MTV Films and Paramount Pictures has signed creator Eric Fogel to write,direct, and produce a CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH feature. The feature will bebased on the TV series which premiered on MTV in 1998, and features clayanimated caricatures of celebrities who fight each other in wrestlingmatches. Bouts have pitted Marilyn Manson against Charles Manson, HillaryClinton against Monica Lewinsky, and Richard Simmons against DavidLetterman. Before CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH, Fogel directed a short film, THEMUTILATOR, and another MTV series, THE HEAD.
Despite poor reviews, Warner Bros.' newly released James Bond/Western genremix, WILD WILD WEST, with visual effects by ILM, took in an estimated $36.8million over the weekend for a total of $50.1 million to finish first inthe Independence Day holiday weekend US boxoffice race. Disney's TARZANfinished third, taking in $19.2 million for a total of $110.8 million; therisqué SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT, directed by Trey Parker,finished fourth with a weekend gross of $14.8 million for a total of $23.1
Disney's TARZAN finished second in the US weekend boxoffice race, grossingan estimated $23.5 million for a total of $77.02 million; Lucasfilm'sdigital effects-driven STAR WARS I: THE PHANTOM MENACE finished fifth andgrossed $14.6 million for a total of $352.16 million, becoming only thethird film to top $350 million in its initial domestic release and passingthis milestone in forty days, eighteen days faster than previous record holder TITANIC; Universal'sTHE MUMMY, with digital effects by ILM, finished seventh and grossed $2.1
TARZAN, the new Disney animated feature that is based on TARZAN OF THE APESby Edgar Rice Burroughs, finished first in the weekend US boxoffice race,taking in $34,361,342. This is the second highest opening for an animatedfilm after THE LION KING which opened with $40.9 million in June 1994. STARWARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE, the digital effects driven action filmfrom Lucasfilm, finished fourth, grossing $18,859,021 to bring its total to$328,072,869; Universal's THE MUMMY, with digital effects by ILM, finished
THOMAS AND THE MAGIC RAILROAD, a live-action/animated feature length film,is scheduled to begin shooting this month in England and Canada. Based onthe TV series THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE, the film is a co-production betweenDestination Film, Britt Allcroft Co. and Gullane Pictures. Icon FilmDistribution, the British releasing arm of Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey'sIcon Productions, will distribute the film in the UK. THOMAS THE TANKENGINE began as a series of children's books by the late Rev. Wilbert
A bit of controversy has arisen due to the striking similarity between somescenes in James Gurney's DINOTOPIA books and George Lucas' STAR WARSEPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE. The questionable parallels include thatbetween PHANTOM MENACE's royal Naboo city of Theed and DINOTOPIA'sWaterfall City; the trip through PHANTOM MENACE's Naboo's core and asubmarine ride in THE WORLD BENEATH; the celebratory parade at the end ofthe film and several scenes from DINOTOPIA books; and between Jar Jar Binks
After several weeks of rumors, Film Roman has officially confirmed thatthey are developing an animated feature film based on THE FABULOUS FURRYFREAK BROTHERS, the underground comic book by Gilbert Shelton. THE FABULOUSFURRY FREAK BROTHERS is about three hippie brothers: freewheelingcowboy-hatted Frank; mad-inventor Phineas, and Fat Freddy, as well as FatFreddy's cat, who is described as meaner than Garfield, smarter than Felix,randier than Fritz, and a better mouser than Tom. Mike B. Anderson (THE
STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE, the digital effects driven actionfilm from Lucasfilm, grossed $25.4 million to bring its total to $296.7million while finishing second to newly released AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHOSHAGGED ME in the US weekend boxoffice race for the week ending Sunday,June 13. Universal's THE MUMMY, with digital effects by ILM, finished fifthwhile grossing $5.48 million to bring its total to $136.2 million; THEMATRIX, directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, finished seventh, grossing
Four effects driven action films finished in the top ten this week, led byLucasfilm's STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE which grossed $32.2million to bring its total to $255 million. Universal's THE MUMMY, withdigital effects by ILM, finished fourth, grossing $7.5 million for a totalof $127.6 million; THE MATRIX, directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski,finished sixth, grossing $2.4 million for a total of $158.2 million; THETHIRTEENTH FLOOR, with digital effects by Centropolis Effects, finished
Warner Bros. has greenlit OSMOSIS JONES for a Thanksgiving 2000 release.The film is a comedy/adventure about a street smart white blood-cell calledOsmosis Jones who teams up with a rookie cold tablet to fight a virus thatis attacking their host body, a construction worker named Frank Detomello.The film is written by Marc Hyman, with Tom Sito and Piet Kroon directing.The film will be Warner Bros. Feature Animation's third completely animatedrelease after QUEST FOR CAMELOT, and the upcoming THE IRON GIANT. In
THE PHANTOM MENACE finished first in last week's Memorial Day weekend USboxoffice race, taking in an estimated $64.8 million to bring its total to$204.8 million. Based on this, experts are now predicting that the filmwill eventually pass $400 million in North Amercian receipts. THE MUMMYfinished in third place, taking in $12.7 million, for a total of $117.1million. Newcomer THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR, an effects driven thriller aboutvirtual reality, finished fifth, taking in $4.3 million. THE MATRIX
Pre-production on STAR WARS EPISODE II (Lucas reportedly has a title inmind, but it has not been released) has already begun. Shooting is set tostart in June 2000 with locations at Fox Studios Australia, Tunisia, andItaly, and the release is scheduled for summer 2002. The story will focuson the romance and marriage between Anakin Skywalker (the future DarthVader) and Queen Amidala, and the Siths' attempt to gain control of thegalaxy. Whereas the budget for EPISODE 1 was $115 million, Lucas says he
LucasFilm and 20th Century Foxs visual effects-driven STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE took in $61.8 million gross over the three-day weekend. Its five-day total of $102.7 million since its Wednesday debut broke the previous five-day record of $92.7 million set in 1997 by THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK, but its three-day weekend gross failed to challenge the $72.1 million record still held by THE LOST WORLD.
