LAIKA Ent. (recently doing business as Vinton Studios) has greenlit a second feature film project in less than a week. JACK & BENS ANIMATED ADVENTURE is an original idea from LAIKA Ent.s director of story Jorgen Klubien, a veteran writer, director, storyboard artist, and designer, who joined the company earlier this year.
Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures jointly announced that the upcoming film being directed by three-time Academy Award-winning director-producer Steven Spielberg will be titled MUNICH.
Animation company Out of Our Minds Animation Studios has landed nearly $2 million in funding from private investors for production of its first feature-length animated film, reports THE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The funding, which represents nearly all the total project budget of $3.5 million, allowed the Winston-Salem, North Carolina studio to begin production in March. The company also is expanding from 10 employees to 16 employees by next month, with several more to be added during the next two years.
THQ Inc. announced that it has engaged United Talent Agency (UTA), a leading Hollywood talent and literary agency, to expand the brand of THQ's recently-released, top-selling DESTROY ALL HUMANS! videogame title. UTA aims to guide the property through its development into major motion picture and television projects, overseeing activities related to development, financing, production and distribution. This is the first time THQ has secured agency representation for one of its own original properties.
Disney has won a bidding war for the domestic distribution rights to Mel Gibsons next directorial effort, APOCALYPTO, reports VARIETY. Gibsons Icon will handle international distribution. THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST director also wrote the script for the film, which will start production in Mexico in October for a summer 2006 release. Icon partner Bruce Davey will produce alongside Gibson.
Renny Harlin is set to helm an adaptation of the graphic novel THE COVENANT, by CROSSING JORDAN writer Aron Coleite and artist Tone Rodriguez, reports PRODUCTION WEEKLY.
Adapted by J.S. Cardone, the story follows a group of four families whose patriarchs have great powers that have been passed down from father to son for generations. During that summer of fun and experimentation, the four boys next in line unknowingly release an evil into the world, which the Covenant must stop.
Shane Acker has landed an animation student's dream. Focus Features has agreed to turn his student short 9 into an animated feature with Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov (Russian director of NIGHT WATCH) and Jim Lemley (exec producer of RED EYE) producing, reports the trades. Acker will even get to direct. Focus president of production John Lyons will shepherd the film.
Sprite Animation Studios will premiere the original CG-animated short film, JOURNEY TO THE WEST, at the 2005 SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festivals Animation Theater. JOURNEY TO THE WEST is directed by Moto Sakakibara and produced by Junichi Yanagihara and Kyoko Aihara. With its beautiful use of color and funky pop images, JOURNEY TO THE WEST is a vivid demonstration of Sprite Animation Studios imaginative creative abilities.
IMAX Corp., in association with Warner Bros. Pictures, Playtone Prods., its principals Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman and John A. Davis of DNA Prods., announced that THE ANT BULLY will be released simultaneously in IMAX 3D and conventional 2D format on Aug. 4, 2006. The film will be digitally converted into IMAX 3D and feature proprietary IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The picture marks Playtone's third IMAX film project and Warner Bros. Pictures 10th film commitment to IMAX. Warner Bros. Pictures will be the exclusive distributor of THE ANT BULLY to IMAX theaters worldwide.
Bill Plympton 's new short film, THE FAN AND THE FLOWER, is now appearing in film festivals around the world. The film is about an ill-fated and unconsummated romance between an electric ceiling fan and a flower, with a magical fairytale ending, by the prize-winning indie auteur, Plympton. Based on a story by Dan O'Shannon, THE FAN AND THE FLOWER is the narrated by Paul Giamatti (SIDEWAYS, AMERICAN SPLENDOR).
Now showing at Anima Mundi in Brazil, the film was recently showcased at the Comic-Con International Film Festival in San Diego.
Realscan 3D, the next generation in mobile, high resolution, high color, structured light 3D scanning, announced the delivery of eleven scanned animation-ready models for the Disney feature SKY HIGH (opening July 29), which include models for Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston.
"Our digital doubles don't lurk in the shadows like doubles seen in other films," said Frank De Marco, president of Realscan 3D. "Our models are ready for any shot ranging from close-up to long-shot. With Realscan 3D models, directors don't have to compromise..."
John Moore (BEHIND ENEMY LINES, FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX remake) has been fired by 20th Century Fox to direct a remake of the 1976 horror classic THE OMEN titled, THE OMEN 666, reports VARIETY. Writer Dan McDermott is contemporizing the tale of the birth of the Antichrist to an unsuspecting family. Fox president Hutch Parker and Peter Kang will shepherd the project, which is set to start filming in October.
