Walt Disney Studios is moving full steam ahead on a second sequel to TOY STORY, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Disney is setting up a digital studio in Glendale, California, to produce the film without the participation of original producer Pixar. David Stainton, president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, is heading up the project along with Andrew Millstein, who headed the company's defunct Orlando animation facility. The Mouse House is courting 3D animation and visual effects wizards from other studios to come and work on the film.
THE POLAR EXPRESS has set an opening weekend record for a Hollywood film released in Imax Corp.'s giant-screen format, reports REUTERS. Co-ceo Brad Wechsler said the film grossed $2.1 million over the weekend in 59 North American Imax theaters with a total gross of $3 million since its Wednesday debut.
With only a 28% dropoff in its second weekend, Disney/Pixars THE INCREDIBLES continued its box office assault for the period ended Nov. 14, 2004. The 3D-animated superhero homage tallied $50.2M on its way to $143.2M, which sent Pixar stock soaring to a record $90 a share on Monday.
London-based vfx house, Double Negative, developed a series of CG shots for BRIDGET JONES: THE END OF REASON, opening Nov. 12, 2004, including one of the films pivotal sequences: The Lonely People. Alex Hope, co-founder, Double Negative, said: For both of these shots, the brief was to very subtly push the limits of realism to create an effect that bordered upon fantasy.
Revolution Studios has announced that Nicolas Cage will star and Lee Tamahori will direct the action thriller NEXT, based on sci-fi author Philip K. Dicks THE GOLDEN MAN, reports VARIETY. TOTAL RECALL scribe Gary Goldman optioned the story and wrote the screenplay on spec, taking the finished tome to Saturn. The film should start filming next summer.
Cage and Saturn Films partner Norm Golightly will produce. Goldman will exec produce, along with Jason Koornick, who owns the rights to Dick's short story. Derek Dauchy will head up the project for the studio.
GOLDENEYE-director Martin Campbell is in talks to helm the 21st installment in the Bond series, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Like Campbell did with Pierce Brosnan, the helmer will introduce a new actor to the iconic role. Though every British (British Kingdom included) actor with a pulse has been rumored to be taking over the role, producers MGM and Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson have not made any casting calls. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who wrote DIE ANOTHER DAY and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, have penned the new script and the film is scheduled to hit theaters in 2006.
QUEST FOR CAMELOT scribe William Schifrin has been hired to write the CG animated feature, NOAH'S ARK. NARNIA-producers Walden Media and Creative Battery are producing. The film will tell the Biblical tale from the point of view of an unlucky camel, who must help save the animals aboard the ark.
Walden Media is committed to producing entertainment that makes a real impact on young audiences, inspiring them to explore the world around them. For more information, visit www.walden.com.
With a domestic gross of $75 million in two weeks, it was pretty inevitable that THE GRUDGE would get a sequel. HOLLYWOOD REPORTER reports that Senator International and Ghost House Pictures have hired scribe Stephen Susco to return the cursed-themed film and write a part two. Ghost House Pictures' Sam Raimi and Rob Tappert, Roy Lee and Doug Davidson will return as producers. Star Sarah Michelle Gellar nor director Takashi Shimizu have signed on for THE GRUDGE 2.
IDT Entertainments New Arc Films and POW! Ent. have signed acclaimed comic book, film and television writer-creators Marv Wolfman and Scott Lobdell to write the screenplays for two animated features under the six-project New Arc-Pow! Deal. The films will be produced by DPS Film Roman.
BLADE: TRINITY writer/director David Goyer has announced that his proposed remake and update of the 1973 sci-fi flick, SOYLENT GREEN will begin where the original film left off, reports SCI FI WIRE. Goyer also said he will not write or directed the film, but will produce it through his first-look deal with Warner Bros.
"I will say that the reveal at the end of the first movie happened at the end of our first act," Goyer said in an interview. "So the first movie is kind of the first act of our film, and then it's about what happens afterwards."
BFC Berliner Film Companie GmbH has entered into a software license and custom development and support agreement with mental images GmbH to use its rendering and 3D modeling software on BFC's upcoming major 3D feature film, HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER. Michael Hefferon, head of production for BFCs in-house production service arm, is supervising the feature-length 3D CG-animated motion picture planned for delivery in the third quarter of 2005.
DreamWorks has reeled in the domestic distribution rights to the Japanese sci fi/action hit, CASSHERN a blend of live action and various animation techniques, to be released under the banner of its specialty film division, Go Fish Pictures.
