Moviegoers were ready for a good scare as MGMs remake of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (with vfx from Asylum) debuted in first place with $23.5M for the weekend ended April 17, 2005. Paramounts actioner SAHARA (with vfx from Cinesite and Double Negative) dropped to second place, taking in $13.1M for a cume of $36.4M while Foxs romantic comedy, FEVER PITCH hung in at third place, earning $8.5M, giving it a total $23.6M in its second week of release. Robert Rodriguez SIN CITY collected another $6.7M for Dimension Films is it dropped to fourth place.
OVER THE HEDGE co-director Karey Kirkpatrick has announced that Nick Nolte, Catherine O'Hara, William Shatner, Steve Carell, Eugene Levy, Wanda Sykes and Avril Lavigne have joined the voice cast of the DreamWorks animated comedy, reports BlackFilm.com.
Michelle Rodriguez (RESIDENT EVIL), Taryn Manning (8 MILE), Oliver Hudson (TVs THE MOUNTAIN), Hill Harper (THE SKULLS) and Eric Lively (TVs THE L WORD) have signed on to star in Wes Craven-exec produced horror film THE BREED, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. First Look Media and DEJ Prods. are handling worldwide rights. Cravens longtime collaborator Nick Mastandrea will make his directorial debut on the film, which starts filming next week.
New Line Cinema has hired Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher Hampton (DANGEROUS LIAISONS) to adapt the bestselling British fantasy novel JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL for the big screen.
Based on author Susanna Clarke's critically acclaimed debut novel, the story follows two feuding magicians who attempt to restore English magic in the age of Napoleon and combines the dark mythological fantasy of J.R.R. Tolkien with the social comedy of Jane Austen.
Lucy Liu has signed on to star in Ghost House Pictures horror/thriller, RISE, reports VARIETY. Sebastian Gutierrez has written and will direct the film, which will start shooting this summer.
Liu will play a reporter who wakes up in a morgue to discover she is a vampire, spurring her to seek revenge on the vampires responsible.
Kingsgate Films Greg Shapiro (RULES OF ATTRACTION) and Carsten Lorenz (exec producer of THE GRUDGE) are producing. Ghost House will fully finance the flick. Sister firm Mandate Pictures will handle worldwide sales.
Universal has hired Stuart Beattie to rewrite the film adaptation of famed Midway videogame SPY-HUNTER, reports VARIETY. The film has been close to a production start for awhile now with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson starring and John Woo directing. Universal hopes to have the film ready in time for a big summer 2006 release.
Beatties credits include story on PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL and screenplay on COLLATERAL and the upcoming DERAILED, which stars Clive Owen.
After ditching it to virtually remake the entire film with director Renny Harlin, Morgan Creek has decided to release helmer Paul Schraders EXORCIST prequel in theaters on May 20, 2005, according to VARIETY. Warner Bros. Pictures will distribute the film to a limited number of theaters. Having made two complete films for roughly $70 million dollars, the Renny Harlin version of the film grossed only $80 million worldwide.
Sony Pictures Ent. has inked a two-picture distribution deal with Ghost House Pictures, which includes THE GRUDGE 2 and the English-language debut film from the Pang brothers, according to HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Columbia Pictures execs Matt Tolmach, Doug Belgrad and Shannon Gaulding will develop the GRUDGE sequel with Ghost House.
DIC Ent. and Mainframe Ent. have announced the world premiere of the all-new full-length animated feature INSPECTOR GADGETS BIGGEST CAPER EVER: THE CASE OF THE FLYING LIZARD at Cartoons on the Bay 2005 in Positano, Italy.
The movie features the beloved detective in CG animation for the first time. Cartoons on the Bay will screen the film at 9:30 pm on April 27 the inaugural evening of the festival at the Cartoons Village.
THE MUMMY helmer Stephen Sommers has been tapped by Paramount to write, direct and produce a remake of George Pals 1951 sci-fi film WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, reports VARIETY. Sommers Co. partner Bob Ducsay will also produce. Paramount co-president Tom J Jacobson is shepherding the film. The original flick followed a small group of humans set into space to stop a runaway planet from colliding with the Earth.
Brad Anderson (THE MACHINIST) is in talks to remake George A. Romero's THE CRAZIES for Paramount Pictures, according to the trades. Paramount-based Penn Stations Michael Aguilar and Dean Georgaris are producing. Romero will receive an exec producer role. Ally Shearmur and Andrew Haas will oversee the film for the studio. Scott Kosar (2005s THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, THE MACHINIST) is penning the screenplay. The 1973 flick was set in a Pennsylvania town where the military tries to contain a killer man-made virus.
Paramounts actioner SAHARA (with vfx from Cinesite and Double Negative) debuted with $18M for the weekend ended April 10, 2005, good enough for the top spot, beating out Robert Rodriguez SIN CITY, last weeks headliner. The visually provocative and stunning adaptation of Frank Millers graphic novels which debuted in the top spot last week collected $14M for Dimension Films in its sophomore outing.
Imagi Services has announced the voice talent for its upcoming feature CAT TALE. LORD OF THE RINGS star Sean Astin will voice lead character Rover, a cat who grows up in Dogtown by accident and returns to Catopolis to find his roots. Elisha Cuthbert (TVs 24) is Cleo, the feline daughter of a wealthy kitty litter baron and Rovers romantic interest. Stanley Tucci (THE TERMINAL) is Simon, the arrogantly ambitious kitty litter exec who vies for Cleos affections.
