Warner Bros. has announced that HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE will be released in theaters Nov. 18, 2005, reported Zap2It.com. However, VFXWorld has learn from WB that the production team was not set a firm date for the film's release. Directed by Mike Newell (FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL), the fourth film in the popular series will go into production later this year. Unlike the other POTTER films that begin with Harry at his aunt and uncle Dursley's house, this film will kick off with Harry and friends attending the International Quidditch Cup.
In its seventh week in release, Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST jumped back to number one with $15.2M, thanks to the Easter holiday weekend ended April 11, 2004. So far, the biblical epic (with vfx by Keith Vanderlaan's Captive Audience) has racked up a phenomenal $353M to place eighth on the all-time list.
Sir Paul McCartney would someday like to make a traditional Disney-like animated feature and is currently developing a story that he first wants to publish as a children's book. In fact, he told journalists, including REUTERS, that it's been his ambition since he was a Beatle back in the '60s. As part of a baby step toward achieving that goal, McCartney has produced PAUL MCCARTNEY: THE MUSIC AND ANIMATION COLLECTION, a DVD to be released through Miramax Home Ent. on April 13. The DVD contains three animated musical shorts made in collaboration with director Geoff Dunbar.
Robert Rodriguez's recently resignation from the DGA has thrown a wrench into Paramount's development of sci-fi epic, A PRINCESS OF MARS, which was to be Rodriguez follow-up to his current project SIN CITY, reports VARIETY. Because Paramount is a DGA signatory thus required to employ only guild directors. Rodriguez resigned from the guild so he could sidestep co-directing rules on SIN CITY, which will be co-directed by the graphic novel's creator Frank Miller and guest directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Lucasfilm has announced that STAR WARS: EPISODE III will be released to theaters in the U.S. and Canada on Thursday, May 19, 2005. The release will be nearly simultaneous around the globe. In Japan, the film will be released in July, the month in which all previous STAR WARS premiered.
BARBERSHOP director Tim Story has signed on to direct 20th Century Fox and Marvel's FANTASTIC FOUR, reports LATINO REVIEW. It has been rumored that THE SHIELD star Michael Chiklis is being eye for the Benjamin Grimm/The Thing role and Tim Robbins may play Dr. Doom. George Clooney has long been rumored to be the top choice to play Four leader Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic.
Disneys western-themed HOME ON THE RANGE, which opens April 2, signals the last of the studios 2D animated theatrical features, according to studio chief Dick Cook. He told REUTERS that there are currently no more hand-drawn projects on the film slate. It is where things are going, Cook said about 3D animation. "I don't think it is the end of an era. I think hand-drawn animation will continue in one form or another," he added. Yet Cook defended RANGE, calling the comedy a kick.
Richard Linklater has announced that his film adaptation of Philip K. Dick's A SCANNER DARKLY will be treated with the same digital rotoscoping technology used on his film WAKING LIFE. VARIETY also reports that Keanu Reeves has signed to star in the Warner Independent Pictures and Thousand Words production.
Set in the future, the story follows an undercover agent who becomes addicted to the face-changing drug Substance D that splits his personality.
Hatchling Studios is currently in pre-production on its first foray into filmmaking, FLARE, an animated family feature about an abandoned baby dragon discovered in a suburban home by a young girl. A 60-second promo will be shown for the first time at the "e-Brew" high-tech networking event, upstairs at The Press Room in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on April 1, at 7:00 pm.
Coming in from Wizard World's Los Angeles convention, producer Tom DeSanto revealed to Inland Empire Strikes Back (www.iesb.net) that Oscar-winning FOREST GUMP director Robert Zemeckis will helm THE TRANSFORMERS feature. In addition, the site claims that New Line Cinema will distribute the film and TV series' voice actors Frank Welker and Peter Cullen will reprise their roles. The tentative date for the film's release is Dec. 2006. Until further confirmation can be made this is just hearsay, but both Zemeckis and New Line have been attached to possible participators in the past.
Walt Disney Co. studio chief Dick Cook said on Friday that he sees TOY STORY 3 as a feature rather than a DVD-premiere project such as LION KING 1 1/2. Cook was in San Antonio, Texas, to promote THE ALAMO, which debuts April 9. He also said in an interview with REUTERS that he doesnt anticipate Pixars participation in the sequel.
