Hayao Miyazaki's film PRINCESS MONONOKE was the top grossing film in Japan until TITANIC was released in 1998 and broke box office records, becoming the highest grossing film in that country. This week VARIETY reported that Hayao Miyazaki's latest feature SPIRITED AWAY has set a new audience record in Japan, surpassing the mark held by TITANIC. Since its July 20, 2001 debut, SPIRITED AWAY has been seen by 16.9 million viewers, while TITANIC saw 16.8 million admissions total after its release.
Three new releases helped the weekend box office rebound from the poor performance of the past few weeks. Box office receipts were up 52% this weekend with the three debut films taking the top three spots on the chart. The fashion-world parody ZOOLANDER took second place with $15.7M in its debut weekend. ZOOLANDER is the first film to be released that has digitally removed the World Trade Center from the skyline of downtown New York.
Computercafe has produced more than 30 visual effects shots for the feature film MEGIDDO: OMEGA CODE 2. The visual effects and animation studio provided 3D animation, visual effects production and compositing services, including modeling and animating precise computer graphic models of a variety of modern warplanes and helicopters. The studio created the opening shot of the film's climactic battle sequence, in which a squadron of F-15 fighter jets swoop out of the sky on a bombing run. Many of the shots that Computercafe created involved air combat.
Stanley Kubrick's award-winning classic 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, will be shown in limited exclusive engagements beginning October 5, 2001, and continuing through the end of the year. Audiences will be able to see the acclaimed science fiction epic in a pristine 70mm print, with a digitally restored and fully remastered soundtrack. The new print premieres October 5 at the Cinerama Theater in Seattle. Subsequent engagements will follow at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and The Uptown in Washington, D.C.
With only one new film in wide release, it was another slow weekend at U.S. movie theaters. Box office totals slumped even lower than last week, making this weekend a 52-week low. However, two limited release films made a good showing at the box office this weekend. Anime thriller VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST, debuting in just six theaters, managed to bring in a healthy $4,255 per screen. The Armegeddon-themed MEGIDDO: OMEGA CODE 2, with visual effects by Computercafe and Cinesite, did well in limited release as well, debuting in thirteenth place with $1.6M from 314 theaters.
With only two new films in wide release this weekend and in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, North American box office totals fell to their lowest level this year. Last week's number one film THE MUSKETEER, with primary visual effects by Das Werk, slipped two places to land at number three, adding $5.3M for $17.6M total to date. JEEPERS CREEPERS, with primary visual effects by E=MC2 and Max Ink Cafe LLC, continued its downward slide coming in seventh with $3.9M and $29.7M total.
Manga Entertainment Ltd. will release IG Studios BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE on DVD and VHS on September 17, 2001. The story revolves around Saya, a teenaged assassin sent to vanquish the blood-sucking fiends that have concealed themselves among humans at an air force base in Japan. This highly touted film was the best feature winner at the 2001 World Animation Celebration and is Japans first fully digitally-animated feature. The DVD will feature "The Making of BLOOD" documentary, image gallery, original Japanese theatrical trailers and Web links.
Director James Cameron's production company has signed on to develop a live-action version of Top Cow Prods.' popular comic book FATHOM. Created and illustrated by Michael Turner, FATHOM tells the story of young Aspen Mathews. After being found on an abandoned yacht with no memory of her past, she grows up and becomes an Olympic swimmer and marine biologist. During her research, she discovers a mysterious underwater race and her own aquatic powers. It is unlikely an animated version will ever see light though.
Despite generally poor reviews, the swordplay actioner THE MUSKETEER, with primary visual effects by Das Werk, managed to leap to the front of a rather wan pack during the first weekend of the fall movie season bringing in $10.7M for its debut. JEEPERS CREEPERS, with primary visual effects by E=MC2 and Max Ink Café LLC, fell three spots from last week's number one to come in fourth with a weekend gross of $6.1M, bringing its two week total to $24.3M.
Stockholm-based animation company Filmtecknarna has created four 2-minute long animated treatments of the Venice Biennale logo, projected onstage during the opening and closing events at the 58th International Venice Film Festival, August 29-September 8, 2001. Drawing on such diverse inspiration as the Italian comic La Lineau and shadows cast by people as they walk across the stage, the four spots experiment with organic shapes that shift and change to form the logo.
The new horror film JEEPERS CREEPERS, with primary visual effects by E=MC2 and Max Ink Café LLC, debuted at number one earning $15.8M over the four-day Labor Day weekend. RUSH HOUR 2, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, held the number two spot for the fourth consecutive week with a four-day take of $11.8M bringing its total gross to $198.9M. Holding steady in fifth place is the road comedy RAT RACE, with animated opening titles by Wild Brain, which has grossed $37.8M after 17 days.
Excited about seeing Hayao Miyazaki's new film SPIRITED AWAY? Don't hold your breath. Disney has no plans of releasing the film in the U.S. In an Inside.com article, David Jessen, vice president of acquisitions at Disney's Buena Vista, said he has seen the film and that he likes it, but that other Disney executives have not. Disney currently has no official plans to release any more of Miyazaki's films in America, he said, adding "we are strategizing now worldwide." The reason for the move is the disappointing results of PRINCESS MONONOKE.
With AMERICAN PIE 2 staying a third week in the top spot, RUSH HOUR 2 held tight in second with JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK debuting in third. RUSH HOUR 2, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, took home another US$11.4 million, raising its cume to $183.3 million. JAY & SILENT BOB, with primary visual effects by Digital Research Lab, MetroLight Studios and Tigar Hare Studios, racked in $11.1 million, making it the highest opening for a film from director Kevin Smith.
