While SNAKES ON A PLANE faded fast, Buena Vistas real-life football drama, INVINCIBLE, debuted in the top spot at the box office with $17M for the weekend ended Aug. 27, 2006. Holding second place was Sonys TAKKADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY, which hauled in another $8.1M for a cume of $127.8M. Shooting up to third place was Fox Searchlights LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE with $7.3M and $22.8M. The fourth spot belonged to newcomer BEERFEST from Warner Bros., with $7M.
Universal Pictures has purchased Scott Nimerfros horror pitch AGONY, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Studio has tapped Scott Stuber and Mary Parent to produce the project via their Stuber/Parent company.
Nimerfro (DOMINION: PREQUEL TO THE EXORCIST) is now penning the screenplay, which will center on an urban legend on a college campus that turns out to be true.
The deal was in the low- to mid-six figures.
Blue Star Pictures and Mandalay Pictures have optioned T.S. Faull's original screenplay LIVING DEAD GIRL, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Eric Tessier (2003s SUR LE SEUIL) is set to direct.
The story centers on a dead woman who rises from the grave as a zombie to track down her killer to stop him from killing again. She is aided by a handsome funeral director who has a case of necrophilia.
Rhiannon Meier is overseeing development for Blue Star. Jason Shuman and William Sherak will produce.
When HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS needed a bit of 2D-animated comic relief, they called on the newly formed Orphanage Animation Studios, under the supervision of Genndy Tartakovsky.
HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS is the feature adaptation from New Line and Walden Media of Thomas Rockwells popular young adult book from 1973. It opens nationwide today (Aug. 25, 2006). Its about an 11 year old that inadvertently challenges the class bully on his first day at a new school and must eat 10 worms in one day.
Hoping to scare up a little more attention and revenue before the fall DVD release of MONSTER HOUSE, Sony Pictures will re-release the all-CG feature in digital 3-D on Oct. 6, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. MONSTER HOUSE will have a two-week engagement in more than 100 Real D screens nationwide. The DVD from Sony Home Ent. bows on Oct. 24. According to Box Office Mojo, MONSTER HOUSE has grossed $68M this summer.
Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI) crossed the $1 billion mark in overseas box office receipts in record time for the company.
The previous record for the studio was Sept. 8, 2002, the year the studio grossed its record high overseas take of $1.305 billion. It marks the sixth time overall and the fifth time in the past seven years that SPRI has amassed more than $1 billion in ticket sales from international territories.
In 2006 to date, films from Sony Pictures Ent. have generated approximately $2.1 billion in worldwide ticket sales.
Tarantella Pictures Pvt. Ltd., one of Asias biggest software producers, has announced its new venture into animation with the first 3D film on elephant-headed Hindu God, Lord Ganesha, reports Hindu.com.
Director Chris Wedge (ROBOTS and ICE AGE) is collaborating once again with childrens author/production designer William Joyce (ROBOTS) on an adaptation of Joyces illustrated book, THE LEAF MEN AND THE BRAVE GOOD BUGS, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Wedges New York-based Blue Sky Studios would produce the 3D-animated feature in conjunction with Twentieth Century Fox Animation.
Twin brothers Michael and Mark Polish (TWIN FALLS IDAHO, NORTHFORK) have sold two projects to Warner Bros. Pictures, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
The first film will be LOOT, a heist movie set in Middle America that follows a group of blue-collar workers who pull off jobs during tornado season. They will follow that film up with HOW TIME FLIES, a cause-and-effect look at a world where time travel becomes accessible to the common man.
Michael will direct the films, while both he and Mark will write and produce. Mark also plans to act in LOOT.
Rogue Pictures has bought the feature rights to Chris Kirby's comicbook series LOST SQUAD, VARIETY reports. Adrian Askarieh and Daniel Alter have been attached to produce.
Illustrated by Alan Robinson, the comic tells the tale of a ragtag unit of Allied soldiers who fight Hitler's occult agents and other supernatural threats during WWII.
Devil's Due Publishing has published five issues since its debut last fall. Devil's Due publisher Josh Blaylock will co-produce the film project.
For their next foray into features, SOUTH PARK creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have high school comedy and rubber suit monster movie in the works at Paramount, reports the trades.
The demented duo, who have re-named their Paramount-based company Important Pictures, will first make the Jeff Roda-scripted high school laughter MY ALL-AMERICAN. They will follow that film up with GIANT MONSTERS ATTACK JAPAN!, a film written by J.F. Lawton (UNDER SIEGE) that will combine live-action with the "rubber suit" monsters like GODZILLA.
New Lines SNAKES ON A PLANE (with vfx by CafeFX and Hybride) proved less venomous in its box office opening than experts predicted, drawing only $13.8M for the weekend ended Aug. 20, 2006, with an overall take of $15.2M, thanks to a Thursday night preview. Coming in a very close second was Sonys TAKKADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY, which hauled in $13.75 for a cume of $114.3M. Holding the third spot was Paramounts WORLD TRADE CENTER (with vfx from Double Negative and Animal Logic), which earned $10.9M for a cume of $45.1M.
