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Category: Films

Headline News Chicken Little Sees (Voice) Stars Falling from the Sky

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, December 11, 2003 at 12:00am

Walt Disney has confirmed members of the voice cast of its next 3D feature, CHICKEN LITTLE. TV series SCRUBS star Zac Braff will voice the lead character, which changes the original gender of the chick from female to male. Oscar nominee Joan Cusack (IN & OUT) will voice the ugly duckling with Steve Zahn (HAPPY, TEXAS) as a fat pig named Runt, Amy Sedaris (ELF) as Foxy Loxy, Katie Finneran (YOUVE GOT MAIL) as Foxy's sidekick Goosey Lucy, Don Knotts (ANY GRIFFITH SHOW) as Turkey Mayor and Garry Marshall (ORANG COUNTY) as Father.

Headline News Seinfeld Gives DreamWorks a CG Bee

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld has resurfaced with a computer-animated feature project set in the anthropomorphized world of bees, BEE MOVIE, to be made at DreamWorks. Imagine a Manhattan-like setting buzzing with bees. That's what hooked DreamWorks principal Steven Spielberg when the two recently huddled at the Hamptons and started discussing animated movie ideas.

Headline News Kim Possible Producers Get Writing Gig on Live-Action/CG Enchanted

KIM POSSIBLE exec producers Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle have been signed by Walt Disney to rewrite live-action/CG feature ENCHANTED. Adam Shankman has already signed on to direct the film.

The story starts out in an animated fairy tale where a poor girl gets banished from the kingdom by the evil queen for falling in love with the prince. Her banishment lands her in live-action New York City, which the young girl quickly falls in love with. However, things get difficult when the prince and the queen come to the real world looking for her.

Headline News Rings' Jackson Wants to Continue Tolken Habit with Hobbit

LORD OF THE RINGS helmer Peter Jackson has been quoted in various trade publications saying that he would love to make J.R.R. Tolkens prequel to the RINGS series, THE HOBBIT into a feature. Jackson said if he were presented the chance, he would work with some of the same actors he worked with on the RINGS trilogy. If Jackson gets his wish, it would come after his remake of KING KONG, which is next on the directors plate as well as his visual effects house, Weta in New Zealand.

Headline News Samurai Cuts Through Snow and Family Fare

Warner Bros.' THE LAST SAMURAI (with vfx from Flash Film Works, Rising Sun and Matte World) didn't quite meet expectations in its box office bow for the weekend ended Dec. 7, 2003, what with snow storms and heavy competition from family films, but the Tom Cruise epic still conquered the box office with an impressive $24.2M. Debuting at number two was the Universal romancer, HONEY, which drew $12.8M.

Headline News Beatle McCartney Helps Expand Miramax's Animation Library

Miramax has acquired a trio of classic animated stories produced by former Beatle legend Sir Paul McCartney. TROPIC ISLAND HUM, TUESDAY and RUPERT & THE FROG SONG are scheduled to be released on DVD and video in spring 2004 as part of Miramax's Family Home Entertainment. McCartney and Miramax co-chair Harvey Weinstein most recently collaborated on THE CONCERT FOR NEW YORK CITY, which raised $35 million for the victims of 9/11.

Headline News Hot McGregor to Voice Valiant Lead

Ewan McGregor, Obi-Wan Kenobi himself, is busy doing lots of voice work these days. In addition to Blue Sky's ROBOTS and Disney's upcoming GNOMEO AND JULIET, the Scottish actor has just been signed to voice the title character in Vanguard Animation's CG-animated feature, VALIANT. The animated comedy tells the story of a lowly wood pigeon named Valiant, who overcomes his small size to become a hero in Great Britain's Royal Air Force Homing Pigeon Service during World War II.

Headline News Encore Hollywood Adds New FX To Alien 3 DVD

Encore Hollywood provided animation and visual effects services for Fox Home Entertainment on ALIEN 3 for the Alien Quadrilogy, the nine disc boxed set, which arrives on December 2. Computer animator Greg Tsadilas created a 3D version of a baby alien for the birth sequence, which is part of 30 minutes of added material. The birth sequence shows the newborn alien creature emerging from the carcass of an ox then fleeing down a corridor. The new creature is in a form not seen in any of the ALIEN films.

Headline News The Cat Rules Thanksgiving Weekend

After typical studio jockeying back and forth during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, THE CAT IN THE HAT remained on top of the box office chart when all the dust settled. That is, if you count the three-day weekend and not the five-day tally. The Universal movie produced by Imagine Entertainment (with vfx by Rhythm & Hues) hauled in $24.4M for the three-day period (and $32.9M for the five days ended Nov. 30).

