It looks like the heavy vfx duties on the new WAR OF THE WORLDS feature from Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks will be done by vfx supervisor Dennis Muren and Industrial Light & Magic, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Steven Spielberg is directing the remake of H.G. Wells novel with Tom Cruise set to star in the pic stet to shoot in November 2004.
Project postponements have freed up actor Tom Cruise and director Steven Spielberg to team up again in the re-make of H.G. Wells THE WAR OF THE WORLDS for a fast track investment for DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures.
Cruise had been set to work on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 until a delay while Spielbergs untitled project on the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics has also been pushed back. Cruise and Spielberg collaborated successfully on MINORITY REPORT.
Ronald Shusett, co-creator of the ALIEN film series, and comic-book specialist Daniel Alter have optioned the feature-film rights to the sci-fi title MEGACITY, which Alter discovered at the recent Comic-Con International in San Diego, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. MEGACITY will be published by Devil's Due via an arrangement with the Korean entity Studio Ice.
Ben Kingsley has been signed to play the vampire Kagan, the evil ruler of an army of bloodsuckers, in the film adaptation of the videogame BLOODRAYNE, opposite Kristanna Loken (TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES), the ASSOCIATED PRESS reported. The film chronicles the adventures of a half-vampire, half-human in 18th-century Romania who has the super strength of a monster countered by the emotions of a person.
Digital Domain and Barnet Bain Films have acquired the film rights to Richard Bach's bestselling novel ILLUSIONS: THE ADVENTURES OF A RELUCTANT MESSIAH, according to DAILY VARIETY.
French filmmaker Yann Samuell is reportedly set to direct the adaptation, the inspirational account of an encounter with a modern-day messiah. The book has sold 15 million copies for author Bach, who also penned JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL.
DreamWorks is in negotiations with Ewan McGregor (BIG FISH) to star in Michael Bay's next sci-fi feature, THE ISLAND, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Caspian Tredwell-Owen (BEYOND BORDERS) wrote the spec screenplay, which chronicles a harvested being" who tries to escape the utopian facility he is housed in. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (TV's ALIAS) have been hired to polish the script. Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and Ian Bryce (CATCH ME IF YOU CAN) are set to produce. Marc Haines will oversee the project for the studio, which hopes to starting filming in the fall.
Howell, New Jersey-based NT Limited, a focused animation house, has announced the production of its first animated film, DAY OF THE PIGMAN. The film is scheduled for release in the spring of 2005 on DVD.
DreamWorks' COLLATERAL led the box office for the weekend ended Aug. 8, 2004, with $24.7M in its debut, besting M. Night Shyamalan's THE VILLAGE, down 67.8% in its second week with $16.4M. The horror film (with some vfx by ILM) has collected $85.6M for Disney's Buena Vista so far. Universal's THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (also with vfx by ILM) finished third with $14.3M and $124.6M.
20th Century Fox has pulled the plug on X-MEN helmer Brian Singer's two-year first look deal, now that the director has signed on to direct Warner Bros. SUPERMAN, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Singer's Bad Hat Harry production company, which was based on the Fox lot, was asked to clear out its offices. Singer, who is working on SUPERMAN out of the Warner lot, does not have a overall deal with Warner, despite his development of the remake of LOGAN'S RUN.
Josh Hutcherson (THE POLAR EXPRESS) and Jonah Bobo (AROUND THE BEND) have cast in Columbia Pictures' film rendition of ZATHURA, reports VARIETY. Based on the book by children's author Chris Van Allsburg, the story follows two young brothers whose house is launched into space. Tim Robbins plays their father. Jon Favreau (ELF) will direct with Michael De Luca and Bill Teitler producing. Ted Field and Louis D'Esposito will serve as exec producers with Peter Billingsley co-producing. The screenplay was penned by David Koepp. Columbia hopes to have the film in theaters in 2005.
VAN HELSING writer-director Stephen Sommers, along with his producing partner Bob Ducsay, has landed the rights to FLASH GORDON, which the duo will develop for Universal, reports VARIETY. Sommers will write the FLASH screenplay, but has yet to decided whether he will direct. Hearst Corp.'s King Features Syndicate, who owns the rights to the character, have assigned Rick Karo to produce for the company. Overseeing the project for Universal will be vice chairman Scott Stuber and vp of production Dylan Clark.
Square Enix Co., Ltd. has announced that it will screen a special preview edition of the upcoming FINAL FANTASY VII ADVENT CHILDREN at the 61st Venice International Film Festival, September 1-11 in Venice, Italy. The film is a direct-to-DVD CG-animated sequel to FINAL FANTASY VII, one of the best-selling PlayStation videogames of all time. FINAL FANTASY VII ADVENT CHILDREN will be shown as part of "Venezia Digitale," the new digital image category of the festival. Since the product is still in development, a special preview will be screened at the festival.
Picture Mill was the production company behind the opening and closing sequences for THE VILLAGE. Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan contacted Picture Mill soon after principal photography was done, to begin developing concepts for the titles.