VFXWorld has learned that Walden Media has selected Rhythm & Hues to recreate the beloved characters for the upcoming movie based on C.S. Lewis classic childrens tale, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, a co-production with Walt Disney Pictures. According to Richard Hollander, president of R & H's film division, the studio is in the process of building its team from within R & H.
HimAnI Prods. has completed work on SCOOBY-DOO 2, HELLBOY and TREMORS 4 and continues contributing effects shots to the hit ABC TV series ALIAS.
For Warner Bros.' SCOOBY DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED (opening March 26), HimAnI designed, created and produced more than 30 vfx shots. These range from matte paintings and set extensions to the creation of "ghost ships" and an animated "ghost sword." HimAnI worked directly with visual effects supervisor Peter Crosman.
Nickelodeon Movies has announced a stellar CG and live-action production slate, featuring Hollywood heavyweights like Will Smith, Jim Carrey, Jude Law, Meryl Streep, Scarlett Johansson, Alec Baldwin; directors John Woo (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2) and John Schultz (LIKE MIKE); along with writers Steve Oedekerk (BRUCE ALMIGHTY) and David Berenbaum (ELF).
The Orphanage has announced that it will produce a film adaptation of Bill Sienkiewicz's graphic novel, STRAY TOASTERS, reported VARIETY. The pic will be directed by Jeff Renfroe and Marteinn Thorsson, whose ONE POINT O feature competed at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Sienkiewicz, Renfroe and Thorsson have all contributed on the screenplay. Orphanage head of production Amy Israel will produce with R.D. Robb, Renfroe, Thorsson and Sienkiewicz.
Thailand-based The Kantana Group has hired U.S. animation vets Tod Polson and Aaron Sorenson to direct its feature animated film, KHUAN KLUAY, reports VARIETY. The studio hopes to make the film the first from Thailand to be released simultaneously throughout Asia in April 2005. A third of the project's $2.5 million budget is being funded by The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, which is providing tax breaks for imported software and ponying up the cash for the film's marketing. The story follows an abandoned elephant that saves his homeland from its enemies.
yU + co delves into the dark and disturbing world of serial murder in its wonderfully creepy main title sequence for D. J. Caruso's psychological thriller TAKING LIVES. The Warner Bros. release, about a murderer who assumes the identities of his victims, opened nationwide on March 19, 2004.
DAWN OF THE DEAD prevented Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST from winning the box office four weeks in a row. Universal's remake of the cult horror film (with vfx by Camera e-Motion and Mr. X) took in $26.7M to lead the weekend period ended March 21, 2004. Meanwhile, THE PASSION (with vfx by Keith Vanderlaan's Captive Audience Prods.) collected another $19.4M for a second place finish on its way to $295.5M. The Newmarket release continues to add screens in anticipation of a huge Easter weekend April 9-11.
Wolfland Pictures is in production on a CG feature based on Phillipe Druillet's post-apocalyptic graphic novel NOSFERATU. The comedic tale safe to Earth on the brink of destruction and its only hope is a bumbling vampire. Druillet, best known as one of the founders of HEAVY METAL magazine, will supervise the production. Jean Rochefort (MAN ON THE TRAIN) will voice the lead character. Wolfland previously produced 14 episodes of ARZAK RHAPSODY, which was created by Jean "Moebius" Giraud. In 1991, an English version of NOSFERATU was published by Dark Horse Comics.
In only its third weekend, Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (with vfx by Keith Vanderlaan's Captive Audience Prods.) passed MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING as the all-time indie box office champ, ringing in $32.1M for a total gross of $264.5M for Newmarket. That puts it fourth on the list of best third weekend performers, behind SPIDER-MAN, TITANIC, STAR WARS: EPISODE I -THE PHANTOM MENACE.
Gary Ross, writer/director of the Academy Award-nominated live action feature SEABISCUIT, has begun development on an animated feature based on Kate DiCamillo's Newberry Medal-winning children's book, THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX: BEING THE STORY OF A MOUSE, A PRINCESS, SOME SOUP, AND A SPOOL OF THREAD, reported HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Universal Pictures optioned the novel and Ross will produce the film at his Larger Than Prods. The story follows an exiled mouse, a light-loving rat and a young servant girl with cauliflower ears as their lives get mix-up with a princess.