Miramaxs HERO, the dazzling Jet Li actioner, brought in a record-breaking $18M in its debut for the weekend ended Aug. 29, 2004, beating out BRING IT ON for the best end of August opening ever. And, at 2,031 theaters, it surpassed CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON to become the widest Asian release of all time.
IMAX is seeing increased success with its digitally remastering technology IMAX DMR on the release of SPIDER-MAN 2: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE as well as a growing presence in China.
Famed director Terry Gilliam seems to not be able to get a flick in theaters these days. With his production of DON QUIXOTE being shut down midway, the BRAZIL helmer moved onto film THE BROTHERS GRIMM, which was originally set to reach theaters fall 2004 then it was moved to February 2005 and now Dimension Films has bumped the fantastic account of the fairy tale writers, The Brothers Grimm, to Nov. 23, 2005.
Ten-year-old acting phenom Dakota Fanning is in negotiations with DreamWorks to headline a series of films based on Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND and THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The screenplays have been adapted by Les Bohem, who created the Sci Fi Channels epic mini-series TAKEN, which starred Fanning. The effects heavy films will stick very close to the source material. Industry Ent. will produce the film with Mark Sourian and Keith Addis sheparding the project for DreamWorks.
Wellington-based Silverscreen Prods. and visual effects company Oktobor are forming a company with Taiwan-based Equinox Film to produce a $40 million epic fantasy based on a popular Asian legend, titled LADY WHITE SNAKE, reports THE DOMINION POST. The film will be in English and is set for release in 2008 before the Beijing Olympics.
Paramount and Marvel Studios have hired David Self (ROAD TO PERDITION) to rewrite the screen adaptation of Marvel Comics DEATHLOK, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner (ELEKTRA) wrote the first draft. The story follows everyman who becomes a test subject for a technology research lab that transforms him into a living computer. Marvel Studios' Avi Arad and Crystal Sky Prods. Steven Paul are producing. No director has been seen. DIE ANOTHER DAY helmer Lee Tamahori had long been attached to direct, but has since stepped down.
Paramount Pictures has announced that Emmy Award-winning actor Danny Glover (LETHAL WEAPON), Sam Elliott (HULK) and Wanda Sykes (TVs CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM) have joined the voice cast of the CG feature, THE BARNYARD. The three new cast members will be joining Kevin James (TVs THE KING OF QUEENS) and Courteney Cox (TVs FRIENDS). The film is written, produced and directed by Steve Oedekerk (BRUCE ALMIGHTY, ACE VENTURA).
Writer/director Kerry Conran (SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, opening Sept. 17, 2004), confirmed with VFXWORLD that he has committed to directing Paramount's A PRINCESS OF MARS as his sophomore project. The sci-fi action epic, scheduled for release in 2006, is based on the first book in Edgar Rice Burroughs' 11-volume series, JOHN CARTER OF MARS, which concerns an American Civil War hero that finds himself transported to Mars.
GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE director Sam Weisman has been tapped to direct WIDOW'S BROOM for Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The film is based on a book by JUMANJI and POLAR EXPRESS scribe Chris Van Allsburg, who will be adapting his book for the screen. Van Allsburg's production firm Golden Mean will produce the film along with Radar Pictures. Golden Mean partner Bill Teitler will serve as producer. Karen Rosenfelt and Julia Pistor will shepard the project for Paramount and Nickelodeon respectively. The film will go into production early 2005.
Sony Pictures Animation has hired BARBERSHOP scribe Don D. Scott to pen the CGI outer space CG musical, BIG NASTY, reports VARIETY. Scott will also produce the picture through his the Bridge production house along with Sean Bailey of Live Planet. Penney Finkelman Cox and Nate Hopper will oversee the film for Sony.
Odd Lot Ent. and Batfilm have acquired the feature film rights to comic legend Will Eisner's THE SPIRIT. Odd Lot's Gigi Pritzker and Deborah Del Prete (THE WEDDING PLANNER) and Batfilm's Michael Uslan (BATMAN BEGINS, CATWOMAN, CONSTANTINE) will produce the film. Benjamin Melniker and Steve Maier are attached as exec producer with F.J. DeSanto and Linda McDonough as co-producers.
