HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE had the best opening yet for the popular franchise, raking in $102.3M for the weekend ended Nov. 20, 2005. In fact, the Warner Bros. wizard fantasy is second only to REVENGE OF THE SITHS $108.4M for openers this year. The first POTTER directed by Mike Newell and the first to don a PG-13 rating, THE GOBLET OF FIRE also boasts more impressive vfx from Double Negative, Framestore CFC, MPC, ILM, Cinesite, Animal Logic, The Orphanage, BUF and Rising Sun.
After years of dealmaking, New Line has finally signed the key players in making RUSH HOUR 3 happen, according to VARIETY.
The longtime hold out Chris Tucker will receive $20 million against 20% of gross, as well as a second-picture commitment for $20 million on a film to be determined later. The actor will not hold script approval as long as the final draft is similar to what writer Jeff Nathanson pitched.
Co-star Jackie Chan will net $15 million against 15% of the gross as well as control the films distribution rights in China and Hong Kong.
Dimension Films has signed an agreement to acquire the North American distribution rights to the feature adaptation of Tecmo videogame, DEAD OR ALIVE, VARIETY reports. THE TRANSPORTER helmer Corey Yuen is directing. Devon Aoki, Sarah Carter, Natassia Malthe, Matthew Marsden, Jaime Pressly, Eric Roberts and Holly Valance will star.
The Orphanage has been awarded THE HOST, South Koreas most expensive and ambitious film to date for Chungeorahm Films. The VFX creature film will be directed by internationally acclaimed director Joon-ho Bong and star two of Koreas top marquee names Song Kang-ho and Park Hae-il. As the exclusive vfx house on the over 100-shot project, The Orphanage team led by veteran vfx supervisor Kevin Rafferty, exec producer Marc Sadeghi, CG supervisor Shadi Almassizadeh and vfx producer Arin Finger will be working hand in hand with the production on location in Seoul.
After the successful launch of CHICKEN LITTLE in Disney Digital 3-D, which had an opening gross of approximately $2.1 million in 79 specialty theaters, Walt Disney Pictures will do it again with its next 3D-animated feature, MEET THE ROBINSONS, opening December 2006. To date, CHICKEN LITTLE has garnered more than $83 million at the domestic box office
Walden Media and New Line are teaming to co-finance JOURNEY 3-D, a modern spin on the Jules Verne classic JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. Academy Award-winning effects man Eric Brevig will make his directing debut on the film, which will be based on a screenplay by D.V. DeVincentis (HIGH FIDELITY). Visual effects vet Charlotte Huggins will produce the project, which is set to start production in April.
Pressman & Co. Films has hired THE PUNISHER actor Thomas Jane to star in its sci-fi/action film, THE MUTANT CHRONICLES, which is based on the role-playing board game of the same name, according to VARIETY. Producer Ed Pressman has had his project in development for nearly 10 years. At AFM, he signed a deal with Voltage Pictures for them to serves as the foreign sales representative for the film.
Under the guidance of vfx supervisor Mark Michaels and CG supervisor Richard Clarke, Double Negative created 500 shots in 15 months for Warner Bros. Pictures HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE (opening Nov. 18), more than any other vfx facility working on the movie. The work comes on the heels of highly acclaimed Double Negative work for SAHARA, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, THE JACKET, PRIDE & PREJUDICE, DOOM and BATMAN BEGINS.
Alias and BFC Berliner Film Companie Prods. GmbH (BFC) have extended their partnership by utilizing Maya as the core 3D technology used in the upcoming 3D animated feature, HAPPILY N´EVER AFTER, produced by John H. Williams (the SHREK movies and VALIANT). BFC relies on its relationship with Alias professional services for support and custom software development to rapidly prototype new features that meet its particular production requirements.
Universal has hired Chris Morgan (FAST AND FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT) to adapt Dan Brereton and James Hudnalls comicbook THE PSYCHO, reports VARIETY.
Set in a world where an illegal drug can give people superpowers or death, the story follows a rogue CIA agent who risks his sanity to become a "psycho" as a way to rescue his girlfriend and expose a political conspiracy.
David Engel will produce for Circle of Confusion, with partners Lawrence Mattis and Jason Lust exec producing. Universal production vp Jeff Kirschenbaum will shepherd the film.
Following up his debut on the surprise hit DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN, Darren Grant has been hired by Fox 2000 for the live-action adaptation of the webtoon, VENUS KINCAID, according to VARIETY. The Love Brothers of Gettosake Ent. created the series, which chronicles a female African-American government agent who is transformed into a teenaged girl with all of her adult knowledge still intact. ZOOM production company Underground Films' Nick Osborne and Trevor Engelson are producing with Scott Cherrin exec producing. Lori Lakin is writing the screenplay.
When Warner Bros. Pictures releases HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE on Nov. 18, it will debut in a record 72 IMAX theaters, with an additional 18 to open in the coming weeks. This will eclipse the mark set by CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE this past summer.
