Premiering on the IFILM Network this week is DAMNED, a new film by Alex Crouch. Most consider a game of chess to be a fun, harmless way to pass the time, but nobody said it was fun for the pieces on the board! Witness the horrible fate of one group of chess pieces as they're thrown into the jaws of death. These guys know the true meaning of the word "Damned!" Find this short at: www.ifilm.com/ifilm/skeletons/film_detail/0,1263,1104743,00.html. .
The anime classic AKIRA, fresh from a $1 million restoration, has been released on the big screen in a few select theatres in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City. With digital projection, this is the cleanest, crispest print ever seen to date. AWN was invited to a special pre-release screening and was very impressed by the quality of the print and restoration. First released theatrically in Japan in 1988, AKIRA has garnered legions of fans around the world and is still considered a masterpiece of cel animation.
Sharon Katz, creator of HAPPY BIRTHDAY HANNAH (Audience Choice Award, Chicks 'n Flicks Film Festival), has finished her newest animated short, THE ANGEL'S FOOT CAKE / DER FUS TORT. In the film, Drinkeleh Fresserkeh decides to make a cake in the shape of an Angel's foot. The Angels take umbrage and the fun begins in this delightfully raucous modern Yiddish animated tale. The film premiers April 29, 2001 at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival.
For the first time in 48 years, an animated film has been selected to compete at the Cannes Film Festival. DreamWorks SKGs SHREK, directed by Andrew Adamson and Victoria Jenson, was one of 22 films selected for official competition. The film, slated for a May 18, 2001 U.S. release, stars Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow, and was produced at PDI/DreamWorks, the companys Palo Alto CGI and effects unit.
Richard Linklater's latest film, the animated feature WAKING LIFE, has been acquired by Fox Searchlight and will hit theaters later this year. Fox Searchlight acquired the worldwide distribution rights in a deal negotiated by the companys executive VP Joseph de Marco and John Sloss of the indie financing company Cinetic. The movie debuted to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Emmy-nominated director Chris Prynoski, best known for his work on BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD DO AMERICA and the animated series MTV DOWNTOWN, has completed animation work on Tom Green's upcoming feature film FREDDY GOT FINGERED. In the film, Green plays a bizarre animator who desperately tries to win his father's approval. Prynoski, known for his edgy, underground style, provides animation that launches Green's skewed creations onto the big screen.
POKEMON 3, the third feature installment of the POKEMON trilogy, debuted in fourth place at the box office this weekend, taking in $9.18 million. SPY KIDS, Robert Rodriguez new espionage yarn, with primary visual effects by Hybride Technologies, captured first place for the second week in a row, grossing $17.8 million, with $49 million accumulated thus far. ENEMY AT THE GATES fell from sixth to seventh, grossing $3.45 million.
Look! Effects, a Hollywood, California digital effects and 3Danimation company, has completed a 5-minute 3D computer animationsequence for Metaphor Films and Gotham Entertainment's independentfeature FIRST WATCH. Featuring detailed models of planets, stars,their surfaces and movements that were based on some of the latestastronomical imaging and scientific data available, the sequenceconsists of a single, extended pull back where the camera lifts outof an aerial view of the Earth, travels through the Solar System,
SPY KIDS, Robert Rodriguez new espionage yarn, with primary visual effectsby Hybride Technologies, captured first place at the box office thisweekend, grossing $27.0 million. ENEMY AT THE GATES fell from fourth tosixth, grossing $5.3 million. The WWII sniper saga, with primary visualeffects by Das Werk, Die Nefzers, Double Negative, The Computer Film Companyand AudioMotion Ltd., has accumulated $34.2 million thus far. Dropping fromsixth to eighth was CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, which collected another
In a weekend with lackluster results at the box office, ENEMY AT THE GATES fell from second to fourth, grossing $8.4 million. The WWII sniper saga, with primary visual effects by Das Werk, Die Nefzers, Double Negative, The Computer Film Company and AudioMotion Ltd., has accumulated $26.2 million thus far. Staying in the sixth spot was CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON which collected another $4.62 million. The Oscar winner for best foreign film, with primary visual effects by Blue Sky Studios, CFC/MVFX and Manex Visual Effects, has amassed $106.26 million.
