The disappointing summer ended with a bang, as Foxs action thriller, TRANSPORTER 2 (with vfx by big red pixel), broke the Labor Day opening record with $20.1M for the holiday period ended Sept. 5, 2005. Overall, the Labor Day box office topped last years, as the summer closed 9% lower than the record-breaking 94 season.
Kidtoon Films, a company that distributes family films to theaters for weekend morning screenings, has announced it has acquired two new Warner Bros. Animation titles the Tom & Jerry feature THE FAST AND THE FURRY and SCOOBY-DOO IN WHERE'S MY MUMMY? Kidtoon programs also include shorts and sing-alongs.
"The Kidtoon Film promotional theatrical release brings beloved classic characters in new, fun-filled movies to the big screen for kids," said Dorinda Marticorena, vp of kids and sports marketing for Warner Home Video.
MAGNIFICENT DESOLATION: WALKING ON THE MOON 3D, a Playtone/IMAX 3D space film, presented and narrated by Tom Hanks, will feature an all-star voice cast of top Hollywood talent, including Paul Newman, Matt Damon, Matthew McConaughey, Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Gary Sinise and Bill Paxton. It opens exclusively in IMAX theaters starting Sept. 23.
MILLION DOLLAR BABY scribe Paul Haggis has been hired to rewrite the script for Sony and MGM's 21st installment of the lucrative Bond franchise, according to HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The movie is based on the 1953 Ian Fleming novel, CASINO ROYALE, which is the first, darkest and most violent of the Bond books. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who penned the Bond films THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH and DIE ANOTHER DAY, took the spin at the screenplay.
For the second consecutive week, THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN ruled the box office for the weekend ended Aug. 28, 2005, the first time an R-rated film has done so since last years THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. The Universal comedy raked in $16.2M for a total of $48.5M. Dimensions THE BROTHERS GRIMM (with vfx by Peerless Camera Co. Ltd., Lip Sync Post and Artem Ltd.) bowed in second with $15M. DreamWorks RED EYE (with vfx by Digital Dream) slipped to third place with $10.2M for a two-week cume of $32.5M. Paramounts FOUR BROTHERS (with vfx by Mr.
With Stephen Sommers, leaving the project, Paramount has tapped Steven Spielberg to produce their remake of sci-fi flick, WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, according to the trades. The 1951 original was an inspiration for 1998s DEEP IMPACT, which Spielberg produced. In addition to wrapping up directing on MUNICH, Spielberg is producing DreamWorks' upcoming MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and Sony's LEGEND OF ZORRO. For Paramount, hes been working with George Lucas and writer Jeff Nathanson on the development of a fourth INDIANA JONES film.
With Jim Carrey declining to reprise his role in a BRUCE ALMIGHTY sequel, Universal has tapped the original films co-star Steve Carell to reprise his role as Bruces anchorman nemesis, giving him a mission to build a new ark in preparation for second Great Flood, according to VARIETY. Titled EVAN ALMIGHTY, the film will garner THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN star close to $5 million. Thats 10 times what he earned for VIRGIN.
Screenwriter Zach Helm will make his directing debut filming his script MR. MAGORIUM'S WONDER EMPORIUM, reports VARIETY. Natalie Portman is set to star in the family film along with Dustin Hoffman. When the owner of a magical toy store dies, the shop is willed to his manager (Portman), who struggles with depression and keeping the business alive. Film Colony and Mandate Pictures are producing. James Garavente and Richard N. Gladstein will serves as producers with Jim Miller co-producing. Exec producer will be Nathan Kahane.
SEVEN SWORDS, a new epic Chinese feature film by director Tsui Hark, was realized with six of Autodesk's media and entertainment solutions. Based on Liang Yu-Shen's classic novel SEVEN SWORDSMEN FROM MOUNT TIAN, the film will be released worldwide in fall 2005.
London-based Moving Picture Co. (MPC) will handle VFX work on director Danny Boyles latest sci-fi feature, THE UNTITLED SUNSHINE PROJECT, announced this week by DNA Films and Fox Searchlight Pictures. MPCs vfx supervisor is Tom Wood (KINGDOM OF HEAVEN). Principal photography began Aug. 22 in London. Boyle is once again teamed up with scribe Alex Garland, who last worked together on 28 DAYS LATER, which MPC also worked on.
IDT Ent. announced that Rob Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Brian Dennehy, William H. Macy, Mandy Patinkin, Dana Reeve, Robert Wagner, Richard Kind, Raven-Symone and New York Yankees manager Joe Torre will head an all-star voice cast in its first CG-animated feature film, YANKEE IRVING. In addition, Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning composer John Debney will create the films original score.
Fox and Universal have finalized their deal with Microsoft to turn hit videogame HALO into a feature film for release summer 2007, according to VARIETY. As part of the deal, the studios will dole out $5 million against 10% of the gross to the house that Bill Gates built.
Universal will handle production and domestic distribution with Fox covering foreign distribution and will split revenues 50/50.
A researcher in Kyoto has discover a lost Japanese animated film made around 1900, making it the oldest of its kind in the country, reports MAINICHI INTERACTIVE.
