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Category: Films

Headline News Rodriguez's Resignation from DGA Throws 'Mars' Out of Orbit

Robert Rodriguez's recently resignation from the DGA has thrown a wrench into Paramount's development of sci-fi epic, A PRINCESS OF MARS, which was to be Rodriguez follow-up to his current project SIN CITY, reports VARIETY. Because Paramount is a DGA signatory thus required to employ only guild directors. Rodriguez resigned from the guild so he could sidestep co-directing rules on SIN CITY, which will be co-directed by the graphic novel's creator Frank Miller and guest directed by Quentin Tarantino.

Headline News Giant Killer Robots Tackles Blade: Trinity and Son of the Mask

Hot off its recent work on SCOOBY-DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED, San Francisco-based Giant Killer Robots (GKR) is now concentrating on two upcoming New Line features for release in 2004: BLADE: TRINITY and SON OF THE MASK.

Headline News Lucasfilm Announces Episode III Release Date

Lucasfilm has announced that STAR WARS: EPISODE III will be released to theaters in the U.S. and Canada on Thursday, May 19, 2005. The release will be nearly simultaneous around the globe. In Japan, the film will be released in July, the month in which all previous STAR WARS premiered.

Headline News Barbershop Director Takes on Fantastic Four

BARBERSHOP director Tim Story has signed on to direct 20th Century Fox and Marvel's FANTASTIC FOUR, reports LATINO REVIEW. It has been rumored that THE SHIELD star Michael Chiklis is being eye for the Benjamin Grimm/The Thing role and Tim Robbins may play Dr. Doom. George Clooney has long been rumored to be the top choice to play Four leader Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic.

Headline News Hellboy Rules; Home on the Range Disappoints

The debut of Sony/Revolution's HELLBOY (with vfx by The Orphanage, Tippett Studio, Eden FX, HimAnI Prods., among others) heated up the weekend box office ended April 4, 2004 with $23.1M. MGM's WALKING TALL remake with the Rock bowed in second place with $15.5M.

Headline News Home on the Range Last Roundup for Hand-Drawn Theatrical Features at Disney

Disneys western-themed HOME ON THE RANGE, which opens April 2, signals the last of the studios 2D animated theatrical features, according to studio chief Dick Cook. He told REUTERS that there are currently no more hand-drawn projects on the film slate. It is where things are going, Cook said about 3D animation. "I don't think it is the end of an era. I think hand-drawn animation will continue in one form or another," he added. Yet Cook defended RANGE, calling the comedy a kick.

Headline News Hatchling to Debut Animated Movie Teaser

Hatchling Studios is currently in pre-production on its first foray into filmmaking, FLARE, an animated family feature about an abandoned baby dragon discovered in a suburban home by a young girl. A 60-second promo will be shown for the first time at the "e-Brew" high-tech networking event, upstairs at The Press Room in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on April 1, at 7:00 pm.

Headline News Zemeckis to Direct Transformers?

Coming in from Wizard World's Los Angeles convention, producer Tom DeSanto revealed to Inland Empire Strikes Back (www.iesb.net) that Oscar-winning FOREST GUMP director Robert Zemeckis will helm THE TRANSFORMERS feature. In addition, the site claims that New Line Cinema will distribute the film and TV series' voice actors Frank Welker and Peter Cullen will reprise their roles. The tentative date for the film's release is Dec. 2006. Until further confirmation can be made this is just hearsay, but both Zemeckis and New Line have been attached to possible participators in the past.

Headline News Linklater's Scanner Darkly To Be Animated Like Waking Life

Richard Linklater has announced that his film adaptation of Philip K. Dick's A SCANNER DARKLY will be treated with the same digital rotoscoping technology used on his film WAKING LIFE. VARIETY also reports that Keanu Reeves has signed to star in the Warner Independent Pictures and Thousand Words production.

Set in the future, the story follows an undercover agent who becomes addicted to the face-changing drug Substance D that splits his personality.

