IMAX saw its biggest five-day opening ever with last weekends estimated $3.16M debut of BATMAN BEGINS: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE. The opening day gross of approximately $754,000 proved to be an IMAX record as well for a Hollywood simultaneous release.
BATMAN BEGINS posted strong if not super debut numbers for Warner Bros., grabbing $48.7M for the weekend ended June 19, 2005, and $72.8M overall for its first five days. Also impressive was the record-breaking $3.1M from IMAX. Vfx from Double Negative, MPC, Rising Sun Pictures and BUF certainly contributed to the visual success of Chris Nolans back to basics approach. Meanwhile, overseas, BATMAN BEGINS took in a good if not spectacular $41.7M on 8,000 screens, and was actually outperformed by MADAGASCAR in Australia, Spain and the Netherlands.
In its largest project, London-based Double Negative has created nearly 300 vfx shots for Warner Bros. BATMAN BEGINS, opening June 15. Production vfx supervisors Janek Sirrs and Dan Glass challenged Double Negative to tackle work that would require the team to completely revamp its design facility, creating a new working pipeline and installing new infrastructure to accommodate the huge workload.
Warner Bros. has landed the film rights to turn Kathryn Lasky's children's fantasy series GUARDIANS OF GA'HOOLE into a CG feature, reports VARIETY. This will be the first project for producer Donald De Line under his new three-year first-look deal with the studio. Lasky will adapt her books as well as exec produce.
Lasky's seven-book series is set in a parallel universe where owls can perform magical transformations. The first book follows a young barn owl who joins a mysterious school for orphaned owls after being pushed out of his family's nest by his older brother.
Wolfgang Petersen's remake of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE is gaining actors quicker than the doomed shipping takes on water. Mia Maestro (TVs ALIAS), Freddy Rodriguez (TVs SIX FEET UNDER), Kevin Dillon (TVs ENTOURAGE), Jacinda Barrett (LAST KISS) and Jimmy Bennett (THE AMITYVILLE HORROR) have all joined the star-studded cast for the Warner Bros. tentpole, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
Maestro will play a stowaway. Rodriguez will play a member of the crew. Dillon plays a blowhard poker player. Barrett and Bennett will play a mother and son.
Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films have started development on NATIONAL TREASURE 2, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Jon Turteltaub will return as direct from a script by Gregory Poirier (forthcoming SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON remake). The studios are keeping the plot on the down low and as of yet none of the original cast has been resigned. Jason Reed shepherd the project for Disney with Chad Oman, Mike Stenson, Aviv and Segars are exec producing.
Warner Bros. reported that BATMAN BEGINS bowed Wednesday with $15,068,368, ranking it 11th on the all-time list for mid-week openings. Not surprisingly, BATMAN BEGINS tracked very well among males, which comprised 64% of the audience.
Vfx studio Digital Dimension recently contributed a series of high-powered visual effects for MR. & MRS. SMITH, creating 26 explosive shots for the smash movie starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as assassins.
Disney has hired Jonathan Mostow to direct its remake of SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, according to VARIETY. Mostow will also rewrite Greg Poirier first draft with Sam Montgomery, Mostow's writing partner on his directorial efforts, BREAKDOWN and U-571. Mandeville's David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman will produce the flick.
The remake will take the tale of the shipwrecked family back to the book's 19th-century period.
The film is set to go before cameras in Australia next year. Disney svp Karen Glass is overseeing.
Columbia Pictures is hammering out deals with Ray Winstone (KING ARTHUR), Anthony Hopkins (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), Brendan Gleeson (TROY) and Robin Wright Penn (FORREST GUMP) to star in director Robert Zemeckis' BEOWULF, reports VARIETY. Steve Bing's Shangri-La Ent. is producing the performance capture feature.
Roger Avary and Neil Gaiman have adapted the Old English epic poem about a knight who slays the monster Grendel and becomes king. Zemeckis and his ImageMovers partners Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke are producing. Martin Shafer will exec produce with the trio writers.
Genre experts Ghost House Pictures will finance and develop the frightening family spec MONKEY'S PAW, from scribes Dave Kajganich and Tom McAlister, according to VARIETY. Ghost House toppers Sam Raimi and Rob Taper will produce along with Kustom Ent. head Tom Lassally and Kustom's Robyn Meisinger.
The story follows a father and his family after a wish-granting artifact begins to wreck havoc on their lives.
Germany's Constantin Film and Impact Pictures have already begun pre-production on RESIDENT EVIL 4 before even filming the third film in the series, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The fourth film will take place in Tokyo.
The third film, RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE, will begins shooting in Australia in either Nov. or Dec. AFTERLIFE will be set in the Nevada desert and then shift to Japan in the third act, setting up the fourth installment.
