Christian Slater has signed on to lend his voice for the title character, IGOR, in Exodus Film Groups CGI-animated short film, IGOR: UNHOLY FRIJOLES that precedes the feature length theatrical version Igor, due out in 2007.
LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS visual effects supervisor Stefen Fangmeier will make his directorial debut on the film adaptation of ERAGON, reports PRODUCTION WEEKLY. Production on the Fox 2000 picture will begin in July in Europe. JURASSIC PARK III scribe Peter Buchman adapted the screenplay from Christopher Paolinis bestselling fantasy novel. The story follows a farmboy who discovers a dragon egg, which leads to him becoming a Dragon Riders and battling a wicked king.
Paramount Pictures has acquired the film rights to Robert Kirkman's Image Comics title, INVINCIBLE, reports VARIETY. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Circle of Confusion partner David Alpert will produce the film for the studio. Kirkman will adapt the superhero comic, which tells the trials and tribulations of teenaged Mark Grayson, whose father is the worlds most powerful superhero. Circle's Lawrence Mattis, Jason Lust and David Engel will exec produce. Di Bonaventura's vp Erik Howsam, who brought the property to the studio, will shepherd the project.
Fox 2000 has optioned Stuart Hill's fantasy bestseller THE CRY OF THE ICEMARK, reports VARIETY. London-based Jigsaw Films Courtney Pledger and Sarah Radclyffe are set to produce. The book's U.K. publisher Barry Cunningham will serve as exec producer via his year-old Chicken House Ent. division, which handles the film and TV rights of his authors.
The quasi-Nordic prehistoric tale follows a teenage queen and her best friend as they form an alliance with werewolves, vampires and talking snow leopards to battle a massive army that is invading their homeland.
Legendary producer Robert Evans and comicbook genius Stan Lee are set to produce a new superhero franchise for Paramount Pictures titled, FOREVERMAN, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. HELLBOY scribe Peter Briggs will pen the screenplay in collaboration with Lee. Idiom Films will produce the feature along with Evans and Lees POW! Ent. No details have released about the characters or story.
IMAX Corp. and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that BATMAN BEGINS will be simultaneously released to IMAX and conventional 35mm theatres on June 17, 2005. The film, which explores the origins of the Batman legend and the Dark Knight's emergence as a force for good in Gotham, will be digitally re-mastered into the IMAX Experience with proprietary IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology for the IMAX release. Warner Bros. Pictures will be the exclusive distributor of BATMAN BEGINS to IMAX theatres worldwide.
Peru's Alpamayo Ent. has launched the countrys first 3D feature titled PIRATAS EN EL CALLAO (PIRATES IN CALLAO), reports VARIETY. The film will be adapted from Hernan Garrido Leccas book of the same name, which chronicles the adventures of a young boy who time-travels to the 17th century to fight pirates off the coast of Peru. Eduardo Schuldt directed the film.
Lions Gates DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN toppled Sonys HITCH during the Oscar weekend for the period ended Feb. 27, 2005, ringing up $21.9M vs. $20.4M for the popular Will Smith comedy that has taken in a mighty cume of $121.4M.
DreamWorks has tapped AMERICAN PIE 2 writer David H. Steinberg to pen the animated feature, PUSS IN BOOTS, based on the character voiced by Antonio Banderas in SHREK 2, reports VARIETY. Steinberg will get a six-figure salary for the script. DreamWorks hopes to release the film in 2008 and Banderas has agreed to return as the voice of the swashbuckling feline. No official word has been announced whether the film will be a direct-to-video project or a theatrical release.
MATRIX producer Joel Silver confirmed that BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER creator Joss Whedon is being talked with to write and direct a new film version of WONDER WOMAN, reports SCI FI WIRE.
"I'm trying," Silver said in an interview at WonderCon in San Francisco on Feb. 19, 2005. "I'm trying to work a deal with Joss... I was just in the other room [where Whedon was talking about his upcoming SF movie, SERENITY]. I don't know if I could work that out. It's a complicated deal to do, but I would love him to do it. It would be great if he could do it."
Texas Instruments DLP Cinema technology, the digital cinema projection system deployed in movie theaters worldwide, played a supporting role during the production and post-production process for Martin Scorseses THE AVIATOR, which garnered 11 Oscar nominees.
Italian digital studio Videa VFX has signed on to do visual effects work on LAUGHING WATER, an Italian, British and Czech co-production based on the German novel, MINE HA HA, about the mysterious disappearance of girls at a school surrounded by a fairy tale atmosphere with dark forests and gloomy lakes.
VFXWORLD contributor Gianluca Dentici will serve as vfx supervisor, with John Irvin directing and Dante Ferretti doing the production design. Jacqueline Bisset co-stars as the headmistress.
HITCH, the Will Smith romantic comedy, seduced another $36.7M for Sony over the Presidents Day Weekend box office period ended Feb. 21, 2005. That gives it a two-week cume of $95M. Debuting in second with $33.6M was Warner Bros. CONSTANTINE, the supernatural thriller with Keanu Reeves, based on the HELLBLAZER graphic novel (with vfx by ESC Ent., Tippett Studio, Hydraulx and Spectrum Effects). Foxs warm-hearted BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE bowed in third with $13.2M.
STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH will open the 58th Cannes Film Festival on May 11, reports Londons DAILY MAIL. The final STAR WARS film, which hits theaters on May 19, will kick off proceedings on the Croisette, joining a long tradition of high-profile launches.
Warner Bros. has secured the screen rights to Welsh author Jenny Nimmos MIDNIGHT FOR CHARLIE BONE and the four additional books in the fantasy series, reports VARIETY. WB-based Thunder Roads Basil Iwanyk and Alysia Cotter will produce. Neil Alsip will adapt the books. WB execs Lynn Harris and Geoff Shaevitz will oversee the project for the studio.
Disney Animation has secured the rights to Dave Barry and Ridley Pearsons bestselling children's book PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS with the intent to turn it into a CGI feature, reports VARIETY.
The loose prequel to PETER PAN follows 8-year-old Peter, shipmate Molly and a group of orphaned boy on the ship Never Land as they attempt to recover a trunk of magical starstuff, before the pirate Black Stache gets him hands on it.
Disney Editions published the book in August 2004.
Columbia-based Escape Artists has hired I, ROBOT director Alex Proyas to helm the supernatural thriller, KNOWING, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Originally DONNIE DARKO director Richard Kelly was attracted to direct and Proyas will film off Kellys rewrite of Ryne Pearsons original screenplay. Steve Tisch, Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and David Alper are set to produce.
Universal Pictures has secured the rights to Terry Brooks' book series MAGIC KINGDOM FOR SALE, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. THE MUMMY director Stephen Sommers will direct and produce. Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel will adapt the screenplay. Sommers Universal-based Sommers Co. partner Bob will produce with Circle of Confusions David Alpert.
The first volume of the series follows a widowed attorney who leaves his old life behind when he responds to a mysterious ad and spends his fortune to purchase a magical kingdom.
Sony Pictures will release XXX, HELLBOY, RESIDENT EVIL 2 and ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO for the PSP on April 19, 2005, reports VARIETY. SPIDER-MAN 2 will be bundled with the first million PSP units. Pricing on the PSP flicks will be announced later next week. Sony Pictures Home Ent. plans to release four to five catalog films each week for the PSP. Since the launched of PSP in Japan in December, more than one million universal media disc (UMD) movies have been sold.
Lumina Films has hired regional stars to voice characters for each territory version of its CG feature, MIDSUMMER DREAM, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
For the U.K., Rhys Ifans, Toby Blessed and Brian Blessed have been signed on. For Spanish-speaking territories Gabino Diego, Jose Luis Gil, Emma Penella, Isabel Ordaz, Gemma Cuervo and Carmen Machi have been hired
The Foundrys Furnace proved to be an invaluable set of tools when Mumbai-based vfx studio VCL (Visual Computing Labs, a division Tata Elxsi) recently provided the 3D elements and compositing for the forthcoming Yash Raj feature, DHOOM. Led by VCLs creative director and vfx supervisor, Pankaj Khandpur, the team consisted of around eight compositors with the remainder working in 3D who, in less than eight weeks, completed 553 vfx shots, with Furnace being used on more than100 of them, for rig and wire removal.
Sony held the first three spots on the box office chart for the Valentines Weekend ended Feb. 13, 2005, with the Will Smith-starrer, HITCH, breaking the record for romantic comedy bows with $43.1M. Screen Gems BOOGEYMAN followed with $10.2 and a two-week cume of $32.7M and Sonys ARE WE THERE YET? picked up $8.2M and $61.2M. Clint Eastwoods Oscar contender, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, moved up to fourth with some big mo, knocking down another $7.4M and $44.9M so far.
20th Century Fox, which had been planning a Fourth of July-themed launch for FANTASTIC FOUR, has rescheduled the Marvel superhero actioner from July 1 to July 8, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. That cedes the holiday weekend to Steven Spielbergs WAR OF THE WORLDS juggernaut, starring Tom Cruise, with vfx by Industrial Light & Magic, which opens June 29 for Paramount Pictures.
FANTASTIC FOUR, with vfx by Canadas Soho VFX and Spectral Motion, will now go up against Sony Pictures BEWITCHED, with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, and vfx by Imageworks.
Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi (the ED TV series) have been brought on board to pen the feature adaptation of THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX for Universal Pictures, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Sylvain Chomet (THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE) is directing, while Gary Ross is producing through his Larger Than Life Prods. with partner Allison Thomas.
The project is based on the book, THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX: BEING THE STORY OF A MOUSE, A PRINCESS, SOME SOUP, AND A SPOOL OF THREAD, by Kate DiCamillo (BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE). It won the 2004 Newbery Medal for children's literature.
BOOGEYMAN is the latest scary movie to take the box office derby, this time for the weekend of Super Bowl XXXIX ended Feb. 6, 2005. The ScreenGems thriller slashed its way to $19M, killing Universals second place finisher, THE WEDDING DATE, which bowed with $11.1M. Sonys ARE WE THERE YET? followed in third place with $10.6M and $51.2M. Foxs HIDE AND SEEK, last weeks winner, dropped to the fourth spot in its second week with $8.9M and $35.7M.