Universal's spy sequel, THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (with vfx by ILM), ruled the box office for the weekend ended July 25, 2004, capturing $52.5M. That was far better than I, ROBOT's second place finish of $21.7M (with vfx by Digital Domain and Patrick Tatopoulos Design). In two weeks, the Will Smith sci-fi thriller from Fox has gathered $95.1M.
U.S. anime producer/distributor ADV Films will premiere its first animated feature, LADY DEATH: THE MOTION Picture on July 23, 2004 at 9:00 pm at the Comic-Con 2004 in San Diego in room 5AB. Director Andrew Orjuela and creator Brian Pulido, among other members of the LADY DEATH creative team, are scheduled to be on hand at the screening Friday night and will also be signing autographs and talking to fans at the ADV booth at 1:00 pm July 22-24 at the convention.
VIZ, LLC has formally announced the North American theatrical premiere of INUYASHA: AFFECTIONS TOUCHING ACROSS TIME, the first feature film of the widely popular anime fantasy series released in the United States. INUYASHA: AFFECTIONS TOUCHING ACROSS TIME will debut at Comic-Con 2004, to be held July 22-25 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. INUYASHA airs on Cartoon Network.
Sylvain Chomet, the director the acclaimed THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE, is set to direct the animated feature film DESPEREAUX for Universal, reports VARIETY. Larger Than Life Prods' Gary Ross and Allison Thomas, who produced SEABISCUIT, will produce the film.
Universal Pictures has made it official; it has purchased the feature film rights to vicar G.P. Taylor bestseller SHADOWMANCER for a seven-digit sum, reports VARIETY. Fortitude Films originally bought the rights to the book in March for $1 million against $6.2 million for the book and will produce the film. Universal will cover Fortitude's original deal, which included 15% of merchandising. Fortitude's Steve Delaportas and Lisa Marie Butkiewicz will produce.
Sony has picked up the rights to animated feature MONSTER HOUSE from DreamWorks, reports VARIETY. Sony plans to make this its second "performance-capture" feature after the release of POLAR EXPRESS this fall. Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers will produce. MONSTER will begin production at Sony Pictures Imageworks on Aug. 23. DreamWorks partner Steven Spielberg will remain an exec producer of the film.
Based on a pitch by Gil Kenan, who is set to direct the film, the story follows three children who discover that a neighbor's house is a living monster.
Paramount Pictures has confirmed that director Joe Carnahan has left the director's chair for its MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3, reports VARIETY. The reason given was the Hollywood cliché of creative differences. However, Paramount is still determined to starting filming next month at Berlin's Babelsberg Studios.
There is a Superman! Warner Bros. has announced that its next film in the SUPERMAN franchise will be directed by X-MEN helmer Bryan Singer, reports VARIETY. Previously rumored directors include BATMAN's Tim Burton, RUSH HOUR's Brett Ratner, CHARLIE'S ANGELS' McG and BAD BOYS' Michael Bay. In addition, Bryan Singer will work from a new script from X2 writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris. Warner hopes to start filming by the end of the year.
Keyframe Digital Prods., a digital animation and visual effects studio based in Ontario, Canada, has completed all vfx work for the feature CRAZY CANUCKS, produced by Alberta Film Works. Keyframe was the exclusive effects house for the movie that will air on CTV this fall.
After years of trying to get the project off the ground, George Romero has found financing for the fourth installment in this DEAD franchise, which includes NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, DAWN OF THE DAY and DAY OF THE DEAD, reports VARIETY. LAND OF THE DEAD will be co-funded by Atmosphere Ent. and Paris-based Wild Bunch. The film will go before cameras in October in Winnipeg or Pittsburgh. Atmosphere chairman/ceo Mark Canton and president Bernie Goldmann will produce, along with Romero's partner Peter Grunwald of Romero Grunwald Prods. Atmosphere's Steve Barnett is exec producer.
New Line Cinema has obtained the feature film rights for the role-playing game VAMPIRE: THE REQUIEM from White Wolf Publishing, reports VARIETY. Adam Fields is set to produce the film, which the studio hopes will launch a franchise. Luke Ryan and Magnus Kim will shepherd the film for the studio.
The game's world follows the night-to-night life of modern vampires. The game will be published Aug. 30 and is a follow-up to 1991's VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE, which was turned into an Activision videogame and the 1996 FOX TV series KINDRED: THE EMBRACED.
Warner Bros. Pictures is developing a cinematic rendition of the Old English, 8th Century poem, BEOWULF, reports VARIETY. Matthew Sand will write the film, which will be produced by Ed McDonnell's Maple Shade Films. Maple Shade director of development exec Dan Stone brought the script to the company. Lynn Harris and David Ortiz will oversee the film for Warner.
Stone said, "Matthew has a unique take on the source material, incorporating elements of the art and mythology of the time period."