Universal Pictures has tapped NIGHTWATCH director Timur Bekmambetov to make his English-language debut with the sci-fi actioner, WANTED, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. James McAvoy, who made a big impression as Mr. Tumnus, the Faun, in THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, will star.
CASINO ROYALEs new James Bond, Daniel Craig, has joined the cast of THE GOLDEN COMPASS, the first film in a planned New Line trilogy based on the Philip Pullman series HIS DARK MATERIALS, reports VARIETY. Chris Weitz wrote the script and will direct.
Craig will play Lord Asriel, a ruthless and mysterious adventurer who is the uncle of Lyra Belacqua, the young girl who journeys to a parallel universe to save her best friend.
Voice recording has begun for the independent, CG-animated feature, THE LEGEND OF SECRET PASS. Lord Prods. Llc. and Strategic Dreamers Llc., in conjunction with JC2 Animated Ent. and associates Mad Cow Pictures, 310 Studios and Digital Dimension, are producing the film set for release in 2008.
DreamWorks Studios announced that Johnny Depp and Tim Burtons SWEENEY TODD, based on the award-winning Stephen Sondheim musical thriller, is set to begin production early next year for a late 2007 release.
In the co-production with Warner Bros., Depp will star as the titular Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald will partner with Richard Zanuck and John Logan to produce the screenplay adaptation by Logan (THE AVIATOR). Paramount will distribute for DreamWorks domestically and Warner Bros. internationally.
It seems no classic horror can be left un-remade. Rogue Pictures is developing a redux of Wes Cravens twisted 1972 classic THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. Production is scheduled to being in early 2007.
Craven and longtime producing partner Marianne Maddalena will produce the new version with the original film's producer, Sean S. Cunningham.
MGM is in talks with Vanguard Animation on a three-picture distribution deal, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. If the deal goes through John Williams and Terry Botwick's animation house will deliver one film per year starting in 2008. As part of the deal, MGM would have a piece of merchandising and licensing of the properties.
A Russian extravaganza at the Royal Albert Hall on Sept. 23, 2006, will celebrate the world premiere of a new stop-motion animated version of PETER AND THE WOLF, and mark the 70th anniversary of its first performance in Moscow. The Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by musical director Mark Stephenson, has recorded the soundtrack and will perform live Prokofiev's classic score alongside this first showing of the film.
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, based on the illustrated book by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett, is apparently on track to become the fourth 3D-animated feature at Sony Pictures Animation. Yair Landau, president of Sony Pictures Digital, touted the project, one of the first put into development when the animation company was formed in 2002, at yesterdays SPA roadshow presentation on the Sony lot in Culver City.
Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave and Isabella Rossellini will provide voices for the independent animated feature, MY DOG TULIP, based on J.R. Ackerleys 1956 British novel, reports VARIETY.
Brian Murray, Paul Hecht, Peter Gerety and Euan Morton fill out the rest of the voice cast. The story follows a 14-year friendship between Ackerley and his German Shepherd, Tulip, after the scribe rescued the dog.
L.A.-based Indican Pictures quietly released the 2D animated feature, ROMEO AND JULIET: SEALED BY A KISS in L.A. theaters over the past weekend.
Produced by Phil Nibbelink Prods., the story retells the Shakespeare play casting seals as the star-crossed lovers. When Juliet's father gives her hand in marriage to the monstrous elephant seal named Prince, Juliet, with the help of friends Friar Lawrence and Kissy the kissing fish, must fake her death in order to be reunited with Romeo. Phil Nibbelink (AN AMERICAN TAIL: FIEVEL GOES WEST) wrote and directed the film.
The Will Ferrell NASCAR comedy, TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY, kept its box office lead for the weekend ended Aug. 13, 2006. The Sony release (with vfx from Digital Dimension) scored $22.1M with a two-week cume of $90.3M. Debuting in second and third were Buena Vistas STEP UP, with $20.6M, and Paramounts WORLD TRADE CENTER (with vfx from Double Negative and Animal Logic) with $18.7M for a five-day cume of $26.5M.
Comic lovers are in for a visual treat when they watch the first few minutes of ZOOM. Created by Imaginary Forces (IF), the prologue pays tribute to vintage comic books of the 1970s with illustrations that come to life. The design was led by IF creative director Karin Fong.
Mark Dindal (CHICKEN LITTLE) will make his live-action directorial debut on SHERLOCK'S SECRETARY for Walden Media and Nash Ent., according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
Crafted around the fact that Sherlock Holmes fictitious address 221b Baker St. receives real letters seeking Holmes sleuthing skills, the story will follow a resident of the address who decides to take on the real case from one of the letters.