Miramax Films is joining the ranks of studios with animation projects in the works. The independent film studio has partnered with LEGO Media to develop a CG-animated motion picture for 2004 release, based on LEGOs successful Bionicle toys and comics. In addition to the feature film project, the agreement gives Miramax worldwide distribution rights to LEGO Media's previously announced, CG-animated direct-to-video movie, BIONICLE: MASK OF LIGHT, scheduled to debut in September 2003.
Sony Imageworks first 3D animated short, a 5 1/2 minute comedy titled THE CHUBBCHUBBS, is now playing in theaters before the feature film MEN IN BLACK II. Produced by Imageworks, and directed by Eric Armstrong, animation supervisor for STUART LITTLE 2, THE CHUBBCHUBBS features an alien hero named Meeper who valiantly tries to warn the patrons of the Ale-E-Inn of impending intergalactic danger. According to VARIETY, the short was never intended for the public and was made as an internal systems test.
Aliens are proving to be big box office this summer, as MEN IN BLACK II debuts at number one, and LILO AND STITCH breaks the $100M mark after three weeks. MEN IN BLACK II, the sequel to the 1997 blockbuster, has taken in a record-breaking total of $90M since its Wednesday, July 4 debut, knocking last week's number one film MR. DEEDS, to second with $18.8M for the weekend and $74M to date.
IndustrialLight + Magic will provide the special visual effects and animationfor PETER PAN, the first live-action version of J.M. Barrie'senduring classic about the boy who doesn't want to grow up. The filmis a joint production of Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures andRevolution Studios, with P.J. Hogan (MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING)enlisted to direct. Principal photography will begin in fall 2002 inQueensland, Australia. Hogan and writer Michael Goldenberg (CONTACT)
After fighting a battle royal with futuristic thriller MINORITY REPORT and ending last weekend in close second, this weekend's tally finds LILO & STITCH holding fast to the number two spot while MINORITY REPORT has slipped to third. In first place was the latest Adam Sandler vehicle MR. DEEDS, which topped the chart with $37.6M. In second, LILO & STITCH grossed $22.2M for $77.8M to date and MINORITY REPORT's $21.6M was good for third, and a two-week total of $73.4M. SCOOBY DOO, with visual effects by Rhythm & Hues and Warner Bros.
After it grossed $100M in only 10 days, it's nosurprise that Warner Bros. has announced plans for a secondSCOOBY-DOO feature, with the original starring cast returning underthe anticipated helm of SCOOBY-DOO director Raja Gosnell. Theannouncement was made by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, president ofworldwide production for Warner Bros. Pictures. The upcoming filmwill be produced by Mosaic Media Group's Charles Roven, and byRichard Suckle. Stars Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar,
The final numbers from this weekend's box office have been tallied, and it was a close one! Although Disney officials predicted the traditionally animated duo LILO & STITCH will take the number one spot over the powerful combination of Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg, it was not to be. It was down to the wire, but Spielberg's MINORITY REPORT, with primary visual effects by ILM, prevailed, edging out LILO & STITCH for the number one spot with $35.7M.
The CGIScooby isn't the only startling effect in Warner Bros. feature filmSCOOBY DOO. Spooky Island features a host of ghosts and SanFrancisco visual effects house Giant Killer Robots (GKR) delivered120 visual effects shots, most involving the "spirits" of the film'scharacters. When the villain Mondavarius and his team of evil-doerssteal the spirits of the Mystery, Inc. gang, the artists at GKR hadto bring those spirits to life. Working with point cloud scans of the
Three new releases took the top three spots at this weekend's box office. Number one was the live-action comedy SCOOBY DOO, featuring an all CGI Scooby courtesy of Rhythm & Hues and Warner Bros. Feature Animation. The Mystery Inc. crew debuted with $56.4M, making SCOOBY DOO the third highest grossing debut this year, after EPISODE II and SPIDER-MAN. In second place was the thriller THE BOURNE IDENTITY with a strong $27.6 debut. In third was the John Woo-helmed World War II pic WINDTALKERS, with visual effects by Cinesite, earning $14.5M for the weekend.
Seen SPIRIT? Looking to get an animation fix before LILO AND STITCH arrives in theaters? Then check your local cineplex for the independent feature THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS, which features nearly 20 minutes of animation by Todd McFarlane. The coming of age drama is set to open in selected U.S. theaters on June 14, 2002. Based on the 1992 debut novel by Chris Fuhrman and directed by Peter Care, the film stars Kieran Culkin and Emile Hirsch as budding comic artists who are constantly at odds with their strict Catholic school teacher, Sister Assumpta (Jodie Foster).
He's no Michael Jordan, but Brendan Fraser (THE MUMMY, GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE) has signed on to be the live-action star in Warner Bros. Pictures new live-action/animation feature film LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION (what no SPACE JAM II?). Production is scheduled to begin on July 29, 2002, in southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada, with animation production at the Warner Bros. Animation facilities in Sherman Oaks, California.
The CIA thriller THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, with visual effects by Rhythm & Hues, came in at number one again this weekend, earning $18.7M for a two-week total of $61.7M. The Ya-Ya's battled the Clones to take second, as chick-flick THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD earned $16.3M in its debut weekend and STAR WARS: EPISODE II, with visual effects by ILM, dropped to third with $13.8M and a four-week cume of $254.9M.