Fox is revisiting the lasagna-loving orange cat Garfield in a sequel to GARFIELD: THE MOVIE, which will be directed by Tim Hill (MUPPETS IN SPACE), reports VARIETY. John Davis will produce through his Davis Ent. label. No word on whether the first film stars Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love Hewitt will return or whether Bill Murray will again voice the fame fat cat.
Hill was a writer on Nick Films' SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE and along with Tim Rubiner, created the short-lived Warner Bros. CG TV series GAME OVER.
DreamWorks Pictures has pacted with Germany's Constantin Film to acquire the domestic distribution rights to the new thriller, PERFUME, based on the bestselling novel by Patrick Suskind.
Set in 18th-century France, the story of murder and obsession centers around a man who, strangely lacking any scent of his own, has a unique talent for identifying smells, which he uses to create the world's finest perfumes. His gift leads to obsession when he turns to murdering young women on the verge of womanhood in order to capture their aroma.
New Line Cinema has secured the feature film rights to MONSTER, Naoki Urasawas best-selling Japanese manga series, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Trilogy Ent.s Neil Kaplan, Pen Densham and John Watson will produce. The psychological thriller tells the tale of a young doctor who saves the life of a little boy only to find out years later that the boy was a brilliant killer. MONSTER has already been adapted into an animated TV series and spawned an 18-volume manga series, which have sold more than 25 million copies in Japan, and has a strong following in Asia and Europe.
Michael Bay is negotiating a deal to direct THE TRANSFORMERS for DreamWorks and Paramount, according to VARIETY. Steven Spielberg is exec producing the live-action/CG flick, which is set for a Thanksgiving 2006 release. Shooting is scheduled to begin this fall. The film has been long in development, but take on the film from Spielberg ignited the flames under the project. Writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci wrote a draft of the script and pitched it to Bay, who they are working with on THE ISLAND, which spurred the BAD BOYS director to take interest in the project.
Comicbook writer Jeph Loeb has been hired to adapt Will Eisners THE SPIRIT for the big screen, reports VARIETY. Odd Lot's Gigi Pritzker and Deborah Del Prete will produce, along with Batfilm's Michael Uslan. Exec producers are Benjamin Melniker and Steve Maier with co-producers being F.J. DeSanto and Linda McDonough.
The story follows a presumed dead masked detective who uses his questionable existence as an advantage in fighting crime in Central City.
Adding more star power to the cast of live-action/CGI CHARLOTTES WEB, Robert Redford has signed on to voice Ike, the arachnophobic horse who faints at the first glimpse of Charlotte, reports VARIETY. The picture is currently filming in Melbourne.
Redford joins other star voices, which include Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, John Cleese, Steve Buscemi, Cedric the Entertainer, Reba McEntire, Kathy Bates, Thomas Haden Church and Andre Benjamin. Dakota Fanning is the films live-action heroine.
When director Robert Rodriguez of Troublemaker Studios set out to make a stark black-and-white movie based on three of the books from Frank Millers SIN CITY ("A Hard Goodbye," "That Yellow Bastard," and "The Big, Fat Kill") he was determined to be true to that original style and to make a film that looked like nothing else. Shooting actors on greenscreen, he employed ComputerCafé Group's CaféFX to create the backgrounds for one of the episodes, essentially, to create Sin City from the ground up.
Robert Rodriguez faithful adaptation of Frank Millers SIN CITY exceeded all expectations in its box office debut for the weekend ended April 3, 2005, bringing home $29.1M for Dimension (thanks to vfx support from CafeFx, Hybride and The Orphanage). Debuting in a distant second was MGMs comedy, BEAUTY SHOP, which collected $12.8M. Sonys GUESS WHO, last weeks winner, dropped to third place with $12.7M and a two-week cume of $41M.
The dual AMD Opteron processor-based workstations and servers from Verari Systems were used throughout the production pipeline for maverick director Robert Rodriguez' latest all-digital feature, SIN CITY, which opened today (April 1, 2005).
Touchstone Pictures' psychological thriller, DARK WATER, will now open on July 8, 2005, one month ahead of its previously scheduled release date. The film, starring Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Connelly, and helmed by acclaimed director Walter Salles (THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES), is produced by Bill Mechanic, Roy Lee and Doug Davison. Based on a film by the creators of the Japanese version of THE RING, DARK WATER also stars Oscar nominees John C. Reilly, Tim Roth and Pete Postelthwaite, along with Dougray Scott and Camryn Manheim. Rafael Yglesias wrote the screenplay.
Fox 2000 Pictures is in final discussions with the Warner Bros.-based director Alfonso Cuaron (HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN) to replace M. Night Night Shyamalan as the director of LIFE OF PI, reports VARIETY.
Fox is moving to Cuaron to handle the adaptation of the Booker Prize-winning bestseller by Yann Martel, because it is unwilling to wait a year and a half for Shyamalan to finish his next film LADY IN THE WATER at Warner Bros. Because Cuaron has a contract with Warner, Fox 2000 will have to hammer out a split rights deal with WB.
Paramount and Nick Movies are negotiating to buy the film rights to FIRE BREATHER, a fantasy graphic novel by Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn, according to trades. Published by Image Comics, the comic revolves around high schooler Duncan Rosenblatt, who's half-human and half-dragon. Hes always at odds with his divorced parents a sweet-natured soccer mom and a 300-foot monster.
If the deal goes through, Nick svp Julia Pistor will producer with Adrian Loudermilk of Venture Management will take an exec producing credit.