A re-mastered version of the anime classic AKIRA is coming to theaters in the U.S. Long Beach, California-based Pioneer Entertainment, a top U.S. anime licensing company, is putting US$1 million into restoring the 1988 sci-fi epic. International Video Conversations is re-mastering and re-mixing the audio in Dolby Digital AC3 Surround Sound. In addition, the film will contain a new English dub created from a fresh translation of the Japanese script. Pioneer will release this restored version on DVD and VHS in the fourth quarter.
With high-grossing nods around the globe, Tom Hanks' CAST AWAY easily floated to the top of the international box office. In Germany, CAST AWAY unseated UNBREAKABLE with an amazing ticket take of US$7.01 million. UNBREAKABLE crashed to second with a gross of $1.84 million, lifting its German cume to $11 million. In fourth, URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT slashed in another $837,915, raising its German cume to $2.6 million. At #6, POKEMON 2000 collected $700,338, growing its German cume to $6.23 million.
Comedian Adam Sandler's Meatball Animation is set to produce a feature, animated film entitled WHITEY & DAVEY. Described as a "Hanukkah musical," the story centers on Davey, a pro basketball executive, who befriends an old-fashioned coach named Whitey. Sandler will travel to the Toronto-based studio in mid-February to begin voice work for the Davey role. Traditionally animated, the feature will contain a bevy of pop tunes. The film should be finished for a Christmas 2001 release upon securing distribution.
This past weekend at the U.S. box office the top three remained the same; SAVE THE LAST DANCE remained champ with CAST AWAY taking the second spot with a gross of US$11.15 million. The Tom Hanks-starrer, with primary visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks, has sailed in with $182 million to date. Repeating its turn in third, TRAFFIC raced in another $8.51 million. The drug war saga, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, has garnered $46.69 million thus far. In its U.S. wide release, Guy Ritchie's SNATCH scored a fourth place finish.
Columbia Pictures has snatched up the feature film rights to the comic book SPAWN. Recently, New Line Cinema, who produced the original live-action feature, let their claim on the rights expire, thus reverting them back to creator Todd McFarlane. Columbia was quick to pounce on the film rights to the popular Imagine comic book series. Already, Don Murphy has signed on to produce the next feature through Sony-based AngryFilms. Currently, McFarlane and screenwriter Steve Niles are working on the first draft of the SPAWN sequel.
Touchstone's UNBREAKABLE is truly becoming an international box office hero with top place finishes all over the globe. In France, UNBREAKABLE held on tight to the top spot, with a gross of US$4.68 million, elevating its cume to $11.74 million. At #3, CHICKEN RUN escaped with a gross of $2.64 million, flying its French cume to $11.48 million. DINOSAUR roared in at #4, grossing $2.22 million, thereby growing its French cume to $25.14 million. In sixth, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS slew $1.16 million, increasing its French cume to $2.83 million.
Sinking behind the debut of the new teen drama, SAVE THE LAST DANCE, CAST AWAY drifted into second place at the U.S. box office with a gross of US$17.15 million. The desert island drama, with primary visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks, has accumulated an impressive $165.1 million to date. Holding onto third, TRAFFIC drove in with another $11.17 million. The drug ring rage, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, has grabbed $33.08 million so far. In fifth, after its first week in wide release, THIRTEEN DAYS thrilled audiences to the tune of $10.23 million.
Ang Lee, the director of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, is in talks to direct the feature version of Marvel Comics' THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Universal Pictures is producing the film and is scheduling it to unveil in theaters in the summer of 2003. Gale Anne Hurd is producing the flick with Marvel Studios' president Avi Arad. Lee's production partner James Schamus is also joining the producing team. Sources say that X-MEN scribe David Hayter's draft of the HULK was what lured Lee into the director's seat.
