Animation master Hayao Miyazaki' continues his box office success in his home country of Japan with the record breaking debut of his new feature, HOWLS MOVING CASTLE, reports VARIETY. The film made $14.3 million on 448 screens last weekend, accounting for 72% of the territory's entire box office. It is expected that a third of Japans population will see the film. The film had the third highest debut, behind the first two HARRY POTTER films.
Director James Cameron (TITANIC and TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY) confirmed on NPR (National Public Radio) that his next directing gig will be on the live-action adaptation of Yukito Kishiro's BATTLE ANGEL ALITA.
"We're in pre-production right now on a project called BATTLE ANGEL, which is something I've been working on for several years and we're just, we're finishing up the shooting draft right now. We've been designing, it's a big science fiction film and a couple things that will be interesting about this project," he says in the interview.
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has announced a raft of animation projects, including a short about a cannibal, a French co-production and program to expose Inuit artists to animation.
Despite its failure to catch on at the dominant box office, THE POLAR EXPRESS has clearly been a boon for IMAX, as the large-format companys maiden 3D feature grossed approximately $2,050,000 over the weekend, following last weekends record $2.1M gross. Playing on 60 screens in North America, the movie registered a noteworthy estimated per screen average of $34,000 for the period ended Nov. 21, 2004, and has now grossed a total of almost $6 million in only 11 days in IMAX theaters.
Two newcomers bested THE INCREDIBLES for the weekend ended Nov. 21, 2004: Buena Vistas Jerry Bruckheimer actioner, NATIONAL TREASURE, which tallied $35.1M and Paramount/Nickelodeons THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE, which soaked up a terrific $32M. So much for the demise of 2D animation.
Meanwhile, Disney/Pixars THE INCREDIBLES brought in another $26.5M for a third-place finish and a hefty $177.5M in three weeks.
British director David Yates has been hired by Warner Bros. to helm HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, reports VARIETY. Yates only has one big screen film under his belt in 1998s THE TICHBORNE CLAIMANT. He is best known for his TV work, which includes THE WAY WE LIVE NOW and miniseries STATE OF PLAY. The fifth film is the mega-franchise is set to start filming in late 2005/early 2006 and arrive in theaters summer 2007.
Writers Ed Decter and John Strauss (THE LIZZIE MAGUIRE MOVIE) have been hired by DreamWorks to pen an animated feature spin-off for the Puss in Boots character from SHREK 2, reports VARIETY. Voiced by Antonio Banderas, the character stole most of its scenes in the uber-hit sequel. DreamWorks has not made a decision whether the film will be a theatrical or direct-to-video release.
With Darren Aronofsky having left the film to work on his pet sci-fi project THE FOUNTAIN, Revolution Studios has hired THE BOURNE SUPREMACY director Paul Greengrass to helm the adaptation of the classic graphic novel, THE WATCHMEN, reports AINT IT COOL NEWS. Lloyd Levin and Larry Gordon are producing the film, which is scheduled to hit theaters summer 2006.
Director Sam Raimi and original producing partners Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell have announced that they will produce a remake of the cult hit THE EVIL DEAD, reports VARIETY. Raimis Ghost House Pictures, the joint venture of Raimi, Tapert and Senator Intl., will produce the film. Senator Intl. will finance the film and retain the worldwide rights. Evp of motion pictures Nathan Kahane will oversee the project. Ghost House is looking for a director to reinvent the series before a new screenplay is written.
Fox 2000 Pictures has hired SHREK writer Joe Stillman to adapt Rick Riordans childrens book, PERCY JACKSON AND THE LIGHTNING THIEF, reports VARIETY. Maverick Films' Guy Oseary is producing the film.
The story chronicles the 12-year-old demigod son of Poseidon, who ventures out into present-day America to rescue his mother, return Zeus' stolen lightning bolt and prevent a civil war among the gods.
MATRIX creators Andy and Larry Wachowski and Joel Silver will produce a film adaptation of Alan Moore's futuristic graphic novel V FOR VENDETTA, reports VARIETY. MATRIX first assistant director James McTeigue is in negotiations with Warner Bros. to make his directing debut on the film.
Taking place in an alternate future, in which Germany wins World War II and Great Britain becomes a fascist state, a terrorist freedom fighter named V begins a violent guerilla war to destroy totalitarianism. A young woman he rescues from the secret police joins his cause.
DreamVision Motion Pictures and Television has announced the production of the 3D animated musical ANNA, which will premiere the "DreamVision Animation" label.
Based upon the highly anticipated forthcoming book UNSHAKABLE, written by Paula Felps, the film chronicles the true events that began on December 23, 2002, and now affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of children on the other side of the world.
