Framestore CFC will be supervising the visual effects for THUNDERBIRDS, the forthcoming live-action movie based on Gerry Anderson's 1960s puppet-animated TV series. The series has enjoyed a huge resurgence of popularity recently, following its re-screenings on BBC2 in the UK and on TechTV in the U.S. The live-action version of THUNDERBIRDS will feature the Tracy brothers memorable spacecraft as well as Tracy Island, the elaborately mechanized tropical base of the International Rescue team.
The urban drama 8 MILE, starring rap artist Eminem, took in a surprising $54.4M in its debut weekend, bumping last week's number one THE SANTA CLAUSE 2 down a notch. The family-friendly CLAUSE 2, with visual effects by Tippett Studios and GVFX, earned $28.4M for a two-week total of $60.1M. Psychological thriller THE RING, with visual effects by Method Studios, Rhythm & Hues, Asylum and Tippett Studios, moved to third, with $16M for a cume of $86.1M. Action-comedy I SPY, with visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks, added another $9M for a two-week take of $24.7M and fourth place.
Blur Studio has been contracted by Paramount Parks to produce a stereoscopic, computer-animated ride film based on the popular Nickelodeon cartoon series SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS. The attraction is slated to debut at Paramounts North American theme parks in the first quarter of 2003. Park patrons will don 3D glasses to experience the film in three dimensions. Blur Studios animation team will work directly with Nickelodeon in adapting the SpongeBob characters to the ride format.
THE SANTA CLAUSE 2, with visual effects by Tippet Studios and GVFX, got a jump on its holiday predecessors and wrapped up the top spot this weekend, earning $29.8M in its debut. Psychological thriller THE RING, with visual effects by Method Studios, Rhythm & Hues, Asylum and Tippet Studios, came in second for the second weekend in a row, with $18.5M for a three-week take of $64.9M. Debuting in third with $14.5M was the action-comedy I SPY, with visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks.
On November 7, 2002 the Short Film and Feature Animation executive committee will meet to discuss recommending that the Animated Feature Film category be awarded for the 75th Annual Academy Awards. The category was inaugurated in 2002, when SHREK became the first recipient of the Animated Feature Oscar. Based on the published rules for the Feature Animation category, the executive committee will discuss the eligibility of this year's submitted films.
The Academy Award nominated team behind JIMMY NEUTRON is bringing their next project to the really big screen. Opening at IMAX theaters on November 1, 2002 is SANTA VS. THE SNOWMAN 3D, the first-ever IMAX 3D (yes, funny glasses needed) animated holiday film. Created by Steve Oedekerk, directed by John A. Davis, with animation provided by DNA Productions and Omation, SANTA VS. THE SNOWMAN features the celebrity voices of Jonathan Winters, Ben Stein and Victoria Jackson.
A movie based on the MTV stunt show JACKASS took the top spot this weekend, booting DreamWorks' suspense flick THE RING down to second place. JACKASS: THE MOVIE debuted with a surprising $22.7M, the third highest grossing October debut ever. THE RING, with visual effects by Method Studios, Rhythm & Hues, Asylum and Tippett Studios, came in second with $18.7M, for a two-week total of $39.4M. Debuting in third with $11.5M was the spooky sea voyage GHOST SHIP, featuring visual effects by Photon VFX.
Sony Pictures Animation has acquired a pitch from FAST AND THE FURIOUS screenwriter Gary Scott Thompson that takes place in the mythical paradise of Shangri-La. Known for edgy material, Thompson, whose credits also include HOLLOW MAN, might not be the most obvious choice for animated fare. But Sony Animation VP Penney Finkelman Cox explained, "Thats exactly what makes Garys point of view as a writer so appealing to our creative instincts.
SCORPION KING star and wrestling champ The Rock may be cooking up a plan to play Johnny Bravo in the live-action feature film adaptation of the animated series. According to VARIETY, Warner Bros. Pictures has acquired the JOHNNY BRAVO feature film rights from Cartoon Network and creator Van Partible (who will exec. produce) in hopes of putting The Rock in the starring role. Neal Moritz and Marty Adelstein will produce for Warner Bros. via their Original Film production banner.
DreamWorks' new thriller THE RING, with visual effects by Tippett Studios, Rhythm & Hues and Asylum, debuted at number one this weekend with $15M. The film is a remake of the Japanese hit RINGU, about a cursed videotape that causes all those who watch it to die within seven days. THE RING certainly put a curse on RED DRAGON, which dropped to third after holding the top spot for two weeks. The serial killer thriller, with visual effects by Cinesite, earned $8.8M for a two-week total of $77.8M. JONAH: A VEGGIETALES MOVIE has edged out action comedy THE TUXEDO for eighth place.
C21 Media reports that Jim Henson Pictures' TIME DOGS will be the first project for The Shop Productions, a new Canadian animation company set up by former Mainframe Entertainment president and CEO Ian Pearson. The CG animated comedy was written by Christopher Leone and Laura Harkcom and stars Zack and Dingo, a real dog and a robot dog. The two friends must travel through time to save their master, inventor Dr Quirk, and all dogs from a life of slavery under the Grand High Dogcatcher.
Last week's number one film, RED DRAGON, held off six new wide-release films this weekend to hang on to the top spot. The thriller, with visual effects by Cinesite, earned $17.6M for a two-week total of $67.2M. Theatergoers are still sweet on SWEET HOME ALABAMA, which stayed in second adding $14.1M, for a total of $84.5M. Two new releases the romance BROWN SUGAR and the action flick THE TRANSPORTER, took third and forth, with $11M and $9.1M, respectively.