Having the potential to fall into the "what were they thinking" remake category, Warner Bros. Pictures and Thunder Road Prods. has announced they will produce a live-action remake of the 1967 Rankin & Bass animated cult hit, MAD MONSTER PARTY?, reports VARIETY. Warner obtained the rights from Canal +, which gained them from Embassy Pictures, which produced the original animated special. John Pardee and Joey Murphy will write the script with Thunder Road's head Basil Iwanyk producing along with Chris Peters and Jackie Gilardi, who brought the project to the studio.
M. Night Shyamalan delivered once again for Disney and Buena Vista, as THE VILLAGE (with some vfx by ILM) scared up an opening gross of nearly $51M for the weekend ended Aug.1, 2004. It is Disney's first hit of the season. Overall, the nation's theaters reported record numbers for July of $1.32B, up from last year's $1.2B, thanks in part to a 6% rise in admissions - 213M vs. 200M.
After original director Robert Rodriguez dropped off the project due to his resignation from the Director's Guild over directing credits on his film SIN CITY, Alphaville is in negotiations with SKY CAPTAIN helmer Kerry Coran to direct the screen adaptation of the classic sci-fi adventure, A PRINCESS OF MARS, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Based on the first book in Edgar Rice Burroughs' 11-volume JOHN CARTER OF MARS series, the studio is hoping to make a franchise. Alphaville has produced THE MUMMY series.
DreamWorks will be screening new clips from Mamoru Oshii's anime film, INNOCENCE: GHOST IN THE SHELL 2, at Otakon 2004, being held from July 30 to Aug. 1, 2004 in Baltimore, Maryland. The screening will be July 30, between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm. Representatives from DreamWorks and Production I.G. will be hosting this special preview in Panel 1. Footage of the sequel will also be shown throughout the three-day convention at the DreamWorks booth (#1223), where free postcards and posters will be available.
DreamWorks has set up three unprecedented premieres, spanning two continents, three countries and two major film festivals for its CG feature, SHARK TALE. In addition, members of the film's all-star voice cast and soundtrack talent will be attending all of the premieres.
Nexus directors Smith & Foulkes have created an animated title sequence for Working Title's feature film, THE THUNDERBIRDS, based on the British cult puppet series of the 1960s. Working closely with THUNDERBIRD's director Jonathan Frakes and producer Tim Bevan, Nexus was asked to craft a sequence that captured the light-hearted tone of the movie, but also gave context and background information to a U.S. audience not familiar with the TV series.
Platinum Studios, the comic book entertainment company headed by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, has announced an exclusive deal to acquire and develop Marc Silvestris Top Cow Prods' library of characters and upcoming future projects for film and television.
The deal was crafted and negotiated by Top Cow president Matt Hawkins, who said, I woke up one morning and it just dawned on me that we do this. I spoke with Scott and Marc, and they were both immediately into it.
For fans of comics, sci-fi, fantasy, animation and everything geeky, Comic-Con is the pilgrimage one must take at least once or they must hand in their lightsabers and turn down their membership in the LORD OF THE RINGS fan club. Held July 22 25, 2004, the event drew a record 75,000 plus fans, industry types and press.
As a way of gaining their own children's fantasy franchise, Regency Enterprises and Fox 2000 Pictures has optioned the rights to Ted Naifeh's COURTNEY CRUMRIN comicbook series, reports VARIETY. Stan Winston and Brian Gilbert are set to produce the film with Sheryl Longin (DICK) penning the screenplay. Stacy Maes and Maria Faillace will oversee the project for Regency and Fox 2000 respectively. The deal gives the studios the rights to COURTNEY CRUMRIN AND THE NIGHT THINGS, COURTNEY CRUMRIN AND THE COVEN OF MYSTICS and COURTNEY CRUMRIN IN THE TWILIGHT KINGDOM.
Continental Film has announced that LORD OF THE RINGS second-unit director Geoff Murphy has signed on to direct the screen adaptation of the fantasy novel THE LAST UNICORN. Michael Pakleppa will produce the film with Julián Doyle, who has worked on visual effects for Monty Python and Terry Gilliam films, serving as special effects unit director. The story was previously adapted as an animated film by Rankin-Bass in 1982. Continental hopes to have the film ready for release in winter 2006. For more information on the production, visit www.the-last-unicorn.net.
DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures have teamed up to bring THE TRANSFORMERS to the big screen. Angry Films heads Don Murphy and Tom DeSanto, who exec produced the X-MEN films, will produce the live-action feature, along with Lorenzo di Bonaventura. The film will be based on a story by DeSanto. Steven Spielberg will exec produce. As part of the agreement, DreamWorks will handle domestic distribution with Paramount handling the film internationally.
Paramount has confirmed that REQUIEM FOR A DREAM helmer Darren Aronofsky will direct the much-anticipated film version of Alan Moore's classic graphic novel THE WATCHMEN, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The long in-development project was originally set to be X-MEN writer David Hayter's first directing job, but he will step aside to let Aronofsky direct the film from his script.