry with footage of both real and animatronic squirrels, Framestore CFC delivered 130 shots for the film, including some 64 featuring CG squirrels.
Warner Bros. big screen adaptation of THE DUKES OF HAZARD debuted in the top spot at the box office for the weekend ended Aug. 7, 2005, revving up $30.6M worth of ticket sales. New Lines WEDDING CRASHERS, last weeks winner, dropped to second place again with $16M for a cume of $143.6M. Warner Bros. CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (with delightful vfx from MPC, Framestore CFC, Cinesite and Digital Domain) dipped to third place with $10.9M for a total of $169.4M.
New Line Cinema is in talks with British director Anand Tucker (SHOPGIRL, HILARY AND JACKIE) to helm THE GOLDEN COMPASS, the feature film adaptation of the first installment of author Philip Pullman's popular HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy, which includes THE GOLDEN COMPASS, THE SUBTLE KNIFE and THE AMBER SPYGLASS. HIS DARK MATERIALS is being produced by Deborah Forte of Scholastic Media, the publisher of the books.
Paramount Pictures announced on Aug. 3, 2005, that its film WAR OF THE WORLDS, starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg, has grossed over $500 million at the worldwide box office, including $218.3 million domestically and $310.7 million worldwide.
The picture has set several box office records for both Paramount and Cruise, including largest opening day, largest single day and largest opening weekend for both star and studio, and has broken several international records. The film is also Cruises biggest hit to date, passing MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: II.
Samuel L. Jackson has been signed to star and co-produce a live-action feature to be adapted from the manga property AFROSAMURAI, created by Takashi Okazaki, according to trade reports.
Japanese animation studio GDH K.K. Gonzo, Fuji TV and Mosaic Media in Los Angeles will produce the flick. Jackson will also provide his voice for the animated TV series due out on Spike TV next year.
Fox 2000 Pictures has signed a seven-figure deal with John Fusco (SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON, YOUNG GUNS) to write screen adaptation of WOLF BROTHER, the first book in the CHRONICLES OF DARKNESS books by British author Michelle Paver, VARIETY reported.
New Lines WEDDING CRASHERS, overtook Warner Bros. CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE for the top spot in the box office for the weekend ended July 31, 2005. The R-rated comedy gathered $20M for a three-week cume of $115.6M. The Tim Burton movie (with delightful vfx from MPC, Framestore CFC, Cinesite and Digital Domain) settled for second place with $16.3M and a total of $148M.
Paramount has announced that Maggie Gyllenhaal and Maria Bello have been cast as the wives of Port Authority officers rescued from the World Trade Center in the studio's untitled Oliver Stone project, reports VARIETY. Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena have already been cast in the respective roles of Sgt. John McLoughlin and Officer William J. Jimeno. The film is scheduled to start filming in New York this fall.
Jeff Bridges will lead a cast that includes, Shia LaBeouf, Zooey Deschanel, James Woods, Jane Krakowski, Jon Heder, Mario Cantone, Brian Benben and Michael McKean for Sony Pictures Animations upcoming CGI feature SURFS UP.
it was announced today by Penney Finkelman Cox and Sandra Rabins, executive vice presidents of Sony Pictures Animation.
Universal has bought the film rights to Sony Computer Ent.s videogame GOD OF WAR, reports VARIETY. Mosaic Media Group's Charles Roven and Alex Gartner are set to produce.
Taking place in ancient Greece, the story follows the adventures of the warrior Kratos, who battles mythological creatures like Medusa, Cyclops and the Hydra while along his quest to discover Pandora's Box and destroy Ares, the god of war.
Released in March to much acclaim, the game was created by David Jaffe and Shannon Studstill.
Monster Distributes has picked up international distribution rights to another big Annecy winner, THE MYSTERIOUS GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORATIONS OF JASPER MORELLO, and will be launching the short feature film at MIPCOM Junior.
Funded by the AFC, Film Vic and SBS Independent, animator Anthony Lucas JASPER MORELLO won the top honor at the festival, the Grand Prix award le Cristal DAnnecy, out of the 1,709 films that were entered.
Veteran producer Mark Gordon, music producer Pharrell Williams, World Events Prods. and producers Mark Costa and Ford Oelman will team to bring VOLTRON: DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE to the big screen, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The film will be produced by Gordon (THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, SPEED). Williams, Costa and Oelman will exec produce.
LAIKA Ent. (recently doing business as Vinton Studios) has greenlit a second feature film project in less than a week. JACK & BENS ANIMATED ADVENTURE is an original idea from LAIKA Ent.s director of story Jorgen Klubien, a veteran writer, director, storyboard artist, and designer, who joined the company earlier this year.
Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures jointly announced that the upcoming film being directed by three-time Academy Award-winning director-producer Steven Spielberg will be titled MUNICH.
Animation company Out of Our Minds Animation Studios has landed nearly $2 million in funding from private investors for production of its first feature-length animated film, reports THE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The funding, which represents nearly all the total project budget of $3.5 million, allowed the Winston-Salem, North Carolina studio to begin production in March. The company also is expanding from 10 employees to 16 employees by next month, with several more to be added during the next two years.