Reese Witherspoon (SWEET HOME ALABAMA) and Kristin Chenoweth (SESAME STREET) are in negotiations to share the title role in Walt Disney Animation's RAPUNZEL UNBRAIDED, reports VARIETY. Witherspoon would provide the speaking voice for the character with Chenoweth handling the singing. The in-development CG project is being directed by Glen Keane and produced by Phil Lofaro. Sarah Parriott and Josie McGibbon wrote the screenplay, which gives a new twist on the classic fairy tale.
Svengali Visual Effects has contributed visual effects to GARDEN STATE, Zach Braffs (NBCs SCRUBS) directorial debut that premiered to critical acclaim at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Scheduled for release on July 30, 2004 by Fox Searchlight, GARDEN STATE is a dark, romantic comedy set in New Jersey.
Sony's SPIDER-MAN 2 spun its way to the top of the box office weekend, ended July 12, 2004, catching another $46M in its web with a cume of $257M. The sequel (with vfx from Sony Pictures Imageworks and Radium Inc.) streaked past the $200M milestone in a record eight days, the $250M mark in a record 12 days and is fast approaching the $300M benchmark.
Fox has signed three of four members of the superhero team that will headline the studio's FANTASTIC FOUR feature, reports VARIETY. Taking the lead of Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic will be Iaon Gruffudd, who played Lancelot in KING ARTHUR. THE SHIELD star Michael Chiklis will play Ben Grimm/the Thing and Chris Evans (NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE) is set to play Johnny Storm/the Human Torch.
Buena Vista Intl. Japan will invest in the CGI feature, BRAVE STORY, produced by Fuji Television and Gonzo Digimation, it was reported by VARIETY and confirmed by the Walt Disney Co. This marks BVIJs first foray into local production and distribution, planning to distribute it locally in summer 2006.
BRAVE STORY, based on the best-selling novel by Miyuki Miyabe, features a 10-year-old who enters a magical world to find a cure for his mother's illness.
To be directed by Koichi Chigira, production will cost an estimated one billion yen ($9 million).
Rushes has recently completed the opening title sequence for Touchstone Pictures' KING ARTHUR (opening July 7). Loosely based on the true story that inspired the legend of King Arthur, the film focuses on the history, politics and warfare at the time of the Roman Empire's collapse in 476 AD. The title sequence sets the background from where the films narrative begins. Rushes composited sequences reflecting the passage of the Roman conquest from Samaria in Palestine, throughout Europe and reaching Britannia.
Sony's SPIDER-MAN 2 web blasted its way to two more records over the Fourth of July weekend ended July 5, 2004: the best Independence holiday grosser yet with $115.8M and the fastest six-day opener in history, with a cume of $180M.
Malaysian animation and post-production company, Side FX Sdn Bhd (Side FX), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Jeddah Saudi Arabia-based animation and production house, Ella Animation (Ella), to produce an animated feature, reports THE UTUSAN EXPRESS. The film is expected to be released in August 2005 in South East Asia and the Middle East. The story will focus on Malaysian history and the influence of Islam during the reigns of the first Moslem ruler of Malacca, Iskandar Shah.
Originally planned to kick off the summer 2005 season, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 will now open in theaters on June 29, 2005. Paramount Pictures' move is likely in response to SPIDER-MAN 2's huge box office receipts leading up to the Independence Day holiday in the States. The Tom Cruise starrer will now go head to head with 20th Century Fox's THE FANTASTIC FOUR, which is set to open July 1. Whether Fox will move F4 is yet to be seen, however Fox will be happy that it will now have May 6 all for itself for its Ridley Scott-directed Crusades epic, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
Impact Pictures has announced that its next videogame-turned-feature will be DRIVER, based on Atari's top franchise, reports VARIETY. Impact co-founders Jeremy Bolt and Paul Anderson will produce the film along with Constantin Film's Bernd Eichinger. The script was written by James DeMonaco, Todd Harthan and James Roday. Constantin's L.A. head of production Robert Kulzer will exec produce.
Impact previously translated the RESIDENT EVIL videogame franchise into a film in 2002 and will be following up with the sequel RESIDENT EVIL APOCALYPSE this September.
Imax Corp. is in discussions with Sony Pictures to remaster SPIDER-MAN 2 for release in its large-format theaters, reports VARIETY. Imax is anxious to fill the empty spot in their lineup now that Warner Bros.' has pulled CATWOMAN from Imax because the visual effects won't be done in time to remaster the film for a day-and-date release July 23, 2004.
Sony's SPIDER-MAN 2 shattered the opening day record yesterday by snaring a stunning $40,442,604M in its web. That's better than SPIDER-MAN's $39.4M debut two years ago, which went on to earn $403.7M as the fifth highest grossing movie of all time. SPIDER-MAN 2 also tagged the best Wednesday opening ever, besting THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING's $34.5M.