TriStar Pictures has announced that it will be putting the animated feature THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN into theaters for a limited release on May 11, 2001. Based on the novel by E.B. White, the film follows the adventures of Louie, a mute trumpeter swan who takes extraordinary steps to compensate for his lack of voice.
HANNIBAL held strong at the international box office with debuts of TRAFFIC topping charts in Australia and Italy. In France, however, HANNIBAL fended off the premiere of TRAFFIC, taking the top slot with a gross of US$3.17 million and raising its cume to $9.4 million. In second, TRAFFIC smuggled in $2.48 million. VERTICAL LIMIT climbed into the sixth spot, grossing $807,368, thus lifting its French total to $5.15 million. In the U.K., HANNIBAL hatched another $2.52 million in first, elevating its cume to $26.1 million.
Threshold Entertainment, a multimedia and intellectual property management company, announced that Dimension Films has acquired the project DUKE NUKEM: THE MOVIE. The film will be produced by Larry Kasanoff (TRUE LIES, MORTAL KOMBAT) and Threshold Entertainment. Based on the US$1 billion gaming franchise by 3-D Realms, NUKEM follows the politically incorrect title character as he travels into space to intercept an alien ship on a collision course for Earth.
With Steven Seagal and rapper DMX's EXIT WOUNDS topping the charts in the U.S., ENEMY AT THE GATES shot into second. The WWII sniper saga, with primary visual effects by Das Werk, Die Nefzers, Double Negative, The Computer Film Company and AudioMotion Ltd., collected US$13.81 million in its debut. Warner Bros.' SEE SPOT RUN slipped to fourth, grossing out audiences to the tune of $5.01 million. The gaseous giggler has amassed $24.81 million thus far. In sixth, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON secured another $4.04 million.
Luxembourg-based Oniria Productions has announced that work has started on RENART, THE FOX, a new computer-animated feature film. RENART will be directed by Thierry Schiel, who has helmed Oniria's nearly completed CGI feature TRISTAN & ISOLDE. Along with Schiel, Sophia Kolokouri will produce the film. RENART, THE FOX, based on the widely-known fable LE ROMAN DE RENART, spells out the hilarious adventures of the cunning Renart, an outlaw who pursues riches to support his children.
Warner Bros. has decided not to award the US$30 million visual effects contract for the MATRIX sequels to Manex Entertainment, despite its Oscar-winning work on the original film. Warner has decided to go with ESC Entertainment, which officially formed on Friday, March 9, 2001 and employs many of the technicians and artists that worked on the original MATRIX. In turn, Manex is seeking a judicial order to assure it has a role in the film, due to its extensive pre-production good-will work already completed. The company has developed a proprietary facial-scanning system for the sequels.
Gobbling up the competition, HANNIBAL dined atop the box office charts in a host of new countries. In France, the cannibalistic cavalcade collected an impressive US$6.23 million in its debut. VERTICAL LIMIT climbed into fifth with a gross of $1.46 million, lifting its French cume to $4.35 million. In sixth, 102 DALMATIANS collared another $1.38 million, raising its French cume to $13.51 million. In Mexico, HANNIBAL premiered in first with an amazing ticket-take of $2.71 million. At #5, RED PLANET dusted off $390,792, growing its Mexican cume to $1.04 million.
Golden Harvest, one of the leading Hong Kong production and distribution studios, has announced that it will produce its first animated feature. The film will be based on the popular Hong Kong comic strip MY LIFE AS MCDULL, which follows the exploits of a pig named McMug. The budget for this mature-themed cartoon is set at US$1.28 million. Golden Harvest managing director Phoon Chiong Kit said, "Animations generally aren't very financially viable because it takes a lot of money to promote a new cartoon character. But with MCDULL, having the comic strip already so popular helps."