Disney's initiative to release their new animated feature THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE in Spanish to theaters in Los Angeles has failed. Disney decided to place a Spanish dubbed GROOVE in theaters in 16 Latino communities alongside the English version [AWN 01/02/01]. This effort was the first time that Disney released a film in English and Spanish in the States at the same time. For years Disney has released Spanish dubbed or subtitled prints of their films to theaters that have requested them.
UNBREAKABLE was simply unstoppable at the international box office this past week. In France, the UNBREAKABLE premiere grossed an amazing US$7.06 million. Five-week champ, DINOSAUR, slipped to second with a gross of $3.87 million, escalating its French cume to $22.92 million. In third, CHICKEN RUN cooped up another $3.58 million, flying its French cume to $8.84 million. At #6, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS drummed up only $1.67 million in its French debut. In its second week in France, POKEMON 2 collected $1.31 million, pushing its cume to $2.3 million.
With little new flavor in the U.S. box office this past weekend, CAST AWAY remained on top for a third straight week, with a gross of US$22.22 million. The volleyball friendly film, with primary visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks, has collected $141.7 million thus far. Slipping only a slot, THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE palled around in sixth, grossing $7.46 million. The llama loving buddy flick has drummed up $62.4 million to date. Keeping its grip on seventh place, VERTICAL LIMIT landed another $5.01 million.
Continuing its lucrative path through the international box office, DINOSAUR is still roaring with POKEMON 2000 making strong debuts, including a first place finish in Germany. In Japan, DINOSAUR took the top spot with a gross of US$1.15 million, increasing its cume to $3.62 million. In third, VERTICAL LIMIT collected another $980,996 to raise it Japanese cume to $3.05 million. THE 6TH DAY claimed the fifth slot with a gross of $870,359, advancing its Japanese cume to $1.54 million. In sixth, WHAT LIES BENEATH floated $665,857 more, pushing its Japanese cume to $1.97 million.
Walt Disney has decided to release their new animated feature THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE in 16 Los Angeles theaters dubbed in Spanish. The experiment is part of Disney's plan to attract Latino buying power, which is estimated to reach US$452 billion nationwide next year. For years Disney has released Spanish dubbed or subtitled prints of their films to theaters that have requested them. However, most of those films were on their third run after they had been released in Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries.
After claiming the U.S. box office crown over the Christmas weekend, CAST AWAY reclaimed the titled as BO champ for the New Year's weekend with a gross of US$31.2 million. The desert island adventure, with primary visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks, has floated $111.2 million in just 10-days of release. In fifth, Disney's THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE danced in with another $11.8 million. The new animated comedy has collected $47.9 million to date. Falling from fourth to sixth, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS grabbed an additional $7.8 million.
The U.S. Library of Congress has added two more animated films to The National Film Registry Bob Clampett's PORKY IN WACKYLAND and the 1957 theatrical trailer, LET'S ALL GO TO THE LOBBY from Filmack Studios. As part of the Library of Congress, the Registry was established in 1989 to preserve American film heritage. The list is formed by input from the National Film Preservation Board and the public. The Library adds 25 films per year that are deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant.
Screenwriters John Requa and Glenn Ficarra have signed a three-picture deal with Warner Bros. that will have the CATS & DOGS writing duo penning the new Looney Tunes feature. Produced by Quincy Jones Media Group and Gerber Pictures, the film will be a live-action/animated feature sending the Looney Tunes crew on a wild road trip. Originally Ken Kaufman, co-writer of Warners SPACE COWBOYS, had been tapped to write the script [AWN 8/23/00]. The new team will be paid a high-six figure amount up front, reaching seven figures after the film is produced.
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS and DINOSAUR picked up steam at the international box office as former champ CHARLIE'S ANGELS faded a bit. In Mexico, THE GRINCH made its debut in first with a gross of US$2.29 million. BEDAZZLED fell to second with a ticket take of $1.51 million, raising its Mexican cume to $3.51 million. In fourth, CHARLIE'S ANGELS flew in another $645,425, elevating its Mexican cume to $3.91 million. Rounding out the Mexican top ten, THE CELL captured $48,406 to push its cume to $2.36 million.
