With live-action film ERIN BROCKOVICH firmly planted at #1, DreamWorks' THE ROAD TO EL DORADO ended up finishing in second place at the U.S. box office. The newest toon featuring Elton John songs grossed US$12.85 million. The special effects enhanced action flick, ROMEO MUST DIE, slipped to #4. The Jet Li film, with primary special effects by Manex Visual Effects, brought home $9.38 million bringing its cume to $38.8 million. Coming off its best picture win at the Oscars, AMERICAN BEAUTY finished in 6th place grossing another $5.41 million, raising its cume to $116.7 million.
The team behind INDEPENDENCE DAY and GODZILLA is back, producing ARACH ATTACK, a special effects-driven comedic thriller about a toxic waste spill that creates giant spiders. The flick is scheduled to start shooting in September in Australia. New Zealander Ellory Elkayem will direct from a script he co-wrote with Jesse Alexander. The pic is being produced by Centropolis Entertainment, the production house of Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, which has teamed on the project with Warner Bros. and Australia's Village Roadshow Pictures.
HARRY POTTER has decided to sail with Chris Columbus at the helm. The director of HOME ALONE and MRS. DOUBTFIRE will steer the adaptation of J.K. Rowling's mega-selling book HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE. Reportedly, the sequel novel, CHAMBER OF SECRETS, is already in development. The film is being produced at Warner Bros. Steven Spielberg was in line to direct the film, however there were reported creative differences with the novel's writer Rowling.
DreamWorks allowed Reel.com to design and host the Web site for its upcoming stop-motion feature CHICKEN RUN. Launched April 3, 2000, www.reel.com/chickenrun contains the movie trailer, screensavers and downloadable "desktop adventures" created by ToggleThis, which created the successful Virgin Atlantic/Austin Powers Web toons of last summer. DreamWorks has recently licensed out its official Web sites for AMERICAN BEAUTY and GALAXY QUEST to Amazon.com. Reel.com is an e-commerce site that sells videos and DVDs.
Indie film queen Parker Posey has joined the cast of the live-action feature rendition of JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS. Posey (WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, SCREAM 3) will play the tyrannical record producer who is bent on controlling the minds of the world's youth. Posey joins Rachael Leigh Cook (SHE'S ALL THAT) who is set to play the title character. Tara Reid (AMERICAN PIE) is in talks to play the absentminded, blonde band member Melodie, while Alan Cumming is in talks to play the agent who discovers the tiger-like trio. Rumors still are floating on who will play the third pussycat Valerie.
Director of MIMIC, Guillermo del Toro is set to helm BLADE 2: BLOOD HUNT, the sequel to the hit 1998 horror film starring Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson. The film will go in front of cameras this fall. Potentially, the film could see a summer 2001 release date. Snipes is back in the title role, and Kristofferson will come back as his mentor -- even though he seemingly died in the first film. Based on the Marvel Comics hero who's part man and part vampire, Blade hunts down the walking dead as they try to liquidate the human race.
With live-action film ERIN BROCKOVICH staying firm at #1, the new special effects enhanced action flick, ROMEO MUST DIE, finished at #2 in the U.S. box office. In its first week in release, the new Jet Li film brought home US$18.01 million. Opening in theatres Wednesday, March 22, the Warner Bros.' martial arts pic has made a total of $24.6 million. The teen terror pic, FINAL DESTINATION, stayed dead still at third, grossing $7.22 million. The New Line flick has made a total of $20.4 million in two weekends of release.
The executive producer of STUART LITTLE, Stephen Waterman, has signed on to exec produce the new animated feature STARCARS, a co-production between Korean-based entertainment conglomerate Ameko Entertainment Company Ltd. and Hyper Image LLC, an American animation studio specializing in sci-fi CGI. Dong Chung, COO of Ameko will co-executive produce the project. "I am genuinely excited about taking animation beyond the next level and into a new universe," Waterman said.
Todd McFarlane Entertainment (TME) has agreed to work with Jodie Foster's production company, Egg Pictures, on a new film, THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS. ALTAR BOYS, directed by Peter Care and featuring Foster in a supporting role, tells the tale of a group of Catholic school friends who are caught drawing an obscene comic book. TME will produce the animation segments for the film, which is set to begin shooting in May.
Giant Studios' Motion Reality system has been selected as the technology of choice for motion-capture services on the highly anticipated New Line Cinema feature film trilogy, THE LORD OF THE RINGS. New Line Cinema has signed Wellington, New Zealand-based Weta, Ltd. to handle the visual effects, and Weta has named Giant Studios as the exclusive motion-capture resource for all three films.
Klasky Csupo and Nickelodeon Movies have tied the knot on an exclusive multi-year deal to develop and produce animated feature films. The new partnership comes from the pair's successful production of THE RUGRATS MOVIE and the forthcoming RUGRATS IN PARIS. The first two projects from the new agreement slated to hit the drawing boards are POLITENESS MAN and COOKIE COMPANY. The AUSTIN POWERS-like POLITENESS MAN is based off of Ron Barrett's classic National Lampoon comic strip. The story will follow the exploits of a secret agent, whom excels in the fields of manners, hygiene and etiquette.
Ending much anticipation, Steven Spielberg has confirmed his next two projects. Going in front of cameras July 10, 2000, A.I. (artificial intelligence) was a long time work-in-progress by late great filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. The Warner Bros./DreamWorks co-production takes place in the future after the melted polar ice caps have covered much of New York City and other coastal towns with water. Oscar nominated actors Jude Law (THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY) and Haley Joel Osment (THE SIXTH SENSE) will star. To start filming in April 2001, Spielberg will direct MINORITY REPORT starring Tom Cruise.
