Director Darren Aronofsky will start shooting his long-delayed sci-fi drama THE FOUNTAIN in Montreal, Canada, November 1, reports NEWSDAY. Hugh Jackman will star the immortality tale that takes place over three centuries. Cate Blanchett, Ellen Burstyn and Sean Gullette will also star. Aronofsky and Ari Handel penned the scripted. New Regency and Aronofsky's Protozoa Pictures are producing the film, which is set to be released by Warner Bros. in 2005 or 2006.
Spain-based Filmax Animation's long-in-the-works PK3: PINOCCHIO 3000 feature will feature a Hollywood flare with voice provide by Whoopi Goldberg, Malcolm McDowell and Howie Mandel, reports VARIETY. The futuristic spin on Carlo Collodi's classic tale is also being produced by Canada's CineGroupe, and France's Animakids.
Mandel will voice Spencer, a cyber-penguin who helps tinkering inventor Geppetto. Goldberg voices Cyberina, a big-mamma holographic fairy. McDowell will voice Scamboli, the low-life mayor of the high-tech city of Scamboville.
The Shreking of America continues, as DreamWorks SHREK 2 passed Disney/Pixars FINDING NEMO for top grossing animated feature in domestic history. The computer-animated sequel grabbed $23.3M over the weekend, reaching an astounding $353.3M in only 26 days. Last fall NEMO hit $339.7M after its triumphant summer debut. Along the way, SHREK 2 has set these additional records:
* Best Four-Day Memorial Day Weekend Gross: $95,578,365
Warner Bros. HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN faced stiff competition in its second week for the weekend ended June 13, 2004, dropping nearly 63% yet still racking up nearly $35M.
Universal has finally confirmed that Andy Serkis, the actor who brought Gollum to life in the LORD OF THE RINGS series, will indeed play the giant ape in director Peter Jackson's version of KING KONG, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. In addition, Serkis will play Lumpy the cook, a ship member on the Venture as it ventures to Skull Island.
In an effort to appeal to local audiences, DreamWorks will have the voice of underwater TV journalist Katie Current, voiced differently Down Under, reports VARIETY. In the States, the character's inspiration TODAY host Katie Couric will provide her voice; with Australian TODAY host Tracy Grimshaw, voicing the character for Aussie audiences. DreamWorks hasn't announced whether other regions of the world will feature their own journalist celebs in the role. The film opens in Australia Sept. 30, 2004 and in the U.S. on Oct. 1.
I Castelli Animati Animated Film Festival has announce its short animated film project, which brings together eight Israeli students and eight Palestinian students who will work together in Rome on the storyline and the original drawings. The film is being produced by a number of Italian animation studios with the artistic supervision of Emanuele Luzzati and Giulio Gianini.
The aim of the project is not only to make a cartoon, but also to show that a common effort can be made between young Palestinians and Israelis to collaborate constructively and peacefully.
Viggo Mortensen has been tapped to star in the New Line Cinema adaptation of graphic novel, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, reports VARIETY. David Cronenberg is set to direct from a script by Josh Olson (INFESTED). The film set to go before cameras in the fall.
Based on the Paradox Press graphic novel by John Wagner, Mortensen will play a small town diner owner who lives peacefully with his lawyer wife and children, until a random act of violence propels him to hero status in press and brings him to the unwanted attention of thugs who believe he is a former colleague on the lam.
Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films have bought Terry Rossio (SHREK, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) and Bill Marsilii's romantic thriller script DEJA VU for several million dollars, reports VARIETY. Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group president Nina Jacobson will oversee movie with evp production Jason Reed. Rossio and his writing partner Ted Elliott will exec produce with Jerry Bruckheimer Films' Mike Stenson and Chad Oman, who originally brought the script to Bruckheimer.
When talking with CATWOMAN producer Denise Di Novi, IGN Filmforce discovered that her next project will be a live-action adaptation of the classic cartoon, THE JETSONS. Di Novi said they will be working off a script by Sam Harper (CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, JUST MARRIED, ROOKIE OF THE YEAR). Adam Shankman (BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE) is set to direct the film for Warner Bros.