Vinton Studios has created a computer animated short that will screen at the opening of the SIGGRAPH 2002 Animation Theater. WASHED UP stars a scruffy looking beach bum who is shown getting spruced up for his trip to Texas for SIGGRAPH 2002. He puts on his cowboy hat and boots, and even a Texas star embossed pocket protector. As the story unfolds, it is revealed that he is actually stranded on a desert island and in his haste has forgotten the most important part of his outfit -- his pants.
Comic book and outer space heroes lost to a CIA operative in this weekend's box office, with action-thriller THE SUM OF ALL FEARS taking the top box office spot. Based on a novel by Tom Clancy with visual effects by Rhythm & Hues, the film took in $31.2M. SUM's number one debut added up to second place for STAR WARS: EPISODE II, with the attacking clones earning $20.6M this weekend, representing nearly a 60% drop from last weekend's 3-day box office. Ouch. This gives the space saga, with visual effects by ILM, $232M after three weeks in theaters.
Twentieth Century Fox has announced February 14, 2003 as the new release date for DAREDEVIL, the next comics-to-film epic. Moving the debut from January to February to take advantage of opening over the four-day (U.S.) Presidents' Day holiday, the studio can only be hoping to grab the record-breaking box office that other comics-inspired superhero (SPIDER-MAN) has been spinning over the past few weeks. DAREDEVIL stars Ben Affleck in the title role, a blind vigilante with ultra-heightened other senses and incredible acrobatic abilities.
DreamWorks' SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON couldn't win the holiday box office race, but it came in a respectable fourth. Facing up to the challenge of STAR WARS: EPISODE II "ATTACK OF THE CLONES" second weekend and the tenacious hold of SPIDER-MAN, SPIRIT trotted into fourth place with $23M and generally good reviews, meaning this might be one traditionally-animated pony you can bet on for a solid summer box office.
The eagerly anticipated second act of George Lucas' space drama, STAR WARS: EPISODE II "ATTACK OF THE CLONES" has debuted with the highest weekday box office ever. Posting better opening day receipts than its predecessor EPISODE I, which debuted with $28.5M, EPISODE II opened in theaters at midnight on Thursday, May 16 and racked up a record-breaking $30.1M for the day. Although SPIDER-MAN still holds the one-day opening record with $39.3M, it opened on a Friday, which is considered a weekend day.
Composer James Venable will be going into the studio this month to score Cartoon Network's first feature THE POWERPUFF GIRLS MOVIE, which opens July 3, 2002. The film, directed by Craig McCracken, is based on the television series that chronicles the adventures of girl superheroes. The score incorporates both orchestral and electronic compositions. Venable is best known for scoring THE POWERPUFF GIRLS television series on the Cartoon Network, which also features a blend of traditional orchestral sound and non-orchestral techno.
Marvel's comic book superhero spun yet another record, along with massive box office receipts as SPIDER-MAN dominated the number one spot for the second weekend in a row. The film, with visual effects by Sony Imageworks, earned $72M in its second frame for a total gross of $223.6M, making it the fastest film ever to reach the $200M mark. SPIDER-MAN crossed $200M on Saturday May 11th, 9 days after it was released. This beats the previous record held by STAR WARS: EPISODE I which took 13 days to earn $200M.
SPIDER-MAN's record-breaking success means movie-goers can look forward to many more superhero flicks at the box office in the coming years, including another installment of the trials and tribulations of Peter Parker and his arachnid alter ego. Marvel Enterprises recently announced it received a seven-figure advance for the sequel to SPIDER-MAN, which will reunite stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst and director Sam Raimi, and is scheduled to hit screens in 2004.
Grossing a whopping $114.8M in its debut weekend, Sony Pictures' action- adventure SPIDER-MAN, with visual effects by Sony Imageworks, dominated the box office this weekend, setting all kinds of records along the way. Along with becoming the highest grossing debut in motion picture history, (besting previous record holder HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE, which debuted with $90.3M in November 2001), the film also had the best single day gross (Saturday, May 4, 2002: $43.6M vs. HARRY POTTER's $33.5M) and became the fastest film to cross $100M, reaching that milestone in just three days.
Topping the box office for the second weekend in a row, THE SCORPION KING, with visual effects by Centropolis FX, took in $17.6M for a two-week total of $60.8M. However, THE SCORPION KING should be on the look out for SPIDER-MAN, who will no doubt dominate the box office next weekend, when it debuts on May 3rd. Psychological drama CHANGING LANES took second place again this weekend, earning $9M with $44.6M to date. Two new releases took third and fourth place with weak debuts.
Coming on the heels of an announcement that the latest Disney/Pixar collaboration, MONSTERS, INC., has become the second highest grossing animated film of all-time, the two companies have announced their next three films. First up is FINDING NEMO. Set in Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the film follows two fish, a father and his son Nemo, who become separated undersea. FINDING NEMO is set for release in summer 2003, and is written and directed by Andrew Stanton, co-director and co-screenwriter of A BUG'S LIFE. It stars the voice talent of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres and Willem Dafoe.
Disney/Pixar's MONSTERS, INC., has usurped SHREK to become the second highest grossing animated film of all-time (behind only Disney's THE LION KING). The film has earned $504 million to date, comprised of $253 million in domestic box office receipts and $251.2 million in international box office receipts, where it has set records in Japan ($59.1 million, the most successful U.S. animated film ever), England ($53 million), Mexico ($20.1 million) and Spain ($13.5 million). Commenting on the announcement, Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, said, "MONSTERS, INC.