Alias and BFC Berliner Film Companie Prods. GmbH (BFC) have extended their partnership by utilizing Maya as the core 3D technology used in the upcoming 3D animated feature, HAPPILY N´EVER AFTER, produced by John H. Williams (the SHREK movies and VALIANT). BFC relies on its relationship with Alias professional services for support and custom software development to rapidly prototype new features that meet its particular production requirements.
When Warner Bros. Pictures releases HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE on Nov. 18, it will debut in a record 72 IMAX theaters, with an additional 18 to open in the coming weeks. This will eclipse the mark set by CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE this past summer.
Of the 72 IMAX theaters opening day and date, 66 of the locations are domestic, which is significantly more than the 49 domestic IMAX screens that HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE opened in June 2004.
Award-winning visual effects studio Digital Dimension delivered 200 vfx shots for ZATHURA: A SPACE ADVENTURE, the Columbia Pictures sci-fi adventure that opened Nov. 11.
Director Jon Favreau and visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer, with whom Digital Dimension collaborated most recently on ELF, brought the company on board to create signature effects for the movies digital star fields and to help them achieve action sequences in space using seamlessly composited practical miniatures along with CG elements.
CHICKEN LITTLE, Disneys first full 3D-animated feature, won the box office derby in its second outing for the weekend ended Nov. 13, 2005, despite competition from ZATHURA, the other movie aimed at families. Benefiting from Veterans Day falling on Friday, CHICKEN LITTLE lost only 21% and took home $31.6M for Buena Vista, giving it a cume of $80.4M. Apparently the extra ticket price for the digital 3-D version, boosted the gross as well. Look for CHICKEN LITTLE to play through the holidays and earn somewhere in the $150M vicinity.
STEALTH director Rob Cohens big-budget spectacle THE 8TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD has been called off at Sonys Columbia Pictures, reports the L.A. TIMES.
Amy Pascal, head of the motion picture group for Sony Pictures Ent., said in the piece, "It didn't seem like a good idea for us to make that movie after STEALTH.
The $135-million STEALTH lost Sony nearly $50 million after grossing a measly $32.1 million domestically. Cohen declined to comment.
Universal has hired Chris Morgan (FAST AND FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT) to adapt Dan Brereton and James Hudnalls comicbook THE PSYCHO, reports VARIETY.
Set in a world where an illegal drug can give people superpowers or death, the story follows a rogue CIA agent who risks his sanity to become a "psycho" as a way to rescue his girlfriend and expose a political conspiracy.
David Engel will produce for Circle of Confusion, with partners Lawrence Mattis and Jason Lust exec producing. Universal production vp Jeff Kirschenbaum will shepherd the film.
Following up his debut on the surprise hit DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN, Darren Grant has been hired by Fox 2000 for the live-action adaptation of the webtoon, VENUS KINCAID, according to VARIETY. The Love Brothers of Gettosake Ent. created the series, which chronicles a female African-American government agent who is transformed into a teenaged girl with all of her adult knowledge still intact. ZOOM production company Underground Films' Nick Osborne and Trevor Engelson are producing with Scott Cherrin exec producing. Lori Lakin is writing the screenplay.
BIONICLE: THE FEATURE scribe Brett Matthews has sold another sci-fi spec script this time to Warner Bros. Pictures, according to VARIETY. Titled MAINLINE, the story is being kept under close wraps. Dylan Sellers Prods. vp of production Jesse Ehrman along with Dylan Sellers brought the project to Warners creative exec Geoff Shaevitz, who will shepherd the film for the studio.
Da, da, da. Da, da, da let the boy be Blade. Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jones has been cast as the half-vampire vampire killer Blade for the upcoming TV series, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Based on the comicbook and film franchise of the same name, the Spike TV series will continue the adventures of the Marvel superhero as he attempts to save the human race from a demonic underworld.
DreamWorks Animation announced that two-time Academy Award-winner Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan and Ian McShane (TVs DEADWOOD) are joining Jack Black in the cast of KUNG FU PANDA. In addition, award-winning actress Lucy Liu is in talks with the studio to voice another main role.
New Line has hired Seth Bass and Jonathan Tolins to write an adaptation of SANTAKID, based on James Patterson's children's book, reports VARIETY. The story follows a billionaires daughter who after receiving an imperfect doll for Christmas has her father buy Santa Claus and tries to improve on holiday operation. David Kirschner and Corey Sienega will produce with New Line execs Mark Kaufman, Matt Moore and Luke Ryan shepherding for the studio.
Gold Circle Films has purchased Greg Erb and Jason Oremland's pitch CREATURE FEATURE, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The film centers on a 13-year-old budding horror filmmaker who discovers a mysterious old camera that brings his monster props to life. Craig Mazin will produce with Paul Brooks overseeing for Gold Circle Films.