With a December production start for James Cameron's BATTLE ANGEL, the Oscar-winning director is already readying another feature tentatively titled PROJECT 880, his Lightstorm Ent. told the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Cameron plans to shot the film in 3D with custom-designed high-definition cameras as well as a photo-real performance capture technology.
Lightstorm did not give details about PROJECT 880, but did say that Cameron may choose to film that project before BATTLE ANGEL, which has become a difficult film to adapt from Yukito Kishiro's 12 popular Japanese graphic novels.
Move over MADAGASCAR. Foxs MR. AND MRS. SMITH grabbed the second best three-day opening of the year $50.3M thanks to the sultry star power of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The romantic thriller (with vfx by Digital Dimension) finished ahead of the pack for the weekend ended June 12, 2005. Meanwhile, DreamWorks MADAGASCAR fell to second place with $17.1M. The three-week cume for the 3D-animated comedy hit $128.4M. Foxs REVENGE OF THE SITH (with that stunning ILM vfx) held the third spot with $14.8M and has reached $332.1M as it continues its box office descent.
20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures have taken the bid from Microsoft to produce a feature film adaptation of videogame HALO, reports VARIETY. The final details are still being hammered out, but for certain Universal will handle domestic rights with Fox taking international.
A while back VFXWORLD visited the set of Michael Bays THE ISLAND and more recently viewed the opening 45 minutes at a special DreamWorks presentation at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie get vfx help from CaféFX in two exciting escape sequences for Twentieth Century Foxs MR. AND MRS. SMITH, which opens June 10.
They play a married couple who appear bored with their quiet life but, unknown to each other, are actually international assassins whose career paths are about to fatally collide.
John H. Williams is set to produce PHREEX, an animated feature following a group of rejected lab animals, reports the trades. The screenplay was written by Matt Corman and Chris Ord. Williams will begin shopping the project to partners soon.
Williams will produce alongside Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, who have worked with Williams writing his Vanguard houses VALIANT, which the Walt Disney Co. will release August 19.
Justin Lin, director of the Sundance hit BETTER LUCK TOMORROW, has been signed to direct THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 3. The Universal Pictures release will be produced by Neal H. Moritz, who served in the same capacity on the other films in the series. The third film was written by Chris Morgan (CELLULAR), who places the third entry in Tokyo: in the underground world of Japanese drift racing. Plans call for the film to begin production in the fall 2005.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3, starring Tom Cruise, will commence principal photography on July 18 in Italy. The film, to be directed by J. J. Abrams and filmed on locations across Europe, the U.S. and Asia, is scheduled to be released May 5, 2006. Cruise and his partner, Paula Wagner, will produce for Cruise/Wagner Prods.
Messengers dressed as the lead space marine in Microsoft videogame HALO descended on the studios June 6 with the screenplay based on the bestselling franchise, reports VARIETY. Microsoft and Bungie Studios paid 28 DAYS LATER writer Alex Garland $1 million to pen the script. Microsoft has also tapped former Columbia Pictures president Peter Schlessel to shepherd the project as well as serve as a producer.
Paramount has stopped development on the highly-anticipated film adaptation of the classic comicbook series, THE WATCHMEN, according to VARIETY. The studio has now put the project into turnaround, allowing producers Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin to shop the Paul Greengrass (THE BOURNE SUPREMACY) directed project to other studios.
Joe Dante's PIRANHA will get an update care of new production firm Chiller Films, reports VARIETY. Chuck Russell (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3) is set to rewrite the script, using elements from spec script KILLER FISH by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger plus the original's script by John Sayles, which was based on a story by Richard Robertson. Chiller will co-produce the film with Intellectual Properties Worldwide.
Sony Pictures Releasing has pushed the release of THE PINK PANTHER from Aug. 5 to Feb. 10, 2006, according to trades. Sony acquired the Shawn Levy-directed/ Steve Martin-starrer through its purchase on MGM.
"With the recent acquisition of MGM, we wanted to give our marketing department the time and opportunity to launch this very important franchise," said Sony Pictures Releasing president Rory Bruer. "We've seen the movie, and we really love this film. It's a franchise we believe in and are really excited about, and Steve Martin is great as Clouseau."
Despite the current box office malaise, MADAGASCAR took over the top spot after debuting last week at number three. The computer-animated comedy grabbed $28.1M for DreamWorks to reach $100M for the weekend ended June 5, 2005. Paramounts THE LONGEST YARD held the second spot with $26M and a two-week cume of $95.7M. However, despite falling to third place with $25M, Foxs STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH (with its stunning vfx by ILM) managed to break the $300M barrier at a record pace, with its $300.7M total.