SHREK producer John H. Williams has partnered again with U.K.-based sales and financing company Odyssey Ent. to bring the animation producer's latest project, RIBBIT, to the market, according to HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The new deal between Williams Ealing Studio-based Vanguard Animation and Odyssey is the fourth time Odyssey has taken international sales duties for the Oscar-winning producer's properties.
Sherman Oaks, California-based Swordplay Entertainment Inc., has begun principal production on the animated feature film, CONAN: RED NAILS, based on the classic story by the best-selling fantasy author Robert E. Howard, a new 2D/3D animated feature film, targeting a fall 2006 release on video/DVD, with a theatrical release pending test screening. New Line Home Entertainment has acquired all North American distribution rights to the animated feature film.
Anima Estudios has announced with the support of Fidecine Mexico the release of its second feature animated film, IMAGINUM. The film will be released in theaters nationwide in August 2005, distributed by Videocine, the movie production and distribution company of Televisa.
The main characters are voiced by Eugenio Derbez (Mexico´s most popular comedian), Giovanni Florido, Ilse Olivo and Ruben Trujillo.
Universal has secured the film rights to the young adult fantasy novel series OUTCAST, reports VARIETY. Charlie Mitchell (forthcoming THE CHILDREN OF THE DUST BOWL) has been hired to adapt the screenplay. Additionally, Mitchell will produce along with Donaldson/Sanders' Peter Donaldson and Circle of Confusion's Jason Lust.
On a film already in production, Hugo Weaving, who has been immortalized as Agent Smith in THE MATRIX films and his elfin role in THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, will replace James Purefoy (RESIDENT EVIL) as the star of V FOR VENDETTA, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The reason for the move was not announced, but the film is still set to hit theaters Nov. 4, 2005. The cast also includes Natalie Portman, Stephen Rea, Rupert Graves and Stephen Fry.
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN opened lukewarmly for Fox yet still managed to lead a weak box office for the weekend ended May 8, 2005. Ridley Scotts epic about the Crusades took home $19.6M (with vfx from The Moving Picture Co., Double Negative, Framestore CFC and Clear), ahead of Warner Bros. HOUSE OF WAX (with vfx by Photon VFX), which bowed with $12M.
Director Ridley Scott, whose epic about the Crusades with Orlando Bloom, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, opens today (May 6, 2005 through Twentieth Century Fox), told VFXWORLD that the hybrid of live action and CGI that predominates the industry today is very dangerous.
He recounted how Doug Trumbull advised him 25 years ago on BLADE RUNNER to shoot live whenever possible, and he only selectively goes digital to enhance reality out of necessity. It isnt easy getting 70,000 troops out there in one shot, Scott admits.
IMAX Corp. and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that THE POLAR EXPRESS: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE, the highest grossing and most successful IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) release to date, will return to IMAX theatres in November 2005. First released on Nov. 10, 2004, and co-financed by Shangri-La Ent., the film broke virtually every box-office record for a digitally re-mastered Hollywood film in IMAX's format, and set the record for the highest grossing week in IMAX's 35-year history.
IDT Ent. Sales (IDTeS) will attend Marché du Film in Cannes with a slate of new animated and live-action theatrical features. Among the new properties to be offered are the highly anticipated horror anthology MASTERS OF HORROR, featuring the most prominent horror directors, the thriller ROOM SI starring Jerry OConnell and Christine Taylor, and two-time Oscar-nominee Bill Plymptons animated HAIR HIGH, which was just selected to screen at the prestigious Melbourne International Film Festival for 2005.
Korean animation house DG Spot and its production division Morph have bought the rights to graphic novel MASTERMINDS and plans to turn it into an animated feature. The property is the lead franchise of Los Angeles-based animation house MasterMinds Unlimited. Production on the film, which will include a role voiced by Stan Lee, is set to begin this summer.
Buena Vistas THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (with vfx by Cinesite) topped the box office chart in its debut for the weekend ended May 1, 2005, collecting $21.1M. Universals THE INTERPRETER, last weekends winner, slipped to second place, with $13.8M for a two-week total of $43.1M. The other big opener, XXX: STATE OF THE UNION (with vfx from ILM), didnt fare so well for Sony Revolution, as Ice Cube stepped in for Vin Diesel. The Lee Tamahori actioner netted a disappointed $12.7M for a third place finish.
Crossing over from small screen to big screen fans, 20th Century Fox has been exercising some synergy, releasing AMERICAN DAD: INSIDE THE CIA, a never-before-seen short, running exclusively before the film FEVER PITCH, starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. The three-minute short, which is a take-off on CIA training films from the 50s, is screening before the Fox film, FEVER PITCH, holding in seventh place at the box office in the U.S. in its fifth week of release while the Fox TV series, AMERICAN DAD, premiered May 1 9:30 pm on FOX.
