Justin Lin, director of the Sundance hit BETTER LUCK TOMORROW, has been signed to direct THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 3. The Universal Pictures release will be produced by Neal H. Moritz, who served in the same capacity on the other films in the series. The third film was written by Chris Morgan (CELLULAR), who places the third entry in Tokyo: in the underground world of Japanese drift racing. Plans call for the film to begin production in the fall 2005.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3, starring Tom Cruise, will commence principal photography on July 18 in Italy. The film, to be directed by J. J. Abrams and filmed on locations across Europe, the U.S. and Asia, is scheduled to be released May 5, 2006. Cruise and his partner, Paula Wagner, will produce for Cruise/Wagner Prods.
Messengers dressed as the lead space marine in Microsoft videogame HALO descended on the studios June 6 with the screenplay based on the bestselling franchise, reports VARIETY. Microsoft and Bungie Studios paid 28 DAYS LATER writer Alex Garland $1 million to pen the script. Microsoft has also tapped former Columbia Pictures president Peter Schlessel to shepherd the project as well as serve as a producer.
Paramount has stopped development on the highly-anticipated film adaptation of the classic comicbook series, THE WATCHMEN, according to VARIETY. The studio has now put the project into turnaround, allowing producers Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin to shop the Paul Greengrass (THE BOURNE SUPREMACY) directed project to other studios.
Joe Dante's PIRANHA will get an update care of new production firm Chiller Films, reports VARIETY. Chuck Russell (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3) is set to rewrite the script, using elements from spec script KILLER FISH by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger plus the original's script by John Sayles, which was based on a story by Richard Robertson. Chiller will co-produce the film with Intellectual Properties Worldwide.
Sony Pictures Releasing has pushed the release of THE PINK PANTHER from Aug. 5 to Feb. 10, 2006, according to trades. Sony acquired the Shawn Levy-directed/ Steve Martin-starrer through its purchase on MGM.
"With the recent acquisition of MGM, we wanted to give our marketing department the time and opportunity to launch this very important franchise," said Sony Pictures Releasing president Rory Bruer. "We've seen the movie, and we really love this film. It's a franchise we believe in and are really excited about, and Steve Martin is great as Clouseau."
Despite the current box office malaise, MADAGASCAR took over the top spot after debuting last week at number three. The computer-animated comedy grabbed $28.1M for DreamWorks to reach $100M for the weekend ended June 5, 2005. Paramounts THE LONGEST YARD held the second spot with $26M and a two-week cume of $95.7M. However, despite falling to third place with $25M, Foxs STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH (with its stunning vfx by ILM) managed to break the $300M barrier at a record pace, with its $300.7M total.
With LAYER CAKE director Matthew Vaughn leaving the project, Twentieth Century Fox and Marvel Ent. have hired RUSH HOUR director Brett Ratner to direct X-MEN 3, reports VARIETY. The film is still set to begin filming in August and hit theaters Memorial Day weekend 2006.
In addition, the studios have also confirmed that Kelsey Grammer (TV's FRAISER) will be playing Beast, Vinnie Jones (SNATCH) will be playing Juggernaut and Maggie Grace (TV's LOST) will be playing Kitty Pryde.
Warner Bros. Pictures has announced the lead actors for Wolfgang Petersen's tentpole remake of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Signed cast members include Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, Emmy Rossum (PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) and Mike Vogel (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake). Andre Braugher (TV's HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET) is in negotiations to join the cast.
Leading visual effects studio Digital Dimension completed several dozen visual effects shots for the recent New Line feature MONSTER-IN-LAW. Seamless composites and digital effects created by Digital Dimension in collaboration with director of photography Russell Carpenter are a perfect fit for the film's gorgeous Southern California look and sets.
With principal photography set to begin Aug. 2, X-MEN 3 has now lost its director for the second time, reports the trades. Replacing Bryan Singer, director of the first two X-MEN films who left to helm SUPERMAN RETURNS, LAYER CAKE director Matthew Vaughn is now stepping down, citing personal reasons. The director had hoped to commute from his home in London to the shoot in Vancouver, but when that seemed impossible he decided that leaving the film was a better choice than uprooting his family.
STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH continued its box office dominance for the second consecutive week, grabbing $70M for the four-day Memorial Day weekend ended May 30, 2005. That means that the final STAR WARS saga has earned $270.4M for Fox domestically, continuing to set records for nine-day to 12-day grosses. SITH has also earned $248.9M overseas.
Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the team that co-wrote THE ISLAND for Michael Bay, are tinkering on a script to put the Transformer toys on the big screen for what might be Bay's next project, according to SCI FI Wire.