Questions have been floating around for months on how the Academy will handle the curse-word laced best song nominee "Blame Canada" at the Oscar ceremony. Producers have added more interest to the issue by naming king of improv, Robin Williams, as the singer of the song from the censor-mocking, Canada-bashing comedy, SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER AND UNCUT. Whether "Blame Canada" song lyrics featuring the words "fuck," "fart" and "that bitch Anne Murray," will be bleeped or edited by network censors is still yet unknown.
With live-action film ERIN BROCKOVICH "busting" into first, Buena Vista's MISSION TO MARS toppled to #2 at the U.S. box office. The space mish mesh, with primary special effects by ILM and Dream Quest Images, garnered another US$11.39 million blasting its total gross to $40.6 million. The new teen horror flick, FINAL DESTINATION, crash landed at #3. The New Line fright fest grossed $10.02 million in its first week in theatres.
The king of family film remakes Eddie Murphy will star in the newest redux of THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN. Set to direct the film is TOMMY BOY helmer Peter Segal. Fred Wolf, a former writer on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, has penned the new version of the film that follows the trials and tribulations of a man shrunk to the size of a mouse by a strange mist.
Over the weekend beginning Friday, March 10, 2000, TOY STORY 2 made history in Japan by grossing US$3.8 million on only 364 screens to become the biggest opening for a U.S. animated film in Japan and finishing #1 at the box office. The Buena Vista International release crushed the old record set by Disney's THE LION KING by nearly 80%. Woody and Buzz more than doubled this weekend's debut of the 21st installment of the Japanese animated feature series, DORAEMON.
With bad reviews a side Buena Vista's MISSION TO MARS finished #1 at the U.S. box office. Serving as the closest thing to an event flick currently in U.S. theatres, MISSION TO MARS became the third highest March debut in U.S. history. The space spectacle, with primary special effects by ILM and Dream Quest Images, grossed US$22.9 million in its first weekend. Finishing in second place in its opening weekend was THE NINTH GATE, with primary special effects by Sony Imageworks and Mikros Image. Teaming Roman Polanski and the Devil once again, the film released by Artisan grossed $6.6 million.
In Chennai, India, Penta Media, 3D Max Media and Hewlett Packard have announced plans to produce a film, STARWAY, which will star two deceased Indian actors, brought back to life through CGI. The TIMES OF INDIA reported that no decision has been made on which stars would be reincarnated as themselves. In regards to ethical concerns, the newspaper published a comment from S. Rangarajan, director of special effects at Media Dreams: "This mixing of the real and unreal has a dangerous dimension.
As part of the four-picture deal with DreamWorks, Nick Park and Aardman Animations have started the planning stages on a WALLACE AND GROMIT feature. Based off of the Oscar winning franchise, no details have been released on the plot or intended release date for the film.
Oscar nominee Angelina Jolie is in final discussions to play buxom cyber-hero Lara Croft in TOMB RAIDER, a live-action feature based on the mega-hit video game. The Paramount project is set to begin production this summer, with director Simon West (CON AIR, THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER). Jolie is up for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for GIRL, INTERRUPTED, a film for which she has already won the Golden Globe. Known for playing wild and tough women, Jolie's star is on the rise and can easily play Croft, who is described as a female Indiana Jones.
Mark Steven Johnson is in talks to pen and direct DAREDEVIL, the live-action adaptation of the Marvel Comics superhero franchise. The project originally started at Fox where directors such as Chris Columbus and Carlo Carlei developed the production. Now based out of Columbia Pictures, comic fan Johnson will breathe life into the story of the blind lawyer who uses his other, heightened senses to fight for justice. Marvel moved DAREDEVIL from Fox, because the studio is already busy putting together the Marvel titles X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR and SILVER SURFER.
Tim Burton is going ape over the chance to remake 20th Century Fox's 1968 sci-fi classic PLANET OF THE APES. If the final negotiations finish as planned, Burton could be helming Fox's big picture for summer 2001. Rumors have attached names like Oliver Stone, Chris Columbus, James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger to the project. In development since 1993 (longer than it took to make the original and four sequels), Bill Broyles has written the newest and hopefully final version of the new APE flick.
The writer behind GHOST and DEEP IMPACT will be writing the second installment of STUART LITTLE. Bruce Joel Rubin will have to be typing like a madman to meet the proposed Christmas 2001 release date for the STUART sequel. The star of the first picture, Geena Davis, is reportedly committed to STUART II, but it is yet unknown if director Rob Minkoff will return. However, the current US$136.9 million at the U.S. box office might be a convincing enough number to lure him.
Bardel Animation Limited has secured the rights to bring the young adult adventure SILVERWING to the big screen. SILVERWING, a novel by Ken Oppel, follows the coming-of-age tale of Shade, who is in search for his father. The book has sold more than 250,000 copies internationally and still remains on the bestsellers' list two years after its initial publication. Ken Oppel will help develop the story with Bardel Animation.
With strictly live-action fare reigning the U.S. box office, SNOW DAY slipped to sixth place, while PITCH BLACK remained steady in fifth place. Paramount's kid-pic, with special effects by Curious Pictures, fell from #2, grossing US$4.8 million this past weekend and bringing its total gross to $49 million. USA Films' PITCH BLACK, with primary visual effects by Double Negative Ltd. and The Chandler Group, clocked in at #5 for the second straight weekend, grossing $5.07 million raising its total gross to $29.7 million.