TRON, Disney's innovative computer-animated feature, is set to return to the big screen for a special one-week limited engagement (May 14-20) at the Disney-owned Pacific El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California, USA with a new 70mm print. A special panel discussion on May 14 and 15 will feature several filmmakers involved with the 1982 production including director Steven Lisberger, visual effects supervisors Harrison Ellenshaw and Richard Taylor, and computer-image choreographer Bill Kroyer (who went on to direct TECHNOLOGICAL THREAT and FERNGULLY: THE LAST RAINFOREST).
As expected, STAR WARS: EPISODE 1 - THE PHANTOM MENACE set a record forsingle day gross on Wednesday with $28.5 million, breaking the previousrecord of $26.1 million set by THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK in 1997 on theSunday during the three day Memorial Day weekend. The previous record for aWednesday opening was $17.4 million, set by INDEPENDENCE DAY in July 1996.Despite reaching a new record, the film failed to fulfill early predictionswhich were in the range of $30 to $40 million and were based on early
A release date for Aardman Animations/DreamWorks' eagerly awaitedstop-motion feature, CHICKEN RUN, has been announced for June 23, 2000 inthe US. Fifteen minutes of completed footage were recently shown toenthusiastic Aardman employees in England. The film is being directed byAardman co-founder Peter Lord and Nick Park (The Wrong Trousers, CreatureComforts), and is described as The Great Escape with chickens. DreamWorksSKG will distribute the film in the U.S. and most international territories
In its second week of release, THE MUMMY, Universal Studios' CGI-laced revival of its mummy series remained on top in the weekend US box-office charts, grossing $25.1 million to bring its total to $80.8 million. The primary digital effects for THE MUMMY were created by Industrial Light & Magic. THE MATRIX, another effects driven action film, continues to do well, finishing third and taking in $4.5 million to bring its total gross to $145.1 million.
It is rumored that filmmakers Barry Levinson and Paula Weinstein aredeveloping a live-action/animation project that would feature Bugs Bunny.Preliminary discussions are said to have taken place for Robin Williams tobe Bugs' sidekick. The story line remains undisclosed, but it's said to beless like WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? and more like ANCHORS AWEIGH, a 1945musical which features a sequence in which Gene Kelly dances withHanna-Barbera's Jerry Mouse. There is also talk of bringing the Tasmanian
Newly released THE MUMMY, Universal Studios' CGI-laced revival of its mummyseries, which began with Boris Karloff's 1932 THE MUMMY, and continued inthe 1940s with Lon Chaney, Jr. in such films as THE MUMMY'S HAND, finishedon top in the weekend US box-office charts, grossing $43,369,635--the bestopening this year, the ninth-biggest of all time, and the highestnon-holiday debut in May. The digital effects for THE MUMMY were created byIndustrial Light and Magic.THE MATRIX remained in the top five, finishing
A BUG'S LIFE, a Walt Disney Pictures presentation of a Pixar AnimationStudios film, has climbed to $358 million in worldwide box office receiptsto become one of the top-grossing animated films of all time. With itsdomestic gross of $163 million, the film has already become the fourthbiggest animated feature released in the United States (behind THE LIONKING, ALADDIN and TOY STORY). Internationally, A BUG'S LIFE has agross-to-date of $195 million and has set records in the United Kingdom,
A May start date has been set for the production of MONSTERS, INC.(tentative title), a new computer-animated feature to be produced by PixarAnimation Studios under their arrangement with Walt Disney Studios. Thefilm is targeted for release in 2001. MONSTERS, INC. is a comedy set in aparallel world of monsters who live on the screams and fear of children.But because end-of-the-millenium kids are jaded and not easily scared, themonsters' world is in danger of becoming extinct. When one of the monsters,
Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis' new film, WHEN THE DAY BREAKS, willcompete with ten live-action films, and one animated film, BILLY'SBALLOON by Don Hertzfeldt (LILY + JIM), for the top prize in the ShortFilm competition at this year's 52nd Festival de Cannes in Cannes,France. The Festival takes place Wednesday, May 12th through Sunday, May23rd. Wendy Tilby is perhaps best known for STRINGS. For moreinformation visit the festival's official homepage atwww.festival-cannes.fr/cannes99.
In its fifth week of release, THE MATRIX, the special effects heavy action film starring Keanu Reeves, finished second in the USA weekend box office race and grossed $8.7 to bring its total gross to $129.7.
THE MATRIX, the special effects heavy action film starring Keanu Reeves,returned to the number one spot at the US box office last weekend andgrossed an estimated $12.6 million to bring its cumulative gross to $117million.
Nickelodeon has announced that, following in the wake of the success of THERUGRATS MOVIE, another Klasky Csupo produced TV series, THE WILD THORNBERRYS, will get its own shot at the big screen. The film will have abudget of at least $25 million and release is expected in 2002. THE WILD THORNBERRYS is currently the most popularanimated TV series on Nickelodeon.