Of the 72 IMAX theaters opening day and date, 66 of the locations are domestic, which is significantly more than the 49 domestic IMAX screens that HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE opened in June 2004.
Award-winning visual effects studio Digital Dimension delivered 200 vfx shots for ZATHURA: A SPACE ADVENTURE, the Columbia Pictures sci-fi adventure that opened Nov. 11.
Director Jon Favreau and visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer, with whom Digital Dimension collaborated most recently on ELF, brought the company on board to create signature effects for the movies digital star fields and to help them achieve action sequences in space using seamlessly composited practical miniatures along with CG elements.
CHICKEN LITTLE, Disneys first full 3D-animated feature, won the box office derby in its second outing for the weekend ended Nov. 13, 2005, despite competition from ZATHURA, the other movie aimed at families. Benefiting from Veterans Day falling on Friday, CHICKEN LITTLE lost only 21% and took home $31.6M for Buena Vista, giving it a cume of $80.4M. Apparently the extra ticket price for the digital 3-D version, boosted the gross as well. Look for CHICKEN LITTLE to play through the holidays and earn somewhere in the $150M vicinity.
STEALTH director Rob Cohens big-budget spectacle THE 8TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD has been called off at Sonys Columbia Pictures, reports the L.A. TIMES.
Amy Pascal, head of the motion picture group for Sony Pictures Ent., said in the piece, "It didn't seem like a good idea for us to make that movie after STEALTH.
The $135-million STEALTH lost Sony nearly $50 million after grossing a measly $32.1 million domestically. Cohen declined to comment.
BIONICLE: THE FEATURE scribe Brett Matthews has sold another sci-fi spec script this time to Warner Bros. Pictures, according to VARIETY. Titled MAINLINE, the story is being kept under close wraps. Dylan Sellers Prods. vp of production Jesse Ehrman along with Dylan Sellers brought the project to Warners creative exec Geoff Shaevitz, who will shepherd the film for the studio.
Da, da, da. Da, da, da let the boy be Blade. Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jones has been cast as the half-vampire vampire killer Blade for the upcoming TV series, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Based on the comicbook and film franchise of the same name, the Spike TV series will continue the adventures of the Marvel superhero as he attempts to save the human race from a demonic underworld.
DreamWorks Animation announced that two-time Academy Award-winner Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan and Ian McShane (TVs DEADWOOD) are joining Jack Black in the cast of KUNG FU PANDA. In addition, award-winning actress Lucy Liu is in talks with the studio to voice another main role.
New Line has hired Seth Bass and Jonathan Tolins to write an adaptation of SANTAKID, based on James Patterson's children's book, reports VARIETY. The story follows a billionaires daughter who after receiving an imperfect doll for Christmas has her father buy Santa Claus and tries to improve on holiday operation. David Kirschner and Corey Sienega will produce with New Line execs Mark Kaufman, Matt Moore and Luke Ryan shepherding for the studio.
Gold Circle Films has purchased Greg Erb and Jason Oremland's pitch CREATURE FEATURE, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The film centers on a 13-year-old budding horror filmmaker who discovers a mysterious old camera that brings his monster props to life. Craig Mazin will produce with Paul Brooks overseeing for Gold Circle Films.
Dimension Films has obtained the North American distribution right to CASTLEVANIA, a thriller based on the Konami videogame franchise, reports VARIETY. Paul W.S. Anderson will adapt and direct. Just last week, production house Crystal Sky Pictures purchased the film rights to the franchise.
Infamous AMERICAN HISTORY X helmer Tony Kaye is set to begin shooting the supernatural thriller, REAPER, according THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The film chronicles the story of a tortured man who is visited on his deathbed by the grim reaper, who offers him a chance at eternal life, which will give the man the chance to search for his kidnapped daughter. Kaye intends to shoot the lead characters tale in HD video and the reapers tale on film. The netherworld will be photographed in black & white. The $20 million film has a cast, which will be announced at a later date.
Production and distribution company Maxmedia has optioned the film rights to the forthing Microsoft videogame KAMEO: ELEMENTS OF POWER, reports VARIETY. Maxmedia plans to team with SKY BLUE production house Sunmin Park, to adapt the animated feature. She and Jungmin Ethan Park are producing the film, which is set to being production next year.
Exceeding all expectations, CHICKEN LITTLE, Disneys first full 3D-animated feature, debuted with an impressive $40M for the weekend ended Nov. 6, 2005. It marks the best opening for a Disney animated feature since LILO & STITCHS $35.3M back in 2002. Apparently even adults flocked to the movie. In addition, the launch of CHICKEN LITTLE in digital 3D proved very promising as well, turning in an estimated $2.1M in 85 U.S. locations.
With lucrative state tax incentives in play, Digital Domains long-in-the-works project INSTANT KARMA is aptly named. The Louisiana Capital Area Economic Development Allies (LaCAEDA) announced that Emerald Bayou Studios has played a critical role in obtaining state certification for the feature film. This partnership was announced during a press conference at AFM.