With THE MEXICAN retaining the top spot and the live-action thriller 15 MINUTES debuting in second, Warner Bros.' SEE SPOT RUN held steady in third, grossing US$6.61 million. The feces-joke ridden family film has scooped up $17.98 million so far. HANNIBAL fell from second to fourth with a gross of $5.85 million. The hog-wild horror flick, with primary visual effects by Mill Film, has dined on $151.5 million thus far. Slipping two slots to finish seventh, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON drummed up another $4.26 million. The highest grossing foreign language film in U.S.
Big Idea Productions has announced that production has started on their first theatrical release, JONAH: A VEGGIETALES MOVIE. The CGI-animated film is slated to hit theaters in 2002. Big Idea's direct-to-video series VEGGIETALES has sold more than 20 million units to date. The film will be a humorous retelling of the Bible story of Jonah and the whale. Currently, Big Idea is searching for a distribution partner. A sneak peek of the feature will be previewed on the March 27 video release, LYLE, THE KINDLY VIKING.
Originally slated as a direct-to-video, the sequel to Disney's 1953 classic PETER PAN will now be released on the big screen. The film is scheduled to hit theaters in the spring of 2002. The project was shelved in the fall of 1999, but was revived little over a year ago. Like TOY STORY 2 and THE TIGGER MOVIE, Disney's execs liked the would-be direct-to-video so much they decided to give it a theatrical run. PETER PAN: RETURN TO NEVERLAND will be set during the World War II air raids on London, and finds Peter Pan on the trail of Captain Hook after the pirate kidnaps Wendy's daughter, Jane.
In a battle for first, THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE and HANNIBAL went toe to toe in Sweden and the U.K., with the cannibalistic cringer taking a good chunk out of the rest of the international box office. In Sweden, HANNIBAL knocked GROOVE out of the top spot with a gross of $1.02 million. GROOVE grabbed second, grossing $456,488, thereby lifting its Swedish cume to $1.44 million. Jumping up a spot to #7, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON floated $107,750, pushing its Swedish cume to $1.23 million. In ninth, CAST AWAY rescued another $90,711, raising its Swedish cume to $2.36 million.
With live-action comedy/adventure THE MEXICAN taking first, three-week champion HANNIBAL slipped to second with a gross of $10.05 million. The brain-eating adventure, with primary visual effects by Mill Film, has gobbled up $142.8 million. Warner Bros.' SEE SPOT RUN posted a third place debut. The gross-out family comedy took home $9.72 million. Holding its ground in fifth, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON floated another $4.91 million. The romantic fantasy, with primary visual effects by Blue Sky Studios, CFC/MVFX and Manex Visual Effects, has secured $88.66 million thus far.
Adam Sandler's feature foray into animation has dropped the controversial name. Originally titled, WHITEY & DAVEY, the feature will be distributed through Columbia TriStar under the new name ADAM SANDLER'S 8 CRAZY NIGHTS. Production on the traditionally animated film is being done at Sandler's Toronto animation studio Meatball Animation. Called a "Hanukkah musical," the toon centers on Davey, a pro basketball executive, who befriends an old-fashioned coach named Whitey. The toon is set to hit theaters on December 14, 2001.
While HANNIBAL took a strong hold around the international box office, Disney's THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE danced its way to number one in Sweden. In Italy, HANNIBAL reclaimed the top spot with a gross of $3.47 million, elevating its cume to $9.12 million. At #5 in Italy, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON floated another $820,649, pushing its total to $1.97 million. In Australia, HANNIBAL retained the #1 slot, grossing $3.29 million, thus escalating its cume to $3.54 million. At #2, CAST AWAY foraged $755,639, lifting its Australian cume to $10.39 million.