TYLER PERRYS MADEAS FAMILY REUNION led the box office for the second consecutive week with $12.6M, despite a 58% drop, over the traditionally slow Oscar weekend ended March 5, 2006. The Lionsgate release has attracted a two-week cume of $47.7M. Bowing in second was Warner Bros. 16 BLOCKS (with vfx by LairdFX and Mr. X), posting $11.8M. Slipping to third with $10.1M and a cume of $58.6M was Buena Vistas EIGHT BELOW (with vfx by Stan Winston Studio, Stan Winston Digital, Illusion Arts, CIS Hollywood & ILM).
Rez-Illusion Visual Effects has completed 136 visual effects shots for Fox Searchlights THE HILLS HAVE EYES (opening March 10).
Directed by Alexandre Aja, the film is a remake of Wes Cravens 1977 cult classic and tells the terrifying story of the Carter family that strays unwittingly into a government atomic testing zone while traveling and becomes the prey of cannibalistic mutant human monsters.
Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures announced plans to develop and produce SAW III for an October 27, 2006, wide release. SAW II helmer Darren Lynn Bousman will return to direct the film from a story by Leigh Whannell and James Wan (SAW, SAW II) and screenplay by Whannell. The Twisted Pictures team of Mark Burg and Oren Koules will also return as producers with Whannell and Wan set to exec produce.
Independent distributor Screen Media Ventures has secured all domestic rights to the CG-animated and live action feature MEE-SHEE: THE WATER GIANT, which stars Bruce Greenwood and Rena Owen, reports VARIETY. Jim Henson's Creature Shop provide the vfx.
Film Sales Co. represented the film, budgeted at $25 million and produced by Rainer Mockert and Barry Authors, who wrote the screenplay. John Henderson directed.
The story tracks the adventures of an 8-year-old who discovers a Loch Ness monster-like creature that he must protect from poachers.
Adlabs Films of the Ambani Group will team with Chennai-based Ocher Studios Pvt Ltd. to co-produce an animation project featuring the Southern superstar Rajnikanth, reports TAMIL STAR.
The project is aimed at Indian and international audiences. The film would be Adlabs first foray in animation.
Ocher Studios is headed by Latha Rajnikanth, the wife of the superstar actor.
The Weinstein Co. has acquired rights in all English speaking territories to the CG live-action hybride film ARTHUR AND THE MINIMOYS, based on Luc Besson's best-selling children's book by the same title. The screenplay was adapted by Besson, the award winning writer/director/producer behind such movies as THE FIFTH ELEMENT, THE MESSENGER: THE STORY OF JOAN OF ARC and LA FEMME NIKITA. Besson is directing the film, which features Freddie Highmore and Mia Farrow, and the voices of Madonna, Snoop Dogg, and David Bowie. The film is in production and is being produced by EuropaCorp.
Two-time Oscar-winning vfx supervisor John Dykstra will make his directorial debut on TORTOISE AND HIPPO for Walden Media and Relevant Ent, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
"It's a dream come true," Dykstra said. "The biggest thing to me is that having waited this long (to direct a feature) has provided me with an understanding of how films are made, and the critical component is collaboration. I'm really looking forward to telling this tale in the company of such a great team."
Dimension Films has snatched up John Unholz's superhero spoof COMIC BOOK: THE MOVIE, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The spec sold for mid-six against seven figures after going out wide to studios on the morning of Feb. 23, 2006. Dimension purchased the script that night after it drew interest from multiple studios.
Reminiscent of the SCARY MOVIE franchise, this film spoofs comicbook-based films. There are no producers or director attached yet.
Alexander Franklin is overseeing for Dimension.
THE POLAR EXPRESS: AN IMAX 3-D EXPERIENCE passed $60 million, making it the highest grossing IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) release to date, IMAX Corp. and Warner Bros. Pictures reported. Showing on 83 screens worldwide, the film passed $15 million in its second season, when it was re-released the same day as the film's DVD launch on Nov. 23, 2005.
Toronto-based visual effects firm Mr. X Inc., has completed the visual effects work on 16 BLOCKS, the new Warner Bros. Pictures release (March 3) from director Richard Donner. The action thriller, which stars Bruce Willis and Mos Def, required the sorts of invisible enhancements that have become increasingly common in the past few years.
"Dick (Donner) was not looking to add splashy 'in your face' visual effects," recalled visual effects supervisor Evan Jacobs. "In fact, I think the audience will be hard-pressed to pick out our work on this film."
Korean production company Younggu-Art Movies hopes to make a big bang in the U.S. in November with the release of its effects-laden D-WAR feature, reports VARIETY. Directed by Shim Hyung-rae with Younggu-Art Movies providing the vfx, the $145 million sci-fi flick combines Korean folklore, U.S. actors and Los Angeles locations.
TYLER PERRYS MADEAS FAMILY REUNION from Lions Gate led the box office with an opening bow of $30M for the weekend ending Feb. 26, 2006. Slipping to second place with $15.8M was Buena Vistas sled dog race movie, EIGHT BELOW (with vfx by Stan Winston Studio, Stan Winston Digital, Illusion Arts, CIS Hollywood & ILM) In two weeks, EIGHT BELOW has earned $45.2M. Holding at third place with $11M was Sonys remake of THE PINK PANTHER (2D-animated titles by Kurtz & Friends and vfx by Pixel Magic), which has a cume of $60.8M.