Rumors on the Internet have been buzzing of late that graphic puppet sex will land SOUTH PARKs Trey Parker and Matt Stones new marionette film, TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE, an NC-17 rating from the MPAA. However, the demented duo are contractually obligated to give distributor Paramount Pictures a cut that squeaks out an R-rating, reports VARIETY. Parker and Stone are not new to debating issues with the MPAA. SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER, UNCUT also received an NC-17 at first.
Valhalla Motion Pictures and MTV Films have announced the supporting cast for their live-action adaptation of Peter Chungs animated cult TV series, AEON FLUX. Joining Oscar-winning actresses Charlize Theron (MONSTER) and Frances McDormand (FARGO) will be Marton Csokas (XXX), Jonny Lee Miller (HACKERS), Sophie Okonedo (DIRTY PRETTY THINGS), Amelia Warner (QUILLS) and Caroline Chikezie (U.K. TVs THE FOOTBALLERS WIVES. The flick is scheduled for theatrical release in 2005. Paramount Pictures and Lakeshore Ent. will distribute.
Sony Pictures Animation has put its second CG-animated feature into production, SURFS UP, a documentary-style look at penguin surfing, co-directed by Ash Brannon (TOY STORY 2) and Chris Buck (TARZAN), slated for a 2007 release.
Unlike the buddy comedy, OPEN SEASON, directed by Jill Culton, which will have a very graphic and squash-and-stretch design, SURFS UP will contain a much more natural approach.
Disney Pictures has released the date for Andrew Adamson's THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, reports the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. Fans will be able to catch the film Dec. 9, 2005. In addition, Sony Picture Imageworks has been hired to do 400 effects shoots for the film, whose main f/x house is Rhythm & Hues. New Zealand's Weta Workshop will create the makeup prosthetics for all of the creatures.
Ian McKellen has signed on to voice for the magical character Zebedee in Pathe's feature version of THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT, reports VARIETY. The cast already includes Robbie Williams, Jim Broadbent, Ray Winstone, Kylie Minogue and Bill Nighy. The CG flick is set for a U.K. release in February 2005. The original TV series was created in the late 1960s by Serge Danot, and was later adapted into English by Eric Thompson.
SPY-HUNTER producers Adrian Askarieh and Chuck Gordon have obtained the feature rights to Midway's PSI-OPS videogame, reports VARIETY. The producers hope to secure a director and pitch the project to various studios by the beginning of September. The story follows a psionic agent who has had his memory erased that must infiltrate a band of rogue agents who were in training with him.
Paramount Pictures and Cruise/Wagner Productions have made it official J.J. Abrams will make his theatrical directing debut onMISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3. Originally set to hit theaters next summer, the film will now start shooting in the summer of 2005. Abrams is best known as the creator and director of such hit series as FELICITY, ALIAS and his new series LOST. Previously, NARC director Joe Carnahan had long been attached to direct the film, but had "creative differences" with the studio, leading to his stepping down from the film earlier this year.
Omation Studios, a division of O Ent., has installed 100 seats of SOFTIMAGE|XSI software to serve as the primary 3D production environment for its upcoming animated feature film, THE BARNYARD, written, directed and coproduced by Steve Oedekerk, Omation Studios and O Ent. The film, which offers a glimpse into the hidden world of what barn animals do when humans aren't looking, is currently in production with an extensive team of CG artists, animators, compositors and modelers using SOFTIMAGE|XSI software to bring an entire cast of singing and dancing characters to life.
It looks like the heavy vfx duties on the new WAR OF THE WORLDS feature from Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks will be done by vfx supervisor Dennis Muren and Industrial Light & Magic, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Steven Spielberg is directing the remake of H.G. Wells novel with Tom Cruise set to star in the pic stet to shoot in November 2004.