The U.S. Presidents Day three-day holiday weekend has proved profitable for new releases as well as some films that have been on the charts for weeks. In third place, Disneys 2D animated PETER PAN sequel enjoyed a solid $16.1M opening. RETURN TO NEVER LAND is set during World War II and finds Peter Pan on the trail of Captain Hook after the pirate kidnaps Wendy's daughter, Jane. The family-friendly film sent Disneys other kid flick SNOW DOGS running to tenth place, where it earned just $7M for a cume of $68.4M.
Three new films held the top spots this weekend, with Arnold Schwarzeneggers terrorist drama COLLATERAL DAMAGE leading the pack. The film, with visual effects by Digital Film Works, earned $15.1M in its first weekend out. A remake of the 1975 film ROLLERBALL managed to debut in the number three spot despite generally lackluster reviews. The futuristic actioner took in $9M. BLACK HAWK DOWN, last weeks number one film, fell to fourth. The war epic, with visual effects by The Mill and Asylum, earned $8M for a total of $86.7M to date.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences has announced their nominations for the coveted Oscar award. Receiving nominations for best animated short were Ruairi Robinsons 3D meditation on suicide FIFTY PERCENT GREY, Cathal Gaffneys "animated documentary" GIVE UP YER AUL SINS, Pixars latest 3D short FOR THE BIRDS, Joe Merideths caveman comedy STUBBLE TROUBLE and Cordell Barkers tale of otherworldly love STRANGE INVADERS. These films are featured on AWN with QuickTime clips, pictures and information about the films and directors.
The nominations for the 74th Annual Academy Awards were announced on February 12, 2002. Effects-heavy THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING topped the list with 13 nominations including Best Visual Effects alongside A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE and PEARL HARBOR. LORD also won spots in major categories like Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Joining LORD OF THE RINGS in the Adapted Screenplay category is DreamWorks' 3D blockbuster SHREK, which was also one of three nominees in the brand new Animated Feature Film category.
Despite a lackluster weekend box office due to the Super Bowl, the action of BLACK HAWK DOWN, with visual effects by The Mill and Asylum, kept the film at number one for a third week in a row. The film earned $11.1M for a total of $75.1M. The rest of the box office is almost a repeat of last week, with Disneys SNOW DOGS still in second, with $10.2M for a cume of $51.1M. In its second week of release THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO jumped up a spot to fourth, earning $8.8M for $23.4M to date.
Disney is becoming a giant screen fan. After the success of FANTASIA 2000 ($60.5M) and the favorable box office numbers received by the recent release of the large format BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ($12.5M and counting) is it any wonder? Now Walt Disney Pictures has decided to release its upcoming holiday animated feature TREASURE PLANET simultaneously in 35mm venues as well as in large format cinemas. This is the first time a major studio feature has been specifically formatted for both 35mm and the giant screen to receive a same day-and-date release.
ADV Films is bringing Chaos! Comics' LADY DEATH to life. Artists at SunMin Image Pictures in Asia under the supervision of director Young H. Sang will be animating the digital feature, based on Brian Pulido's original story. Set in 15th century Sweden, a wrongly accused young woman named Hope is sent to Hell where she is transformed into Lady Death and forced to battle Lucifer in his own domain. Executive producer and ADV co-founder John Ledford hopes to create a new production model with LADY DEATH that redefines the relationship between Asian animation studios and Western creators.
War drama BLACK HAWK DOWN, with visual effects by The Mill and Asylum, stayed on top of a crowded box office this weekend, earning $17M for a cume of $58.9M. Holding in second place were the talking dogs of SNOW DOGS, with $13.1M for a two-week total of $38.8M. Two new releases filled the fifth and sixth spots: THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO in fifth place with $11.4M and supernatural thriller THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES, with visual effects by Cinesite, landed in sixth, earning $11.2M in its debut weekend.
Creepy thriller THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES hits theaters Friday, January 25 featuring approximately 60 visual effects shots provided by Cinesite. Directed by Mark Pellington, the film is based on the true story of a bridge that collapsed during the 1960s. According to the legend, strange phenomena were reported prior to the collapse, including visions of the mysterious Mothman of the title. The images of the Mothman used in the film were very quick, according to Cinesites visual effects supervisor Laurel Klick.
Although it didnt make the original list of qualifying films for the Animated Feature Oscar, an Academy representative has confirmed that the animé feature VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST is in fact a qualifying entry. The film was initially rejected on a technicality -- the official screen credits form was not submitted. One of the Academys rules states that all forms must be completed and turned in prior to the deadline.
After reigning at number one for four weeks, THE LORD OF THE RINGS, with primary visual effects by WETA, took a tumble to third place in the face of two new flicks released this week. LOTR took in $13M for a cume of $245.9M. War drama BLACK HAWK DOWN, with visual effects by The Mill, made a stellar showing in wide release, earning $29M this weekend for a total of $30.8M and the top box office spot. In second place was the family-friendly comedy SNOW DOGS, with $17.5M. A BEAUTIFUL MIND, with primary visual effects by Digital Domain, was fourth, with $11M for the weekend and $73.9M to date.
It looks as though audiences will finally get to see the animation Todd McFarlane created for the Jodie Foster-produced film THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS. The film was completed in 2000 and set to debut at Sundance 2001, but the premiere was delayed because the animated sequences were not finished. The film will now debut on January 18 at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Peter Care directed this Southern Gothic drama set in the 70s, which centers on the efforts of Catholic schoolboys to retrieve an obscene comic book they've drawn.