Dimension Films has obtained the North American distribution right to CASTLEVANIA, a thriller based on the Konami videogame franchise, reports VARIETY. Paul W.S. Anderson will adapt and direct. Just last week, production house Crystal Sky Pictures purchased the film rights to the franchise.
Infamous AMERICAN HISTORY X helmer Tony Kaye is set to begin shooting the supernatural thriller, REAPER, according THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The film chronicles the story of a tortured man who is visited on his deathbed by the grim reaper, who offers him a chance at eternal life, which will give the man the chance to search for his kidnapped daughter. Kaye intends to shoot the lead characters tale in HD video and the reapers tale on film. The netherworld will be photographed in black & white. The $20 million film has a cast, which will be announced at a later date.
Production and distribution company Maxmedia has optioned the film rights to the forthing Microsoft videogame KAMEO: ELEMENTS OF POWER, reports VARIETY. Maxmedia plans to team with SKY BLUE production house Sunmin Park, to adapt the animated feature. She and Jungmin Ethan Park are producing the film, which is set to being production next year.
Exceeding all expectations, CHICKEN LITTLE, Disneys first full 3D-animated feature, debuted with an impressive $40M for the weekend ended Nov. 6, 2005. It marks the best opening for a Disney animated feature since LILO & STITCHS $35.3M back in 2002. Apparently even adults flocked to the movie. In addition, the launch of CHICKEN LITTLE in digital 3D proved very promising as well, turning in an estimated $2.1M in 85 U.S. locations.
With lucrative state tax incentives in play, Digital Domains long-in-the-works project INSTANT KARMA is aptly named. The Louisiana Capital Area Economic Development Allies (LaCAEDA) announced that Emerald Bayou Studios has played a critical role in obtaining state certification for the feature film. This partnership was announced during a press conference at AFM.
POSEIDON and SUPERMAN RETURNS are the latest Warner Bros. tentpole pictures to get the large format IMAX treatment. Wolfgang Petersens remake of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (with vfx from ILM and MPC) will be released May 12, 2006, on both conventional and IMAX screens. Bryan Singers SUPERMAN RETURNS (with vfx from Sony Pictures Imageworks, Rhythm + Hues, The Orphanage and Rising Sun Pictures, among others) follows the same release pattern on June 30, 2006.
Paul W.S. Anderson, who developed a name for turning videogames into feature films such as RESIDENT EVIL and MORTAL COMBAT, has been hired by Steven Paul's Crystal Sky Pictures to turn Konami videogame franchise CASTLEVANIA into a feature, reports VARIETY. Anderson will write and direct the film. Paul and Crystal Sky president Benedict Carver will produce alongside Impact Pictures Anderson and Jeremy Bolt. The story will chronicle the origins of Dracula and the vampire-hunting Belmont Clan. Mid-2006 is set for production to start and no cast has yet been set.
Due to New Lines stalled development of an IRON MAN feature, Marvel has regained the film rights to the comicbook franchise, reports VARIETY. After the project was in development hell for more than two years, the franchises option expired this summer and Marvel opted not to renew with New Line. Now the feature will start from scratch at Marvel with a new script, which will either be produced in-house or licensed to another studio.
Rogue Films, the genre arm of Focus Features, has tapped the domestic distribution rights to HIGH TENSION director Alexandre Ajas forthcoming supernatural horror flick, THE WAITING, VARIETY reports. Rogue purchased the film from Gold Circle Films and Craven/Maddalena Films. Mandate holds the international rights.
Graham King's Initial Ent. Group has obtained international distribution rights for Revolution Studios' Philip K. Dick adaptation, NEXT, according to VARIETY. As part of the deal, King will gain a producer credit on the film along with star Nicolas Cage, Norm Golightly, Todd Garner and Arne Schmidt.
Building upon the legacy of the swashbuckling hero, Zorro, Imaginary Forces (IF) designed the main title sequence for Sony Pictures THE LEGEND OF ZORRO. IF's Michelle Dougherty acted as director and art director on the film's teaser and main titles, working closely with IF founder/creative director Peter Frankfurt, as well as supervising Antonio Banderas during the shoot for the main titles.
Lions Gates SAW II (with vfx from C.O.R.E.) carved up a surprising $31.7M at the box office for its Halloween weekend bow ended Oct. 30, 2005. Sonys THE LEGEND OF ZORRO (with vfx from Peerless Camera Co. and Digiscope) debuted in a distant second with $16.3M. Universals PRIME followed in third, as another newcomer, with $6.2M. Slipping to fourth was DreamWorks DREAMER: INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY (with vfx by Hammerhead), which brought in $6.1M for a two-week cume of $17.3M.
Inspired by last years enormously successful THE POLAR EXPRESS: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE and encouraged by a flurry of interest in three-dimensional digital cinema, Walt Disney Pictures will unveil its first all CG-animated feature, CHICKEN LITTLE, in a new Disney Digital 3D process when it bows Nov. 4. This event marks the first digital 3D theatrical presentation.