"We're calling it CAMPBELL SOUP: THE MOVIE, because it's the ultimate product placement," Kurtzman told SCI FI Wire. "The big challenge is how do you do it without making it look like it's just about product placement."
The producing duo of Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are developing a third, scaled-down RING movie, according to SCI FI Wire. The husband-and-wife producing team is planning a different approach and may not need the same mother and son cast of Naomi Watts and David Dorfman, who were in the first two horror movies.
Parkes added, "It's easy to scale down RING 3 as a small picture that's not incredibly expensive. By its very nature it can be a small movie and doesn't need the same cast."
George Lucas has given the greenlight to Jeff Nathanson's recent draft for INDIANA JONES 4, reports VARIETY. Director Steven Spielberg has also given the script a thumbs up and only star Harrison Ford needs to give approval for the film to move into pre-production.
SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION director Frank Darabont had previously written a draft of the script, which passed by Spielberg and Ford, but was rejected by Lucas. Spielberg then enlisted Nathanson to pen the screenplay after having worked with the scribe on CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and THE TERMINAL.
Exodus Film Group announced the addition of two CG-animated features to their film slate THE HERO OF COLOR CITY and AMARILLO ARMADILLO. These two films are a direct response to overwhelming industry and investor interest in Exodus CG-Animated film IGOR, which is currently in production.
STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH has tied SPIDER-MAN 2 for the fastest feature to reach $200M in only eight days. The final STAR WARS saga has tallied $200.4M domestically and $356.9M overseas for Fox, according to boxofficemojo.com.
Disney has hired 102 DALMATIANS helmer Kevin Lima to direct the live-action and CG-animated feature, ENCHANTED, according to the trades. Lima also directed the animated feature TARZAN. Barry Josephson and his Sonnenfeld Josephson production house obtained the rights to the film in 1997 and will serves as a producer. Chris Chase and Sunil Perkash are exec producers. Disney execs Doug Short and Jill Morris are shepherding with Jason Reed and Nina Jacobson.
London-based Framestore CFC created both the digital visual effects and the DI for THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN'S APOCALYPSE, the cult favorite comedy series that makes its way to the big screen June 3 in the U.K. Written by Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, and starring Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith, THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN'S APOCALYPSE was produced by Greg Brenman and Ed Guiney, and directed by Steve Bendelack.
Avi Lerner's Millennium Films, Taurus Ent. and Emmett/Furla Films have announced they will remake of George A. Romero's DAY OF THE DEAD, reports VARIETY. Millennium will finance and distribute the film. Taurus Ent. held the rights to the original and Paul Mason and Jordan Rush brought the project to Emmett/Furla.
The 1985 third sequel in Romero's zombie series followed a group of scientists and military personnel holed up in an underground bunker.
Alias revealed that its Maya software was the chief 3D animation technology and the only non-proprietary animation solution used to realize key 3D characters and scenes in the record-breaking STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH.
Platinum Dunes has hired Jonathan Liebesman (DARKNESS FALLS) to helm the untitled prequel to the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake, according to HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Platinum Dunes' Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller are producing the film for New Line Cinema, who will have Toby Emmerich, Mark Ordesky and Guy Stodel shepherding. Sheldon Turner wrote the first version of the script with David Schow providing a rewrite. The film will probably start filming in late summer in Austin, Texas.
We all knew it was going to be big out of the gate, and STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH delivered a record-breaking $158,449,700 for its first four days in release, Thursday through Sunday, May 19-22, 2005. That number eclipses SPIDER-MAN 2s $130.5M. Along the way, SITH (with eye-catching vfx from ILM) also racked up records for midnight showing, opening and single day, two-day and three-day. For the weekend, SITH collected $108,435,841: the second-best weekend ever next to SPIDER-MANs $114.8M.
The Force is already with REVENGE OF THE SITH, as EPISODE III of the STAR WARS saga grossed an estimated $17M for the special midnight screenings on Thursday. Bruce Snyder, president of domestic distribution for Twentieth Century Fox, told THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, "It seems like the industry got kick started last night at midnight."
REVENGE OF THE SITH began playing midnight shows in 2,900 theaters in North America. Snyder could not give a firm screen count, but noted that it could be significantly higher because of interlocking prints.
Steven Paul's Crystal Sky and Sony's Screen Gems are set to adapt videogame classic TEKKEN into a feature film, reports VARIETY. Budgeted at $50 million, the film is scheduled to start production this fall. For Crystal Sky, this is one of two properties picked up in turnaround from Dimension. The second begins with Marvel's WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, which Paul will produce with Marvel Studios' Avi Arad.