Fantasy actioner THE LORD OF THE RINGS, with primary visual effects by WETA, held on to the top spot in its fourth week in theaters with $16.2M, just edging out the number two film A BEAUTIFUL MIND, which took in $15.2M in its second week in wide release. That gives LORD a smashing cume of $228.3M. A BEAUTIFUL MIND, with primary visual effects by Digital Domain, has grossed $58.4M so far. OCEANS ELEVEN, with visual effects by E=mc2 and Cinesite, slid another spot to fourth, earning $7.7M for a generous 6-week cume of $162.7M.
SHREK continued its award winning streak this weekend by picking up the Peoples Choice Award for favorite motion picture and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Award for best animated feature. In the pre-Oscar animated feature race, SHREK has been the recipient of the majority of critics kudos, however WAKING LIFE did manage to grab the nod from the New York Film Critics Circle. The next major awards presented are the Golden Globes, where SHREK is the lone animated film in competition for Best Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the eight films being considered for Achievement in Visual Effects for the 74th Academy Awards. Fifteen-minute clip reels from each of the following films will be screened for the Visual Effects Award nominating committee on February 6. The members will then nominate three for Oscar consideration.
The films are:
A. I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
BLACK HAWK DOWN
CATS AND DOGS
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE
As we edge closer to Oscar time, the critics continue to weigh in with their picks. On January 2, 2002 the Online Film Critics Society gave the nod to SHREK as Best Animated Feature. If youre counting, thats three critics' awards for SHREK, one for WAKING LIFE and none for the other Academy Awards qualifiers. January 5, 2002 saw the American Film Institute (AFI) bestow Film of the Year honors on LORD OF THE RINGS, which beat out nine other nominees (including SHREK) to take home the top prize.
Epic fantasy THE LORD OF THE RINGS, with primary visual effects by WETA, ruled as the number one film for the third week in a row, nabbing another $23M this weekend to break the $200M mark after just 18 days. The AFI honored RINGS as "Film of the Year" this weekend and it has earned $205.5M after just 19 days in theaters. The drama A BEAUTIFUL MIND, with primary visual effects by Digital Domain, claimed the number two spot, with $17M in its first week of wide release. The film, which is inspired by the life of schizophrenic mathematician John Nash, has earned $38.2M after three weeks.
Santa Monica-based effects studio Computercafe created a "living" bomb that is extracted from a human body for the upcoming Dimension Films release IMPOSTOR. Computercafes primary visual effects contribution to the film was the 3D organic bomb featured in three scenes. Because the bomb is found nestled in the chest cavity of a human host, art director Ron Honn, animation supervisor Taron and digital effects supervisor David Ebner designed the device to resemble an internal organ.
The first installment of the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING is shaping up to be a huge success for New Line Cinema. Already benefiting from repeat viewings, the film, with primary digital effects by WETA in New Zealand, continues its number one run, bringing in $56.9M over the five-day holiday weekend for an astounding two-week total of $174.1M.
Dimension Films has acquired the rights to develop and produce an animated feature based on BLOOM COUNTYs pantless penguin Opus, with creator Berkeley Breathed attached to write and direct. The project is the first from the newly established first look deal between Dimension and Storyopolis Productions. The character Opus debuted in 1980 in Breatheds BLOOM COUNTY comic strip, and eventually appeared in a series of cartoon collections, as well as children's books, an animated television special, and a line of collectible items.
As everyone predicted LORD OF THE RINGS, with primary digital effects by WETA in New Zealand, was easily number one at the U.S. box office this long, holiday weekend. Opening on Wednesday, December 19, the film pulled in over $18 million in the first 24 hours alone. As of Sunday, December 23, the film has a cume of $73.1 million and shows no sign of slowing down as other newcomers had weak openings. Ultra-slick OCEANS ELEVEN, with visual effects by E=mc2 and Cinesite, is holding strong with a second place finish of $14.6M and a cume of $95.2M.
Scandinavian animation production company Happy Life and sister company ColorPop are producing an animated feature film based on the popular Norwegian character Captain Sabretooth. THE WORLD'S MOST CRUEL PIRATE is scheduled to premiere in Norway in December 2003. Happy Life will be responsible for animating Captain Sabretooth and his fellow pirates, and Stig Bergqvist of FilmTecknarna F. Animation, who recently directed the feature RUGRATS IN PARIS: THE MOVIE, has signed on to direct. The total budget of the feature is US$5.2 million.
Release dates for two potential blockbuster summer features were announced this week, but youll have to wait until 2003 to see them. 20th Century Fox will unveil X2, the sequel to their $300 million hit X-MEN, on May 2, 2003. X2 will reunite the original cast of mutants and involve the same key creative team, including director Bryan Singer; producers Ralph Winter, Lauren Shuler Donner and Avi Arad; and screenwriter David Hayter.
Now that the animated feature category is a lock, the Oscar race is on, and critics groups from around the country are starting to weigh in with their picks. Although the New York Film Critics Circle chose WAKING LIFE as best animated film of the year, SHREK is pulling ahead in the accolades department. The DreamWorks blockbuster picked up the award for best animated film from the National Board of Review and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, as well as making a list of ten nominees for best film of the year from both the AFI and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
Vanilla Sky Tops Box Office. The psychological drama VANILLA SKY, with visual effects by Digital Domain, was number one at the box office this weekend, bringing in a strong $25M in its debut. Casino heist flick OCEANS ELEVEN, with visual effects by E=mc2 and Cinesite, ran a close second earning $23M for a two-week cume of $73.3M. HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERERS STONE, with visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks and Rhythm & Hues, fell two spots to fourth, with $9.9M for the weekend and $253.3M to date.