Nick Films will team with Kerner Ent. as a producer on Paramount's live-action/CG version of E.B. White's CHARLOTTE'S WEB, reports VARIETY. Paramount is also in talks with NARNIA-producer Walden Media to join as a co-financer and producer. Gary Winick will direct the film, which is set to start filming in January. ERIN BROCKOVICH scribe Susannah Grant wrote the initial script followed by Karey Kirkpatrick (CHICKEN RUN) doing revisions.
With the scribe of the first four HARRY POTTER films leaving to direct his own project, Warner Bros. has hired Michael Goldenberg (PETER PAN) to adapt the fifth installment of the series, HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The film is slated to begin filming in late 2005 or early 2006 and is set for a summer 2007 release. Goldenberg most recently adapted WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, which Spike Jonze will direct. He also wrote CONTACT and wrote/directed BED OF ROSES.
THE POLAR EXPRESS has set an opening weekend record for a Hollywood film released in Imax Corp.'s giant-screen format, reports REUTERS. Co-ceo Brad Wechsler said the film grossed $2.1 million over the weekend in 59 North American Imax theaters with a total gross of $3 million since its Wednesday debut.
Walt Disney Studios is moving full steam ahead on a second sequel to TOY STORY, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Disney is setting up a digital studio in Glendale, California, to produce the film without the participation of original producer Pixar. David Stainton, president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, is heading up the project along with Andrew Millstein, who headed the company's defunct Orlando animation facility. The Mouse House is courting 3D animation and visual effects wizards from other studios to come and work on the film.
With only a 28% dropoff in its second weekend, Disney/Pixars THE INCREDIBLES continued its box office assault for the period ended Nov. 14, 2004. The 3D-animated superhero homage tallied $50.2M on its way to $143.2M, which sent Pixar stock soaring to a record $90 a share on Monday.
London-based vfx house, Double Negative, developed a series of CG shots for BRIDGET JONES: THE END OF REASON, opening Nov. 12, 2004, including one of the films pivotal sequences: The Lonely People. Alex Hope, co-founder, Double Negative, said: For both of these shots, the brief was to very subtly push the limits of realism to create an effect that bordered upon fantasy.
Revolution Studios has announced that Nicolas Cage will star and Lee Tamahori will direct the action thriller NEXT, based on sci-fi author Philip K. Dicks THE GOLDEN MAN, reports VARIETY. TOTAL RECALL scribe Gary Goldman optioned the story and wrote the screenplay on spec, taking the finished tome to Saturn. The film should start filming next summer.
Cage and Saturn Films partner Norm Golightly will produce. Goldman will exec produce, along with Jason Koornick, who owns the rights to Dick's short story. Derek Dauchy will head up the project for the studio.
GOLDENEYE-director Martin Campbell is in talks to helm the 21st installment in the Bond series, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Like Campbell did with Pierce Brosnan, the helmer will introduce a new actor to the iconic role. Though every British (British Kingdom included) actor with a pulse has been rumored to be taking over the role, producers MGM and Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson have not made any casting calls. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who wrote DIE ANOTHER DAY and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, have penned the new script and the film is scheduled to hit theaters in 2006.
QUEST FOR CAMELOT scribe William Schifrin has been hired to write the CG animated feature, NOAH'S ARK. NARNIA-producers Walden Media and Creative Battery are producing. The film will tell the Biblical tale from the point of view of an unlucky camel, who must help save the animals aboard the ark.
Walden Media is committed to producing entertainment that makes a real impact on young audiences, inspiring them to explore the world around them. For more information, visit www.walden.com.
With a domestic gross of $75 million in two weeks, it was pretty inevitable that THE GRUDGE would get a sequel. HOLLYWOOD REPORTER reports that Senator International and Ghost House Pictures have hired scribe Stephen Susco to return the cursed-themed film and write a part two. Ghost House Pictures' Sam Raimi and Rob Tappert, Roy Lee and Doug Davidson will return as producers. Star Sarah Michelle Gellar nor director Takashi Shimizu have signed on for THE GRUDGE 2.
IDT Entertainments New Arc Films and POW! Ent. have signed acclaimed comic book, film and television writer-creators Marv Wolfman and Scott Lobdell to write the screenplays for two animated features under the six-project New Arc-Pow! Deal. The films will be produced by DPS Film Roman.
While it is no surprise that Disney/Pixars THE INCREDIBLES led the box office for the weekend ended Nov. 7, 2004, the fact that Brad Birds first 3D-animated feature captured as much as $70.4M in its opening weekend raised a few eyebrows. Indeed, THE INCREDIBLES marks the biggest opening in Disney and Pixar history, edging out last years FINDING NEMO by $100,000.