Controversial documentary filmmaker Michael Moore (ROGER AND ME, BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE) is getting animated. VARIETY reports that Moore's next project will be an animated feature, co-written with cartoonists/animators Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins) and Harold Moss. Tomorrow is well known for his comic strip "This Modern World," which appears regularly in approximately 150 papers across the country, and Moss is the founder and creative director of FlickerLab in New York.
Extreme-sports actioner XXX, with visual effects by Digital Domain, was the number one film this weekend, earning $44.5M. The signs were still good for M. Night Shyamalan's crop-circle caper, which has already crossed the $100M mark after ten days in theaters. SIGNS, with visual effects by ILM, dropped 51% from last weekend but still brought in $29.4M for a total of $117.9M and second place. Family friendly sequel SPY KIDS 2: THE ISLAND OF LOST DREAMS, with visual effects by ComputerCafe, debuted in third with $16.7M for the weekend and a total of $25M since its Wednesday debut. Yeah baby!
Andrew Adamson, co-director of SHREK, has been hired to direct a live-action feature film adaptation of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. Producer Walden Media partnered with The CS Lewis Company to option the entire seven-part fantasy book series THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, of which THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE is best-known. Writer Ann Peacock (A LESSON BEFORE DYING) will adapt the screenplay. The film does not yet have a distributor, but Walden hopes to have it in theaters by mid-2004. SHREK marked Adamsons feature film directing debut.
All signs pointed to big money at the box office this weekend, when M. Night Shyamalan's latest thriller took the top spot, besting AUSTIN POWERS: GOLDMEMBER and scoring August's highest non-sequel debut in history. SIGNS, with visual effects by ILM, was number one with a $60.3M debut. GOLDMEMBER was second, dropping off 56% from its first weekend, but still earning a strong $30M for a two-week total of $140M. The third and fourth spots were held by two new releases, the Dana Carvey starrer THE MASTER OF DISGUISE with $17M and MARTIN LAWRENCE: LIVE with $7.5M.
GOLDMEMBER, the third installment in the AUSTIN POWERS franchise, handily topped the box office this weekend with a whopping $71.4M debut. This gives the spy spoof $75M total (including Thursday's sneak preview gross) making it the highest July debut ever. The weekend's other new film, Disney's THE COUNTRY BEARS, based on the Disneyland theme park attraction, made a lackluster sixth place debut with $5.2M. This may not bode well for Disney's upcoming features based on theme rides The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.
DreamWorksSKG has thrown its hat into the anime ring with the acquisition ofthe worldwide distribution rights for the Japanese animated filmMILLENNIUM ACTRESS. The film rights, licensed from The Klockworx Co.,Ltd., include all forms of distribution including theatrical, homevideo, television and ancillary rights, and covers all markets withthe exception of Asia. Based in Tokyo, The Klockworx Co., Ltd. willoversee the film's release in Asia. Directed by PERFECT BLUE director
Despite three new films in wide release, this weekend posted a relatively low total box office. And in a repeat of the LILO & STITCH vs. MINORITY REPORT box office battle, a family film was neck and neck with an adult drama, only to lose the top spot. The continuing adventures of the animated mouse of STUART LITTLE 2 lost its hold on the number one box office spot to THE ROAD TO PERDITION. STUART LITTLE 2, with visual effects by Sony Imageworks, debuted in second place with $15.1M, following closely behind ROAD's $15.4M.
Hollywood, California-based production house Cinesite will be providing visual effects for the 20th Century Fox feature X-MEN 2, scheduled to be in theaters May 2, 2003. In this sequel to 2000's X-MEN, Brian Cox (THE BOURNE IDENTITY) portrays the villainous Stryker, a former Army commander who holds the key to Wolverine's past - as well as the future of the X-MEN. The original cast from X-MEN will return, joined by Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler, a mutant who can teleport himself from one point to another almost instantaneously.