Vanguard Animation has secured the rights to William Steig's THE ZABAJABA JUNGLE from the author's estate, reports VARIETY. Published in 1991, the book chronicles the story of a young boy who journeys through a jungle to find his kidnapped parents.
Vanguard Animation is in production on VALIANT, with Ewan McGregor, for Disney and HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER, starring Sigourney Weaver, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar. The studio also has SPACE CHIMPS in development.
Kevin James (THE KING OF QUEENS) will voice the lead character, Otis in the upcoming Nick Movies feature, THE BARNYARD to be distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film is being written, produced and directed by Steve Oedekerk (BRUCE ALMIGHTY, ACE VENTURA). BARNYARD takes a humorous look at what really happens in a barnyard when the farmer is away, as Otis and his misfit friends enjoy playing tricks on humans, singing, dancing and partying. Paul Marshal serves as producer with exec producing by Julia Pistor and Albie Hecht.
Paramount has named 13 GOING ON 30 helmer Gary Winick as director of a live-action/CG version of E.B. White's classic all-time best selling children's tale, CHARLOTTE'S WEB, reports VARIETY. Jordan Kerner (SNOW DOGS) will produce the film from a screenplay first drafted by Susannah Grant (ERIN BROCKOVICH) then revised by Karey Kirkpatrick (CHICKEN RUN, CURIOUS GEORGE).
Universal Pictures has secured the screen rights for the DC graphic novel THE PSYCHO, reports VARIETY. The studio has hired Jeffrey Nachmanoff (THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW) to pen the script. Based on a three-issue series by James Hudnall and Dan Brereton, the story is an action-thriller about a government agent who reveals a technology used to genetically transforms people into superhumans.
Busy director John Woo has signed on to direct Paramount feature adaptation of Tom Clancy's RAINBOW SIX, reports VARIETY. The long in-development pic was originally brought to Paramount by Artists Management Group's Michael Ovitz in 1999. Michael Shiffer, Bill Wisher, Art Monterastelli, Frank Capello and John Enbom have all taken cracks at the script over the years. The story follows former CIA agent John Clark, who leaves the agency to set up an U.K.-based multinational organization that fights terrorism.
Sony Pictures Entertainment has signed SAMURAI JACK and DEXTER'S LABORATORY creator Genndy Tartakovsky to write and direct a live-action version of the anime classic ASTROBOY, reports VARIETY. The long in-development picture will be produced by Don Murphy of Angryfilms, and Lisa Henson and Kristine Belson of Jim Henson Pictures.
With DreamWorks founder Jeffery Katzenberg previously talking up more SHREK sequels at Cannes, DreamWorks has announced that HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS scribes Peter Seaman and Jeffrey Price will write the screenplay for SHREK 3. In addition, Jon Zack (PERFECT SCORE) has been hired as a script consultant.
DreamWorks' SHREK 2 and Fox's THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW made quite a one-two punch over the Memorial Day box office period ended May 31, 2004, propelling the best four-day take in the history of the biz. DreamWorks' SHREK 2 grabbed $95.5M (the best second-week tally ever) and a staggering $260.3M to date.
The full trailer to one of the most debated "animated" (director Robert Zemeckis doesn't like to call it that) films of the year, POLAR EXPRESS will go online June 1, 2004. It will make its theatrical debut in front of Warner Bros.' HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN, one June 4. The trailer will be available online as a special feature of The Daily Prophet on the Harry Potter site, www.harrypotter.com.
Dygra Films (THE LIVING FOREST) has announced that it has sold the Italian rights to its 3D animated feature, MIDSUMMER DREAM to Medusa, reports VARIETY. This deal adds to deal with ABC-Cinemien for Benelux, Front Row for the Middle East, Noah for Israel, Media Source for China, Summerstorm for Hong Kong and Taiwan and Box Office for Thailand. Spanish international sales company Lumina Films acquired overseas sales rights outside Spain and Portugal last fall.