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.
Not only did the animation world celebrate the opening of THE INCREDIBLES, which captured a record $70.4M last weekend for Disney and Pixar, but also DreamWorks Animation SKG reported that SHREK 2 generated an estimated $185M in retail revenue when it bowed over the same three-day period, including a record 11 million units in DVD sales.
BLADE: TRINITY writer/director David Goyer has announced that his proposed remake and update of the 1973 sci-fi flick, SOYLENT GREEN will begin where the original film left off, reports SCI FI WIRE. Goyer also said he will not write or directed the film, but will produce it through his first-look deal with Warner Bros.
"I will say that the reveal at the end of the first movie happened at the end of our first act," Goyer said in an interview. "So the first movie is kind of the first act of our film, and then it's about what happens afterwards."
BFC Berliner Film Companie GmbH has entered into a software license and custom development and support agreement with mental images GmbH to use its rendering and 3D modeling software on BFC's upcoming major 3D feature film, HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER. Michael Hefferon, head of production for BFCs in-house production service arm, is supervising the feature-length 3D CG-animated motion picture planned for delivery in the third quarter of 2005.
DreamWorks has reeled in the domestic distribution rights to the Japanese sci fi/action hit, CASSHERN a blend of live action and various animation techniques, to be released under the banner of its specialty film division, Go Fish Pictures.
Classic Media has landed some top talent to voice character in its CG-remake of HERE COMES PETER COTTENTAIL -- PETER COTTONTAIL: THE MOVIE. SpongeBob voice Tom Kenny will voice Peter Cottontail, Junior and Antoine. Former James Bond Roger Moore will voice the villain Irontail with SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE alum Molly Shannon voicing villainess Jackie Frost.