DreamWorks Pictures has enlisted Jim Carrey and Garry Shandling to voice the main characters in its upcoming 3D animated comedy OVER THE HEDGE, based on the comic strip by Michael Fry and T Lewis. OVER THE HEDGE, slated for release in 2005, will be the second computer animated project to be produced entirely at DreamWorks animation studio in Glendale, following the comedy SHARKSLAYER, which is currently in production. Produced by Bonnie Arnold (TOY STORY, TARZAN), OVER THE HEDGE follows the adventures of mischievous raccoon R.J.
Four new releases failed to attack the MEN IN BLACK's box office hold. Despite a 50% drop from last weekend's monstrous box office, MEN IN BLACK II is still number one, earning $25M and breaking the $100M mark after just 8 days. The film, with primary visual effects by ILM, has earned $133.3M since its July 4 debut. DreamWorks' THE ROAD TO PERDITION, debuted in second place with $22.1M. In third was the dragonslaying thriller REIGN OF FIRE, with visual effects by The Secret Lab, which brought in $16M, and HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION managed to scare up $12.3M for fourth place.
Miramax Films is joining the ranks of studios with animation projects in the works. The independent film studio has partnered with LEGO Media to develop a CG-animated motion picture for 2004 release, based on LEGOs successful Bionicle toys and comics. In addition to the feature film project, the agreement gives Miramax worldwide distribution rights to LEGO Media's previously announced, CG-animated direct-to-video movie, BIONICLE: MASK OF LIGHT, scheduled to debut in September 2003.
Sony Imageworks first 3D animated short, a 5 1/2 minute comedy titled THE CHUBBCHUBBS, is now playing in theaters before the feature film MEN IN BLACK II. Produced by Imageworks, and directed by Eric Armstrong, animation supervisor for STUART LITTLE 2, THE CHUBBCHUBBS features an alien hero named Meeper who valiantly tries to warn the patrons of the Ale-E-Inn of impending intergalactic danger. According to VARIETY, the short was never intended for the public and was made as an internal systems test.
Aliens are proving to be big box office this summer, as MEN IN BLACK II debuts at number one, and LILO AND STITCH breaks the $100M mark after three weeks. MEN IN BLACK II, the sequel to the 1997 blockbuster, has taken in a record-breaking total of $90M since its Wednesday, July 4 debut, knocking last week's number one film MR. DEEDS, to second with $18.8M for the weekend and $74M to date.
IndustrialLight + Magic will provide the special visual effects and animationfor PETER PAN, the first live-action version of J.M. Barrie'senduring classic about the boy who doesn't want to grow up. The filmis a joint production of Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures andRevolution Studios, with P.J. Hogan (MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING)enlisted to direct. Principal photography will begin in fall 2002 inQueensland, Australia. Hogan and writer Michael Goldenberg (CONTACT)
After fighting a battle royal with futuristic thriller MINORITY REPORT and ending last weekend in close second, this weekend's tally finds LILO & STITCH holding fast to the number two spot while MINORITY REPORT has slipped to third. In first place was the latest Adam Sandler vehicle MR. DEEDS, which topped the chart with $37.6M. In second, LILO & STITCH grossed $22.2M for $77.8M to date and MINORITY REPORT's $21.6M was good for third, and a two-week total of $73.4M. SCOOBY DOO, with visual effects by Rhythm & Hues and Warner Bros.
After it grossed $100M in only 10 days, it's nosurprise that Warner Bros. has announced plans for a secondSCOOBY-DOO feature, with the original starring cast returning underthe anticipated helm of SCOOBY-DOO director Raja Gosnell. Theannouncement was made by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, president ofworldwide production for Warner Bros. Pictures. The upcoming filmwill be produced by Mosaic Media Group's Charles Roven, and byRichard Suckle. Stars Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar,
The final numbers from this weekend's box office have been tallied, and it was a close one! Although Disney officials predicted the traditionally animated duo LILO & STITCH will take the number one spot over the powerful combination of Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg, it was not to be. It was down to the wire, but Spielberg's MINORITY REPORT, with primary visual effects by ILM, prevailed, edging out LILO & STITCH for the number one spot with $35.7M.