Falling behind the debuts of the live-action comedies, WHAT WOMEN WANT and DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR?, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS surrendered its U.S. box office crown, falling to third. The Who-ville fable, with primary visual effects by Digital Domain, grabbed $13.81 million, elevating its cume to an astounding $213.6 million. Disney's new animated feature THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE made a lackluster debut in fourth grossing $9.81 million. The screwball buddy film could see increased dollars over the upcoming holiday vacation, helped by good reviews across the board.
Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures have tapped top Hollywood actors to voice characters in their upcoming 3D animated feature, JIMMY, NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS. Patrick Stewart (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION) and Martin Short (INNER SPACE) have signed on to voice characters for the film. The film will chronicle Jimmy's journey into space as he attempts to rescue all the parents from his town who have been kidnapped by the alien Yokians. The feature will start production under the direction of John Davis in January. The scheduled release date is holidays 2001.
Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have secured a star and director for the UNDERCOVER BROTHER feature. Based off the UrbanEntertainment.com cartoon series, the live-action film will star Eddie Griffin (MOD SQUAD) and Malcolm Lee (BEST MEN) will direct. The UNDERCOVER BROTHER Webseries was one of the first Webtoons to make the jump to film. John Ridley (THREE KINGS) signed a US$2 million deal to pen and executive produce the feature adaptation.
Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies have announced that the third installment of the RUGRATS movie franchise will team the precocious tykes with the characters from Nick's THE WILD THORNBERRYS. Los Angeles animation house Klasky Csupo, who produces the TV versions of THE RUGRATS and THE WILD THORNBERRYS, will produce the feature film with Paramount distributing it. No release date has been set of yet. The second edition of the theatrical franchise, RUGRATS IN PARIS, now in theaters, has grossed US$60.5 million to date and reportedly cost only $30 million to make.
CHARLIE'S ANGELS is still kicking at the international box office, but HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS and DINOSAUR are knocking on the door. The premiere of ANGELS in Germany knocked THE GRINCH out of the top spot with a gross of $4.1 million. THE GRINCH fell to second with a ticket take of $1.98 million, elevating its German cume to $4.58 million. In its third week in Germany, DINOSAUR slipped to third with gross of $1.7 million, advancing its cume to $9.52 million. In fourth, THE CELL captured another $1.58 million, pushing its German cume to $4.52 million.
Disney's DINOSAUR was released without any restriction in Italy and is gaining quite a bit of heat over the violent content. The film was released on December 1 with a suitable-for-all-ages rating, spurring complaints from parental associations like Italy's Parents Movement, child psychologists and government agencies like the Special Senate Commission for Infants. Currently, Italy has three rating levels: suitable-for-all-ages; under 14 not admitted; and under 18 not admitted.
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS snowballed all the newcomers in its fourth weekend at the U.S. box office. The Who-ville hijinks, with primary visual effects by Digital Domain, shoveled in another US$18.65 million, piling its green up to the tune of $195.6 million. Therefore, the debut of VERTICAL LIMIT landed in second. The K2 rescue flick, with primary visual effects by Centropolis Effects, dug up $15.51 million. PROOF OF LIFE's premiere had to settle for a lackluster third place finish. The kidnapping love triangle, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, garnered $10.21 million.
Around the world, moviegoers are being swept up in the sexy, high-kicking, MATRIX-like action of CHARLIE'S ANGELS. The television redux made its nod in the U.K. with an outstanding gross of US$6.74 million. In its sixth week in Britain, WHAT LIES BENEATH sunk to second, grossing $1.12 million, thus escalating its cume to $17.41 million. In fourth, BEDAZZLED possessed another $680,873, lifting its U.K. cume to $4.21 million. PITCH BLACK turned up in fifth, grossing $572,299, thereby pushing its U.K. cume to $3.64 million.