The Weinstein Co. and Warner Bros. Pictures will join forces to distribute the first all-CG-animated movie of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. The as-yet-untitled picture will be released early in 2007.
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE opened to record business this past weekend, reports IMAX Corp. and Warner Bros. Pictures. The film debuted in a record 65 North American IMAX theaters the widest domestic IMAX opening to date grossing an estimated record of $2.21M over the three-day period ended July 17, for a per screen average of more than $34,000. In addition, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE also set single day box office records with the biggest opening day, Saturday and Sunday for an IMAX digitally re-mastered release.
Moto Sakakibara, co-director of FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN, will direct Sprite Animations Studios first CG-animated feature film, GON. The film, slated for a 2007 release, will be based on Masashi Tanakas widely popular manga series. GON is a comical adventure about a foot-tall dinosaur living in a modern-day savanna. He shares his wit and humor in a subtle but sometimes outrageous way as he takes on beasts 10 times his size, revealing a sense of justice never before seen in the wild.
Daniel Jeannette has been hired by Animal Logic as the animation director on George Millers 3D-animated feature, HAPPY FEET, a musical comedy/adventure about a tap dancing penguin that cant sing.
For HAPPY FEET, Jeannette will be ensuring that the performance arc of the characters from motion capture and animation through to their on-screen presence fulfills Millers creative vision.
Steve Buscemi, John Cleese and Jay Leno have joined the cast of Exodus Film Groups CG-animated short film IGOR: UNHOLY FRIJOLES. Buscemi will voice the part of "Scamper," a super intelligent, yet sarcastic lab rabbit, while Cleese will lend his voice to the character of "Dr. Glickenstein," Igors evil master. Buscemi and Cleese join Christian Slater, who stars in the title role of "Igor" as well as Jay Leno. The film, which is in production, precedes the feature-length theatrical version IGOR, due out in 2007.
Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures have confirmed that they will be developing a 3D CGI feature version of THE SMURFS. Jordan Kerner will produce. The project is envisioned as a trilogy with the first film hopefully coinciding with the 50th anniversary of THE SMURFS in 2008. The unwraps story will be written by Herb Ratner.
Kerner Ent. production head Paul Neesan, who helped acquire the rights, will exec produce along with Nick svp Julia Pistor. Paramount vp Matt Jackson will shepherd the project.
Walt Disney Pictures confirmed at San Diegos Comic-Con on Sunday that Liam Neeson will be voicing Aslan the Lion in THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, opening Dec. 9. Aslan, the noble ruler of the magical world of Narnia, is mostly a CG character, except for a crucial scene involving animatronics from K.N.B. EFX under the supervision of Howard Berger.
Director Darren Aronofsky (PI, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM), Regency Enterprises and Warner Bros. Pictures have invited 15 artists, including top graphic artists from the comic book world, to create original works of art interpreting Aronofskys forthcoming sci-fi fantasy film, THE FOUNTAIN, which will be released this fall (tentatively in December).
Beginning in mid-August, these images will be released on the films official website at www.thefountainmovie.com. A new interpretation will appear approximately once per week leading up to the films release.
Columbia Pictures' all-CG feature, MONSTER HOUSE, the second production to utilize the new performance capture technique developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks, will be released in more than 100 theaters in REAL D's digital 3D format day-and-date with its regular national release on July 21, 2006.
The imagery for the ImageMovers/Amblin production of MONSTER HOUSE is being overseen by Imageworks, which also oversaw the first performance capture feature, THE POLAR EXPRESS, which was a phenomenal success in IMAX 3D with the help of Imageworks.
Tim Burtons CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (with delightful vfx from MPC, Framestore CFC, Cinesite and Digital Domain), which opened with a very sweet $56.1M for the weekend ended July 17, 2005, proved to be the best July opening ever for Warner Bros. It was also the best opening ever for a PG-rated movie in July as well as Johnny Depps best bow.
Softimage Co. announced that leading visual effects studios Giant Killer Robots (GKR) and Stan Winston Digital used SOFTIMAGE|XSI software to create several key visual effects and environments for Foxs FANTASTIC FOUR.
The TRANSFORMERS live-action feature, based on the globally popular franchise will open July 4, 2004, announced DreamWorks, Hasbro Inc. and Paramount Pictures.
The movie will be directed by Michael Bay (THE ISLAND and ARMAGEDDON) from a screenplay being written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (THE ISLAND). Steven Spielberg is exec producing with Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Tom DeSanto (the first two X-MEN) and Don Murphy (THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN) serving as co-exec producers.