Headline News Scooby-Doo 2 Unleashes Winning Box Office Formula

Warner Bros. SCOOBY-DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED (with vfx by Rhythm & Hues) took the box office derby for the weekend period ended March 28, 2004, bowing with a whopping $29.4M. Buena Vistas THE LADYKILLERS, on the strength of Tom Hanks and the Coen brothers, debuted in second with $12.6M.

Headline News Cook Envisions Toy Story 3 Feature

Walt Disney Co. studio chief Dick Cook said on Friday that he sees TOY STORY 3 as a feature rather than a DVD-premiere project such as LION KING 1 1/2. Cook was in San Antonio, Texas, to promote THE ALAMO, which debuts April 9. He also said in an interview with REUTERS that he doesnt anticipate Pixars participation in the sequel.

Headline News Lion, Witch and Wardrobe VFX Awarded to Rhythm & Hues

VFXWorld has learned that Walden Media has selected Rhythm & Hues to recreate the beloved characters for the upcoming movie based on C.S. Lewis classic childrens tale, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, a co-production with Walt Disney Pictures. According to Richard Hollander, president of R & H's film division, the studio is in the process of building its team from within R & H.

Headline News HimAnI Prods. Completes Full Slate of VFX Work

HimAnI Prods. has completed work on SCOOBY-DOO 2, HELLBOY and TREMORS 4 and continues contributing effects shots to the hit ABC TV series ALIAS.

For Warner Bros.' SCOOBY DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED (opening March 26), HimAnI designed, created and produced more than 30 vfx shots. These range from matte paintings and set extensions to the creation of "ghost ships" and an animated "ghost sword." HimAnI worked directly with visual effects supervisor Peter Crosman.

Headline News Barnyard & Mighty Mouse Listed on Nick Movies Star-Studded Production Slate

Nickelodeon Movies has announced a stellar CG and live-action production slate, featuring Hollywood heavyweights like Will Smith, Jim Carrey, Jude Law, Meryl Streep, Scarlett Johansson, Alec Baldwin; directors John Woo (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2) and John Schultz (LIKE MIKE); along with writers Steve Oedekerk (BRUCE ALMIGHTY) and David Berenbaum (ELF).

Headline News Orphanage Adopts Stray Toasters Graphic Novel Adaptation

The Orphanage has announced that it will produce a film adaptation of Bill Sienkiewicz's graphic novel, STRAY TOASTERS, reported VARIETY. The pic will be directed by Jeff Renfroe and Marteinn Thorsson, whose ONE POINT O feature competed at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Sienkiewicz, Renfroe and Thorsson have all contributed on the screenplay. Orphanage head of production Amy Israel will produce with R.D. Robb, Renfroe, Thorsson and Sienkiewicz.

Headline News Kantana Group Lands US Talent for Thai Toon Feature

Thailand-based The Kantana Group has hired U.S. animation vets Tod Polson and Aaron Sorenson to direct its feature animated film, KHUAN KLUAY, reports VARIETY. The studio hopes to make the film the first from Thailand to be released simultaneously throughout Asia in April 2005. A third of the project's $2.5 million budget is being funded by The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, which is providing tax breaks for imported software and ponying up the cash for the film's marketing. The story follows an abandoned elephant that saves his homeland from its enemies.

Headline News yU + co Probes Killer's Mind in Taking Lives Main Title

yU + co delves into the dark and disturbing world of serial murder in its wonderfully creepy main title sequence for D. J. Caruso's psychological thriller TAKING LIVES. The Warner Bros. release, about a murderer who assumes the identities of his victims, opened nationwide on March 19, 2004.