Iconography expert Natsuki Matsumoto and animation historian Nobuyuki Tsugata at the Osaka University of Arts believe that the film was made roughly 10 years prior to an animation produced in 1917, which was previously deemed Japan's oldest.
Another R-rated comedy found its way to the top of the box office chart in its debut Universals THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN grossed $21.4M for the weekend ended Aug. 21, 2005. DreamWorks RED EYE, the Wes Craven airplane thriller (with vfx by Digital Dream), bowed in second with $16.1M.
Sahara Percept is set to make a major theatrical push for Silvertoons 2D animated feature, HANUMAN, reports ANIMATION 'XPRESS.
Sahara Motion Pictures coo Sandeep Bhargava said, "We are treating the 2D animated feature Hanuman as a mainstream release and will be giving it a full push on our part. We hope that the movie will be appreciated. For HANUMAN, we have a slew of marketing innovations and ground activities planned across the country. We also plan to develop and market merchandise around the movie.
Angelina Jolie will star as the queen of darkness in BEOWULF, director Robert Zemeckis latest feature that will rely on the same performance capture technique at Sony Pictures Imageworks (Imagemotion) used on THE POLAR EXPRESS and next summers MONSTER HOUSE, reports VARIETY.
Distribution may wind up at Paramount domestically and Warner Bros. internationally.
Jolie will play the queen that tempts the Viking that would be king. Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Brendan Gleeson, Robin Wright Penn and John Malkovich.
The 30th Toronto International Film Festival will be host to the battle of the stop-motion features as both DreamWorks and Aardman Animations WALLACE & GROMIT - THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT and Warner Bros. THE CORPSE BRIDE will be making their North American debuts at the event.
Directed by Nick Park, original creator of the Academy Award-winning clay-animated shorts, and Steve Box, THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT, stars the voices of Peter Sallis (who has voiced the role of Wallace in all of the shorts), Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter.
Nicole Kidman is set to star in a sci-fi thriller, INVASION, for Warner Bros. Joel Silver is producing through Silver Pictures, reports DAILY VARIETY. Silver chose Oliver Hirschbiegel, the German helmer of DOWNFALL, to direct INVASION as his first English-language studio feature.
David Kajganich penned the script about a behavior-changing epidemic that decimates the human race. Kidman will play a D.C. psychiatrist who figures out that extraterrestrials are behind the invasion and battles to protect her son, who may hold the key to stopping the takeover.
Warner Bros. Pictures is set to bring to life Frank Millers ancient Greece-set graphic novel, 300, into a feature film, according to VARIETY. Zack Snyder (DAWN OF THE DEAD remake) will direct and Atmosphere Pictures MM and Hollywood Gang Prods. are producing. Gerard Butler (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) will star. Filming will begin Oct. 17 in Montreal.
The true story follows 300 elite Spartan fighters who, led by King Leonidas (Butler), fought to the death against King Xerxes' overpowering Persian army during the battle of Thermopylae in 481-480 B.C.
Universal and THE BOURNE SUPREMACY director Paul Greengrass will make 9/11 inspired feature, FLIGHT 93 with production set to start October 1, according to VARIETY. Working Title Films partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce.
The $15 million film will run in realtime chronicling the takeoff and hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93 by terrorists. The drama will follow the discovery of the passengers that other planes had been hijacked and crashed into buildings and their decision to take over the plane themselves.
IMAX Corp. and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that BATMAN BEGINS: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE is now IMAX's highest grossing digitally re-mastered 2D release, reaching the milestone in less than nine weeks. With total grosses of $14.5 million on 72 worldwide IMAX screens, it eclipses the record set by THE MATRIX RELOADED: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE, which grossed a little more than $14 million in 22 weeks. For the three-day period from Aug. 12 to Aug.
Paramounts action-packed FOUR BROTHERS (with vfx support from Mr. X and Creature Effects) debuted in the top spot for the weekend ended Aug. 14, 2005, with $21.1M. But the slump continued as the top 12 movies were off by 16% from last years numbers. Another newcomer, Universals frightener, THE SKELETON KEY (with vfx from Rhythm + Hues), bowed in second with $16M. Sinking to third was Warner Bros. THE DUKES OF HAZZARD, which managed only $13M for a two-week cume of $57.4M. New Lines WEDDING CRASHERS landed in fourth place with $11.8M and $163.8M to date.
LORD OF THE RINGS actor Karl Urban is in talks to star in PATHFINDER, a Viking epic produced by Phoenix Pictures and director Marcus Nispel (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake), according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. 20th Century Fox will distribute.
The film is a remake of Nils Gaups 1987 Norwegian picture, which Phoenix acquired the rights to in 2001. The original followed Norway's warlike clans around the year 1000 A.D., however the redo script from scribe Laeta Kalogridis (ALEXANDER) moves the action to North America around the same time.
India s first live-action/animation hybrid feature, BHAGMATI THE QUEEN OF FORTUNES, is set for release, reports NewIndPress.com. The work was completed entirely in three years by 120 animators from Z.I.C.A. (Zee Institute of Creative Arts).
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.