Headline News Fox/Blue Sky Targets Wainscott Weasel for 3D Treatment

THE WAINSCOTT WEASEL, the popular children's book written by Tor Seidler and illustrated by the late Fred Marcelliano, is the latest property to be snatched up by Fox Studios Animation and Blue Sky Studios. Just one look at that eye patch-sporting weasel, who's in love with a beautiful silver fish, and you just know he belongs in the 3D company of Scrat.

Headline News Cinesite (Europe) Announces VFX Slate

Cinesite (Europe) Ltd announced that it has moved into production on visual effects for several major feature films, which will complete throughout 2004. These include TROY (Warner Bros.), HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (Warner Bros.), ALIEN VS. PREDATOR (Fox), AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (Walden Media), SAHARA (Paramount), KING ARTHUR (Buena Vista) and ALFIE (Paramount).

Headline News CafeFX Scares Up Fiery Gothika

Warner Bros.' GOTHIKA, the contemporary ghost story starring Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr. and Penelope Cruz, marks the debut of new digital fire effects created by CafeFX. With fire a central motif in the movie, CafeFX was challenged to develop custom software for fire shading and motion in key sequences, and with creating effects that heighten the impact of other frightening scenes.

Headline News The Risque Cat's Out of the Box Office Bag

Though well short of the opening gross for the live-action HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, Universal's THE CAT IN THE HAT still attracted enough tikes and their families to pull in a sizable $38.3M in its debut. The Imagine Entertainment production, with vfx by Rhythm & Hues, ruled the box office for the weekend ended Nov. 23, 2003.

Headline News H2V Springs Slinky Animated Properties

As if they hadnt sprung enough new animated features on us already (three in 2004), Montreal-based H2V Entertainment plans to produce two more theatricals starring one of the worlds most well-known toys, the Slinky. H2V Kids, a new addition to H2V and its partner UKFS, have signed a deal with DoubleTake Spring Partners, Inc. and James Industries, Inc. to launch the legendary toy into the world of animation with two movies and a TV series based on characters from the hit collection of Slinky Pets toys.

Headline News Gollum Actor to Become King Kong

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, November 19, 2003 at 12:00am

In an interview with the TORONTO STAR, actor Andy Serkis, the man behind LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERs scene-stealing CG character Gollum, alluded to his re-teaming with RINGS director Peter Jackson as the big ape in KING KONG. The article stated, Serkis has an even bigger assignment ahead of him. Rumour has it he'll be the face of King Kong in Peter Jackson's planned 2005 remake of the legendary ape epic.

Headline News Mickey Mouse Turns 75

Mickey Mouse celebrates his 75th anniversary today as one of the world's most beloved cultural icons. Ever since Mickey debuted in the first synchronized sound cartoon, STEAMBOAT WILLIE, on Nov. 18, 1928, he has remained in our consciousness while also presiding as the face of The Walt Disney Co. around the globe. Today, the company honored Mickey 75th by kicking off 18 months of celebration beginning at Walt Disney World Resort with the unveiling of 75 uniquely designed, 700-pound, 6-foot-tall Mickey statues -- a tribute to Mickey from an impressive group of friends. Chairman/ceo Michael D.

Headline News DigitalFilm Tree Creates Final Cut Pro for Cold Mountain Editing

DigitalFilm Tree (DFT), a post and design company specializing in Final Cut Pro (FCP) consultation and implementation, collaborated with Oscar-winning editor Walter Murch to pioneer a Final Cut Pro editing workflow for his work on Anthony Minghella's COLD MOUNTAIN, Miramax's Civil War epic starring Jude Law and Nicole Kidman and prime Oscar contender, due in theaters Christmas Day.

Headline News Buena Vista Acquires Rights To Around the World in 80 Days

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution has acquired the domestic distribution rights to Walden Media's adventure comedy, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, starring Jackie Chan. The film will be released by Walt Disney Pictures as a summer 2004 tentpole.

Headline News A Few Less Animated Ghosts at Disney

Production has been halted on the Walt Disney Co.'s A FEW GOOD GHOSTS at Feature Animation in Orlando, Florida (BROTHER BEAR, LILO & STITCH and MULAN) due to creative differences and subject matter deemed not "universally appealing." The shutdown falls on the heels of recent closures (Paris and Tokyo) and layoffs, including 50 at the Orlando facility.

Headline News Elf Dwarfs Master

New Line's Christmas satire, ELF (with vfx by Rhythm & Hues and Amalgamated Pixels) won the box office weekend ended Nov. 16, 2003. After two weeks, ELF has grabbed a tidy $70.3M. Fox's Oscar contender, MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD, debuted in second place with a respectable but certainly not commanding $25.1M.

Headline News Bionicle 3 Gets Scribe

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, November 13, 2003 at 12:00am

Miramax has hired writer Brett Matthews to pen the theatrical installment of the LEGO BIONICLE franchise. Both the first and in-production second film in the series are direct-to-DVD releases. The BIONICLE story follows a group of intelligent biomechanical superheroes who battle the evil Makuta.