The Walt Disney Co. has tapped THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW writer Jeffrey Nachmanoff to pen three projects, including the feature adaptation of Ubisofts videogame PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME, reports VARIETY. In addition to the Jerry Bruckheimer Films-produced PERSIA, he will also tackle Bruckheimer's UNNATURAL HISTORY and the LivePlanet-produced LIBERTY.
The Fukuoka City Public Library has restored to its original length the first animated film made in Japan after World War II, reports JAPAN TIMES. A complete version of PRINCESS OF BAGHDAD had not existed for years.
The library will show the 48-minute movie based on THE ARABIAN NIGHTS on Saturday and Sunday at its theater.
A Fukuoka resident donated a nearly complete version to the library in 2004. Since then, the library collaborated with the National Film Center in Tokyo to restore the film to its original length.
Blur Studios 2005 Oscar-nominated short film, GOPHER BROKE, will screen before the CG-animated feature film, DOOGAL, opening today, Feb. 24, 2006, in more than 2,200 theaters in North America.
GOPHER BROKE, written and directed by Jeff Fowler and exec produced by Blur Studio co-founder Tim Miller will be screened ahead of the feature released by the Weinstein Co. with a special introduction from Academy Award-winning actress Judi Dench.
The Weinstein Co. has scooped up the rights to the script EVILSEEK from writer Wayne Kramer (THE COOLER, RUNNING SCARED) who will also direct and produce the supernatural thriller. Kramers partner Michael Pierce (RUNNING SCARED) will also produce via their True Grit Prods. banner. The Weinstein Co. will fully fund the project, which will star Thomas Jane (THE PUNISHER).
In its fourth quarter report, Marvel Ent. Inc. revealed that it has regained the film rights to the Incredible Hulk character and is very aggressively developing a sequel to the HULK feature film. Marvel Studios head Avi Arad said in the Earnings Conference Call that Universal would still distribute the sequel.
Jonathan Liebesman is in talks to helm the remake/prequel to FRIDAY THE 13TH for Platinum Dunes and New Line Cinema, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
Mark Wheatons script takes place at the original films Crystal Lake location, but unlike the original will feature a hockey mask wearing Jason as the central killer.
Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller will produce with Toby Emmerich, Cale Boyter and Jeff Katz overseeing for New Line.
Disney has tapped Oscar-nominated screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs (DINOSAUR, CHOCOLAT) to rewrite LILO & STITCH writer/director Dean DeBloiss live-action script, THE BANSHEE AND FIN MAGEE, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Jacobs and DeBlois will work closely together on the revamp. DeBlios is attached to project as its producer and director. The story revolves around an ignored boy, who gains attention by posing as a ghost until he meets a real one.
Rogue Pictures has nailed down the film rights to HACK/SLASH, a cult horror comicbook series, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Adrian Askarieh and Daniel Alter will produce with music video director Todd Lincoln set to direct as well as adapted the script with Martin Schenk (THE FLY remake).
Created by Tim Seeley and Stefano Caselli, the comic follows Cassie Hack and her hulking protector Vlad as they travel to small towns across the U.S. hunting down notorious slashers.
Buena Vista's sled dog race movie, EIGHT BELOW (with vfx by Stan Winston Studio, Stan Winston Digital, Illusion Arts, CIS Hollywood & ILM), was the surprising winner in the four-day President's Day weekend box office race, debuting at $25M for the weekend ended Feb. 20, 2006. Also leading the pack in a strong second place was Fox's DATE MOVIE, with Furious FX and Pacific Title contributing vfx, and an opening debut of $21.8M.
TITANIC director James Cameron has confirmed that his top-secret film, PROJECT 880, will be his next film, reports ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. Previously, Cameron was set to make a live-action version of BATTLE ANGEL, based on Yukito Kishiro's Japanese graphic novels, but script issues have delayed that project.
"We've moved PROJECT 880 into first position," Cameron said. "It's as classified as the Manhattan Project." However, rumors abound that the film will be a version of AVATAR, the director's long gestating love story set against interplanetary war.
New Line Cinema has cast Rainn Wilson (NBCs THE OFFICE) and Joely Richardson (FXs NIP/TUCK) in its sci-fi family film, MIMZY, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. New Line Cinema co-ceo Bob Shaye is set to direct.
The story follows two siblings, who discover a box of toys sent from the future, which gives them strange abilities. Wilson will play a science teacher and Richardson is the siblings' mom.
The studio is hoping to begin production in Vancouver in March.
Tobey Emmerich will shepherd for the studio.
Produced by Storm Studio, SLIPP JIMMY FRI (FREE JIMMY), Norway's first CG animated feature, is set to premiere in Norway on April 21, 2006. Written and directed by underground cartoonist Christopher Nielsen, the films $16 million budget also makes it the country's most expensive film production to date.
British actor/comedian Simon Pegg (SHAUN OF THE DEAD) wrote the English screenplay and the English-versions voice cast features Woody Harrelson, Kyle MacLachlan, Samantha Morton, Simon Pegg and Jim Broadbent.