IMAX Corp. and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE will be simultaneously released to both IMAX and conventional theatres on November 18, 2005. The film is based on the best-selling J.K. Rowling book and is the fourth installment of the tremendously successful HARRY POTTER film series, which has grossed a total of more than $2.6 billion around the world. HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE will be digitally re-mastered into IMAX's format through the company's IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology and released to the worldwide IMAX theatre network.
Marvel Enterprises Inc. and Paramount Pictures announced that they have entered into an agreement under which Paramount will distribute a slate of feature films to be produced by Marvel, which include titles such as CAPTAIN AMERICA and NICK FURY. Marvel also announced a new, non-recourse financing facility to be provided by Merrill Lynch Commercial Finance Corp. that will allow the company to produce its own slate of feature films based on its renowned comic book characters.
Platinum Studios and The Shop Prods. have chosen Alan McElroy (SPAWN) to write the screenplay for the $18 million budgeted first ever CG theatrical horror feature, BONESAW, based on the Platinum Studios graphic novel by acclaimed Scots writer Rob Moran. Relativity Management, one of Hollywood's leading talent management firms, will be co-financing the picture and is arranging the international elements. Production is set to begin in early 2006, and be completed fall 2007. McElroy will be splitting his time between his Ohio home and the Vancouver production offices of BONESAW.
Digital Vision announced that Industrial Light & Magic has used its AGR4 ME motion-compensated grain & noise management system to prepare the digital cinema master for George Lucas STAR WARS: EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH, which hits theaters May 19, 2005.
DreamWorks Animation has assembled a top-tier roster of voice talent for its upcoming computer-animated comedy, BEE MOVIE, which will star the films co-writer and producer Jerry Seinfeld. Starring opposite the famed comic will be Academy Award-winner Renée Zellweger (COLD MOUNTAIN, CHICAGO). BEE MOVIE is slated for release on November 2, 2007, following the May 18, 2007 release of the third SHREK movie.
Universal Pictures is set to remake Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1963 horror film, THE BIRDS, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes is in talks with the studio to produce along with Peter Guber and his Mandalay Pictures. The new version will be based on the original short story by Daphne Du Maurier, which inspired the Hitchcock film. The story chronicles the events that transpire in a small Pacific Coast town after the birds begin attacking in mass for no reason.
Wes Craven's Craven/Maddalena Films is teaming with Gold Circle Films to produce indie horror flick THE WAITING, written by BOOGEYMAN scribes Juliet Snowden and Stiles White, reports VARIETY. Craven/Maddalena president Marianne Maddalena and Gold Circle president Paul Brooks will produce the film with Craven serving as exec producer. Craven/Maddalena Films vp of development Alix Taylor will co-produce with Wendy Rhoads of Gold Circle, whose Zak Kadison will oversee the project.
PITCH BLACKs Radha Mitchell will star in the film adaptation of the hit videogame SILENT HILL, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. TriStar Pictures will release the film in the States. Christophe Gans (BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF) will helm the $45 million-$50 million picture, which has started production in Toronto.
Universal has tapped funnyman Will Ferrell to star in a big screen adaptation of campy '70s kids show THE LAND OF THE LOST, reports the trades. TV series original exec producers Sid and Marty Krofft will produce the film for the studio along with Mosaic Media Groups Jimmy Miller and Julie Wixson-Darmody. ANCHORMAN director Adam McKay will direct the film based on a screenplay by Chris Henchy (TVs SPIN CITY, ENTOURAGE) and Dennis McNicholas (TVs SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE).
Sydney Pollacks THE INTERPRETER, starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, captured the top spot at the box office in its debut weekend ended April 24, 2005. The old-fashioned suspense thriller took in $22.8M for Universal, upending MGMs remake of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, last weeks champ, which hauled in $13.7M and $44.3M for a second place finish. Paramounts SAHARA (with vfx from Cinesite and Double Negative) dropped to third with $9M for a cume of $48.9M. Buena Vistas A LOT LIKE LOVE with Amanda Peet and Ashton Kutcher bowed in fourth place with $7.5M.
Cherry Road Films and Darko Ent. announced that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will star opposite Seann William Scott (AMERICAN PIE films, THE DUKES OF HAZZARD) and Sarah Michelle Gellar (THE GRUDGE) in the science-fiction thriller SOUTHLAND TALES for writer-director Richard Kelly (DONNIE DARKO). Sean McKittrick will produce under the Darko Ent. banner he co-founded with Kelly. Cherry Road principals Bo Hyde and Kendall Morgan will produce.
Its still a month away but fans crazy to see STAR WARS: EPISODE III - REVENGE OF THE SITH, have inundated Fandango, the nation's largest online and phone movie ticketing service, which is reporting unprecedented sales for the eagerly awaited movie, with sold-out shows in select markets. The George Lucas epic opens May 19, 2005.
SITH ranks as Fandango's fastest-selling movie to-date, selling five times as many tickets as the company's next best-selling movie (THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST) at this point in the film's sales cycle.
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.