The CGIScooby isn't the only startling effect in Warner Bros. feature filmSCOOBY DOO. Spooky Island features a host of ghosts and SanFrancisco visual effects house Giant Killer Robots (GKR) delivered120 visual effects shots, most involving the "spirits" of the film'scharacters. When the villain Mondavarius and his team of evil-doerssteal the spirits of the Mystery, Inc. gang, the artists at GKR hadto bring those spirits to life. Working with point cloud scans of the
Three new releases took the top three spots at this weekend's box office. Number one was the live-action comedy SCOOBY DOO, featuring an all CGI Scooby courtesy of Rhythm & Hues and Warner Bros. Feature Animation. The Mystery Inc. crew debuted with $56.4M, making SCOOBY DOO the third highest grossing debut this year, after EPISODE II and SPIDER-MAN. In second place was the thriller THE BOURNE IDENTITY with a strong $27.6 debut. In third was the John Woo-helmed World War II pic WINDTALKERS, with visual effects by Cinesite, earning $14.5M for the weekend.
Seen SPIRIT? Looking to get an animation fix before LILO AND STITCH arrives in theaters? Then check your local cineplex for the independent feature THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS, which features nearly 20 minutes of animation by Todd McFarlane. The coming of age drama is set to open in selected U.S. theaters on June 14, 2002. Based on the 1992 debut novel by Chris Fuhrman and directed by Peter Care, the film stars Kieran Culkin and Emile Hirsch as budding comic artists who are constantly at odds with their strict Catholic school teacher, Sister Assumpta (Jodie Foster).
He's no Michael Jordan, but Brendan Fraser (THE MUMMY, GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE) has signed on to be the live-action star in Warner Bros. Pictures new live-action/animation feature film LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION (what no SPACE JAM II?). Production is scheduled to begin on July 29, 2002, in southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada, with animation production at the Warner Bros. Animation facilities in Sherman Oaks, California.
The CIA thriller THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, with visual effects by Rhythm & Hues, came in at number one again this weekend, earning $18.7M for a two-week total of $61.7M. The Ya-Ya's battled the Clones to take second, as chick-flick THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD earned $16.3M in its debut weekend and STAR WARS: EPISODE II, with visual effects by ILM, dropped to third with $13.8M and a four-week cume of $254.9M.
Vinton Studios has created a computer animated short that will screen at the opening of the SIGGRAPH 2002 Animation Theater. WASHED UP stars a scruffy looking beach bum who is shown getting spruced up for his trip to Texas for SIGGRAPH 2002. He puts on his cowboy hat and boots, and even a Texas star embossed pocket protector. As the story unfolds, it is revealed that he is actually stranded on a desert island and in his haste has forgotten the most important part of his outfit -- his pants.
Comic book and outer space heroes lost to a CIA operative in this weekend's box office, with action-thriller THE SUM OF ALL FEARS taking the top box office spot. Based on a novel by Tom Clancy with visual effects by Rhythm & Hues, the film took in $31.2M. SUM's number one debut added up to second place for STAR WARS: EPISODE II, with the attacking clones earning $20.6M this weekend, representing nearly a 60% drop from last weekend's 3-day box office. Ouch. This gives the space saga, with visual effects by ILM, $232M after three weeks in theaters.
Twentieth Century Fox has announced February 14, 2003 as the new release date for DAREDEVIL, the next comics-to-film epic. Moving the debut from January to February to take advantage of opening over the four-day (U.S.) Presidents' Day holiday, the studio can only be hoping to grab the record-breaking box office that other comics-inspired superhero (SPIDER-MAN) has been spinning over the past few weeks. DAREDEVIL stars Ben Affleck in the title role, a blind vigilante with ultra-heightened other senses and incredible acrobatic abilities.