Not only did the animation world celebrate the opening of THE INCREDIBLES, which captured a record $70.4M last weekend for Disney and Pixar, but also DreamWorks Animation SKG reported that SHREK 2 generated an estimated $185M in retail revenue when it bowed over the same three-day period, including a record 11 million units in DVD sales.
While it is no surprise that Disney/Pixars THE INCREDIBLES led the box office for the weekend ended Nov. 7, 2004, the fact that Brad Birds first 3D-animated feature captured as much as $70.4M in its opening weekend raised a few eyebrows. Indeed, THE INCREDIBLES marks the biggest opening in Disney and Pixar history, edging out last years FINDING NEMO by $100,000.
At the American Film Market, the worldwide distribution rights to indie animated feature, THE EASTER EGG ESCAPADE, were sold to First Look Media.
Warner Bros. Pictures has announced plans for a special nationwide sneak preview of THE POLAR EXPRESS on Nov. 6, 2004 at 4:00 pm. The picture will preview in approximately 500 screens and in specially selected IMAX houses in IMAX 3D. The film will open in theaters across the country on Nov. 10.
Warner Bros. Animation department used Quik Pix Inc.s ColorBlind color management software (recently upgraded for use on Linux platform) to render the SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS animated motion picture, a Nickelodeon/Paramount production to be released on Nov. 24, 2004.
Warner Bros. reported significant savings in time, material and labor during the animation phase of the film.
Classic Media has landed some top talent to voice character in its CG-remake of HERE COMES PETER COTTENTAIL -- PETER COTTONTAIL: THE MOVIE. SpongeBob voice Tom Kenny will voice Peter Cottontail, Junior and Antoine. Former James Bond Roger Moore will voice the villain Irontail with SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE alum Molly Shannon voicing villainess Jackie Frost.
KILL BILL director Quentin Tarantino has said that he will be returning to the kung fu genre for his next film, reports TOTAL FILM. The PULP FICTION maverick says the new film will be in Mandarin Chinese and hopes to be able to release the film with an out-of-synch English language track. Previously, it was suspected that Tarantino would make his next project his long-in-the-work World War II men on a mission flick, INGLORIOUS BASTARDS.
Sony Pictures has announced that AKIRA director Katsuhiro Otomo's new film STEAMBOY will be released in U.S. theaters on March 18, 2005. The film is the most expensive anime feature ever produced at $20 million and began production in 1995. Financial issues have plagued the production. The film screened at both the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals. Set in Victorian England, the retro sci-fi epic follows how a powerful new energy source changes the "Age of Steam."
Hot on the heals of a $18.3 million box office opening, Twisted Pictures and Lions Gate Films are moving ahead with a sequel to the horror film SAW, set for a Halloween 2005 release.
Zinc Ent. has announced it is developing a third film in its DUNGEONS & DRAGONS franchise. The second film DUNGEONS & DRAGONS 2: THE ELEMENTAL MIGHT will be released in the U.S. by Warner Bros. in 2005 with Warner Home Video handling the home entertainment distribution in the States as well as certain foreign territories. First Look Intl. holds the worldwide rights.
CATWOMAN scribe John Rogers has been hired to pen the script for DreamWorks and Paramounts feature live-action rendition of TRANSFORMERS, reports VARIETY. Angry Films head Don Murphy and Tom DeSanto are producing the film along with Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Steven Spielberg is exec producing. The picture is set for a summer 2006 release. The film will be based on the Hasbro toy line of vehicles, which transform into giant robot. DeSanto wrote the story that Rogers will base the screenplay on.
IMAX has great success with its DMR conversion of blockbuster hits, venturing internationally into China, India and soon Pakistan. But with THE POLAR EXPRESS: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE, the large-format giant will unveil the first all-CGI 3D feature on its towering screens, Nov. 10, 2004, day-and-date with the 35mm release from Warner Bros. Pictures. THE POLAR EXPRESS: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE will debut on more than 70 IMAX Theaters, the widest worldwide release ever.
Playtone has secured the film rights for Jeanne DuPrau's young adult bestseller, THE CITY OF EMBER, reports VARIETY. Partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are negotiating with Caroline Thompson (EDWARD SCISSORHANDS) to write the screenplay and Gil Kenan to make his directorial debut. Walden Media is in talks to co-produce and co-finance the picture.