Opening in just 940 theaters, JONAH: A VEGGIETALES MOVIE had a solid debut weekend, earning $6.5M for sixth place. A retelling of the biblical story of Jonah, starring a humble cast of vegetables, JONAH will expand into more theaters this Friday, ramping up to wide release on October 18th. Given the popularity of the VEGGIETALES stories, and that this is the first family-friendly release since August, JONAH looks to have some staying power at the box office. The number one film this weekend was RED DRAGON, the "prequel" to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and HANNIBAL. The thriller debuted with $37.5M.
The high-tech suit worn by Jackie Chan in the action comedy THE TUXEDO didn't protect the film from being solidly trounced by Reese Witherspoon's romantic comedy SWEET HOME ALABAMA, as the two new releases battled it out for the top spot. SWEET HOME ALABAMA landed in first place with $35.6M, while THE TUXEDO, with visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks, had a so-so $15M debut, which was good for second. Last week's number one film BARBERSHOP moved to third with $10M and a two-week total of $51.3M. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING landed in fourth with $9.4M and a cume of $136.6M.
Premiering in just 26 theaters up against four major wide releases, Hayao Miyazaki's SPIRITED AWAY averaged an amazing $17,307 per screen average for $450,000 and 18th place. The film is currently playing in ten cities and will expand into more North American locations on October 4. Last week's number one film BARBERSHOP cut down the competition, staying in first place with $13.3M and a two-week total of $38.8M. In second place is the comedy THE BANGER SISTERS with a $10.3M debut, pushing MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING to third, with $10M and a cume of $124.3M.
Variety reports that Michael Chabon, Pulitzer-prize winning author and comic book aficionado, will be re-writing the script for the newly titled THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, the sequel to this summer's amazing blockbuster hit SPIDER-MAN. Chabon, whose comic-book coming of age tale THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY is currently being developed as a live-action feature, also authored THE WONDER BOYS, which was adapted to a film starring Michael Douglas and Spidey himself, Tobey Maguire.
Nearly two years have passed since Disney's animated feature THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE was released, but the documentary made during the production is just now seeing the light. THE SWEATBOX details the troubled production of THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE. Or rather the turning of KINGDOM OF THE SUN into THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE. Produced and directed by John Paul Davidson and Trudi Styler (musician Sting's wife), the documentary premiered this September at the 2002 Toronto Film Festival and is now playing in Los Angeles for Academy consideration.
Cinesite Europe has been awarded a major portion of the visual effects for the Paramount film TOMB RAIDER 2. Based on the popular series of TOMB RAIDER video games, this sequel to LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER features Angelina Jolie reprising her role as Lara Croft. The movie is slated for a summer 2003 release. Cinesite will be completing 3D animation sequences that constitute a significant amount of the total visual effects shots in the film.
After 22 years of retirement, Ray Harryhausen has teamed with Los Angeles-based stop-motion studio Screen Novelties, Intl. to complete a new short film entitled THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE. Originally begun in 1952 as part of his MOTHER GOOSE series, the project was shelved when Ray's career began to take off. He had always intended to finish the film and now, fifty years later, Harryhausen, along with Mark Caballero and Seamus Walsh of Screen Novelties, Intl., have completed the project.
The big-budget special effects films have officially been taken over by low budget indies at the box office. With no new release blockbusters in sight, the well-reviewed comedy BARBERSHOP took the number one spot with $20.6M. In second for the second weekend in a row was MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, adding $10.7M and crossing the $100M mark. In third was another indie, ONE HOUR PHOTO, which earned $8.6M after expanding into wide release. The thriller, which stars Robin Williams, has earned $14.5M to date. Last week's number one SWIMFAN, sank to fourth place, with $6M and a cume of $19.6M.
How will Jar Jar look when he is 8 stories tall? This question will be answered on November 1, 2002, when a large-format version of STAR WARS: EPISODE II "ATTACK OF THE CLONES" debuts in IMAX theatres in the United States and Canada. The film will be digitally re-mastered using the proprietary IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology, which allows live-action motion pictures to be inexpensively converted into the 15/70 format for presentation on the giant IMAX screen, while maintaining and even enhancing the conventional image resolution.
In a lackluster box office weekend, teen thriller SWIMFAN took the top spot with a mere $11.3M, while last week's number one, SIGNS, fell to fourth. Overall, the top 12 films grossed $59.1 million, making it the worst weekend take of the year, according to tracking firm Exhibitor Relations. In second was indie sensation MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, with $10.4M and $95.8M total, and in third was the crime drama CITY BY THE SEA, debuting with $8.9M. SIGNS, with visual effects by ILM, grossed just $7.9M this weekend but that was enough to help M.
SHREK producer John Williams and his company Vanguard Films have partnered with Walt Disney in a deal to provide multiple CG animated projects for the studio. Vanguard will fill the void left by Pixar Animation, which has made no plans to renew its agreement with Disney once the existing production deal is fulfilled with the delivery of Pixar's next three films -- summer 2003's FINDING NEMO, holiday 2004's THE INCREDIBLES and 2005's CARS.
With only one new release this weekend, SIGNS, with visual effects by ILM, was able to maintain its hold on the number one spot. The film regained the top spot last week after spending two weeks in second place, and with $16.5M for the U.S. Labor Day weekend and $195M gross to date, the crop circle caper is on its way to the $200M mark. Extreme sports flick XXX, with visual effects by Digital Domain, dropped a spot to third but is still performing well, with $13.1M for a total of $123.9M.
Animation production company Cornerstone Animation Inc. has acquired the rights to the comic book series MERIDIAN, and has begun developing an animated feature film based on the property. The agreement includes motion picture, television and ancillary rights to the adventure tale from CrossGen Comics. MERIDIAN tells the story of Sephie, the 16-year-old minister of the floating city of Meridian. Sephie struggles against her uncle Ilahn, the evil minister of Cacador, who tries to use her powers towards his own nefarious ends.