Believe it or not, but model Fabio has formed an animation company. The yet untitled firm is producing a feature based on the Marvel comic, THOR: GOD OF THUNDER. "To me, the future of TV and movies is going to be 3D animation," said Fabio to PEOPLE magazine. "Sad to say, but I think actors are going to be out of jobs." The 42-year old former romance novel cover model currently works out of his six-room Los Angeles home.
Riding on the success of SHREK, DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg has announced that two CGI films will go into production simultaneously at PDI/DreamWorks. Three films are currently in pre-production, and once solidified, will go into production. The first project is TUSKER, which has been floating round the studio for years. The action-adventure story is set in Southeast Asia and will follow a herd of elephants.
With OSMOSIS JONES slipping out of the top ten, the U.S. box office remained mostly live-action. With AMERICAN PIE 2 claiming the top spot for a second straight week, RUSH HOUR 2 held tight to the #2 slot, grossing US$19.2 million. The kung-fu caper, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, has racked up $164.8 million. RAT RACE, with animated opening titles by Wild Brain, debuted at #3 with a gross of $11.8 million. At #6, CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN, with primary visual effects by Double Negative, sung home $7.1 million in its premiere.
Academy Award-winner Christopher Walken has joined the voice cast of Columbia Pictures' STUART LITTLE 2. He joins a voice cast, which includes Michael J. Fox, Nathan Lane, Steve Zahn and Melanie Griffith. Walken will voice the character of Falcon, a sharp-beaked villain who puts Stuart and a new friend in danger. Scheduled to hit theaters July 19, 2002, the sequel follows the continuing adventures of Stuart (voiced by Fox), the beloved mouse who was adopted by the Littles, a human family. Rob Minkoff will return as the director of the film.
Wild Brain has completed production on the animated opening title sequence for Paramount's upcoming film RAT RACE, directed by Jerry Zucker (AIRPLANE!). Wild Brain director Julia Tortolani provided the title design and animation. The opening title sequence features animated Photo Collage Puppets of the movie's characters. The sequence comes to a climax when four of the characters take the director's credit and run across the desert, through a collaged version of Las Vegas and into the front door of the Venetian Hotel.
TriStar Pictures is set to release METROPOLIS, directed by Rintaro (X) and written by anime legend Katsuhiro Otomo (AKIRA), in the U.S. on November 9. Based on the classic comic by Osamu Tezuka, the film is set in the futuristic city populated by humans and robots. Amidst the chaos created by anti-robot factions, detective Shunsaku Ban and his sidekick Ken-ichi are searching for rebel scientist Dr. Laughton, to arrest him and seize his latest creation, Tima, a beautiful young female android created to succeed the leader of Metropolis. The film is a combination of cel and digital animation.
Los Angeles-based development and production company, Collision Entertainment, has acquired the film and television rights to MAX PAYNE, one of the most highly anticipated video game releases of the last several years, from game producer 3D Realms. Dimension Films will distribute the property in the U.S., with Abandon Entertainment handling international distribution. Max Payne is a DEA operative deep undercover, torn between avenging the mafia murders of his wife and child and being framed for the murder of a fellow agent.
With strictly live-action fare taking the top four spots, PLANET OF THE APES plummeted to fifth with a gross of US$13.32 million. The sixth in the APES series, with primary visual effects by ILM, has drummed up $148.73 million to date. Falling from fourth to finish sixth, JURASSIC PARK III stomped home with another $7.30 million. The living fossil franchise, with primary visual effects by ILM, has gobbled up $160.20 million so far. Debuting in seventh place, Warner Bros. OSMOSIS JONES took in a meager $5.75 during its first weekend in release.
Universal has green-lit an animated version of Maurice Sendak's classic children's book WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. Adding more intrigue to the project, Disney veterans Eric Golderg and David Reynolds (THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE) have been signed to direct and write the film respectively. Goldberg co-directed POCAHONTAS and was a key animator on such films as ALADDIN, HERCULES and FANTASIA 2000. Due to the fact that Tom Hanks' Playtone Prods. is producing the film, the TOY STORY star will most likely be a member of the voice cast.
With the debut of live-action comedy RUSH HOUR 2, PLANET OF THE APES slipped to second place with a gross of US$27.54 million. The Tim Burton epic, with primary visual effects by ILM, has peeled off $123.7 million thus far. Dropping a spot to finish in fourth, JURASSIC PARK III roared in another $12.27 million. The dinosaur sensation, with primary visual effects by ILM, has gobbled up $147 million to date. In ninth, DR. DOLITTLE drummed up an additional $2.27 million. The animal antics, with primary visual effects by Rhythm & Hues, have grabbed $106.2 million so far.
Those damn bloody apes of PLANET OF THE APES ruled the U.S. box office in their debut weekend. The re-envisioned PLANET, with primary visual effects by ILM, lassoed US$69.55 million. Dropping to second, JURASSIC PARK III racked in another $22.5 million. The dino disaster, with primary visual effects by ILM, has feasted on $124.8 million in only two weeks in U.S. theaters. Also dropping a spot to land in sixth, CATS & DOGS brought home an additional $4.52 million. The pet warfare flick, with primary visual effects by Tippett Studios and Rhythm & Hues, has drummed up $81.52 million to date. DR.
People still like dinosaurs. JURASSIC PARK III roared into first place at the weekend box office with an astounding US$50.3 million. The pterodactyl tirade, with primary visual effects by ILM, has rounded up $80.9 million since its Wednesday debut. Family fave CATS & DOGS fell from third to land on its paws in fifth, grossing another $6.77 million. The canine comedy, with primary visual effects by Tippett Studios and Rhythm & Hues, has caterwauled in $72.38 million to date. SCARY MOVIE 2 placed in seventh, grossing out audiences to the tune of $4.4 million.