Headline News Dead Overtakes The Passion for Number One

DAWN OF THE DEAD prevented Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST from winning the box office four weeks in a row. Universal's remake of the cult horror film (with vfx by Camera e-Motion and Mr. X) took in $26.7M to lead the weekend period ended March 21, 2004. Meanwhile, THE PASSION (with vfx by Keith Vanderlaan's Captive Audience Prods.) collected another $19.4M for a second place finish on its way to $295.5M. The Newmarket release continues to add screens in anticipation of a huge Easter weekend April 9-11.

Headline News Phillipe Druillet's Nosferatu Comic Becomes CG Feature

Wolfland Pictures is in production on a CG feature based on Phillipe Druillet's post-apocalyptic graphic novel NOSFERATU. The comedic tale safe to Earth on the brink of destruction and its only hope is a bumbling vampire. Druillet, best known as one of the founders of HEAVY METAL magazine, will supervise the production. Jean Rochefort (MAN ON THE TRAIN) will voice the lead character. Wolfland previously produced 14 episodes of ARZAK RHAPSODY, which was created by Jean "Moebius" Giraud. In 1991, an English version of NOSFERATU was published by Dark Horse Comics.

Headline News The Passion and NASCAR 3D Break Records

In only its third weekend, Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (with vfx by Keith Vanderlaan's Captive Audience Prods.) passed MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING as the all-time indie box office champ, ringing in $32.1M for a total gross of $264.5M for Newmarket. That puts it fourth on the list of best third weekend performers, behind SPIDER-MAN, TITANIC, STAR WARS: EPISODE I -THE PHANTOM MENACE.

Headline News Seabiscuit Helmer Toons into Despereaux Feature

Gary Ross, writer/director of the Academy Award-nominated live action feature SEABISCUIT, has begun development on an animated feature based on Kate DiCamillo's Newberry Medal-winning children's book, THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX: BEING THE STORY OF A MOUSE, A PRINCESS, SOME SOUP, AND A SPOOL OF THREAD, reported HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Universal Pictures optioned the novel and Ross will produce the film at his Larger Than Prods. The story follows an exiled mouse, a light-loving rat and a young servant girl with cauliflower ears as their lives get mix-up with a princess.

Headline News Warner Bros. To Release YU-GI-OH!: The Movie Aug. 13

4Kids Entertainment Inc. made a deal Warner Bros. Pictures to distribute YU-GI-OH!: THE MOVIE, the first theatrical motion picture based on the hit YU-GI-OH! animated TV series. YU-GI-OH!: THE MOVIE produced by 4Kids Entertainment in association with Shueisha, TV Tokyo and Nihon AD-Systems will be released across the U.S. on Aug. 13, 2004 and will be released internationally in markets outside of Asia beginning in late August 2004.

Headline News Firefly Makes Serene Jump from TV to Big Screen

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER creator Joss Whedon will bring his cult TV series FIREFLY to the big screen in his feature film directorial debut, SERENITY. The film will be set six months after the end of the TV series and continue the adventures of the crew of the spaceship Serenity. Barry Mendel (THE SIXTH SENSE, UNBREAKABLE) will produce with Chris Buchanan, president of Whedon's Mutant Enemy production company, and Alisa Tager of Barry Mendel Prods. serving as exec producers.

Headline News The Passion Tops $200M

In only its second weekend, Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST topped $200M for Newmarket, the third quickest movie in history to do so. Taking in $53.2M on an additional 127 screens for the period ended March 7, 2004, THE PASSION led the box office chart in what appears to be a phenomenon in the making. At $213.8M, the controversial Passion Play should land somewhere between $300M and $400M, depending how long it plays past Easter.

Headline News There’s No Stopping The Passion

Mel Gibsons THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST continued its assault on the box office this week, racking up $10.1M on Monday, $9.2M on Tuesday, $8.4M on Wednesday and $7.6M on Thursday, bringing its nine-day total to an astounding $160.6M. To put these numbers into perspective, RETURN OF THE KING earned $171.M during a comparable period, while SPIDER-MAN earned $202M, but that covered two weekends. Box office information obtained from boxofficemojo.com.

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