Jan De Bont has signed on to direct the big screen adaptation of Steve Altens shark thriller MEG, reports VARIETY. HELLBOY producers Guillermo del Toro, Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin will produce along with CHUD.com creator Nick Nunziata and Ken Atchity. The story follows explorer Jonas Taylor who has a terrifying encounter with a 20-pound Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark.
20th Century Fox has tapped TROY screenwriter David Benioff to write the X-MEN spinoff, WOLVERINE, reports VARIETY. Fox hopes to have Hugh Jackman reprise his role as the superhero. The assignment will net Benioff seven figures. The writer pitch the idea to 20th Century Fox president Hutch Parker and svp Alex Young, who'll oversee the project.
Dimension Films has acquired the remake rights to the Korean horror film RYEONG (THE GHOST) from Showbox, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Vertigo Ent.'s Roy Lee, Doug Davison and Sonny Mallhi will produce. The original Tae-Kyeong Kim-directed film followed the mystery of amnesic teenage girl who discovers that she is somehow connected to a murderous ghost who is killing people one by one. Dimension co-presidents Andrew Rona and Brad Weston, and Dan Levine, svp production and development, will oversee the project. Vertigo Ent.
DreamWorks got the big opening it was seeking from the 3D-animated SHARK TALE, considering the timing of its IPO to spin off the animation division, but the actual gross of $47.6M was $2M less than the early estimate.
Still, while not quite the best October opening ever, SHARK TALE delivered the goods and won the box office derby for the weekend ended Oct. 3, 2004, far surpassing the other notable debut, Buena Vistas LADDER 49, which came in second with $22M.
Tim Robbins, Miranda Otto and Dakota Fanning are all in talks to co-star along with Tom Cruise in Steven Spielbergs big budget rendition of H.G. Wells WAR OF THE WORLD, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Robbins would play astronomer Ogilvy while Otto and Fanning would plays Cruises wife and daughter respectively. The film will be a super fast production due to Paramounts desire to have this film be its tentpole for next summer after MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 was pushed back a year.
Fox 2000 has hired John Woo to direct HE-MAN, a live-action flick based on Mattel's MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE toy line, reports VARIETY. Adam Rifkin will write the screenplay. Woo will also produce the film with Terence Chang through their Lion Rock Prods. Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler and director of production Rodney Farrell will Shepard the project. The original story follows half Earthling/half Eternian Prince Adam, who receives the superpowers of Castle Grayskull when he turns 18 in an effort to defend his home world from the evil plans of Skeletor.
Sony Pictures Animation has added LION KING director Roger Allers as a director on its first 3D feature, OPEN SEASON. Additionally, the studio has hired Steve Bencich and Ron J. Friedman (CHICKEN LITTLE) to draft a script. Allers will be joining Jill Culton in the directors chair as well as Anthony Stacchi who will serve as co-director.
20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios have hired Simon Kinberg to write the script for X3, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The deal will earn the writer a high-six-against-seven-figure sum. Kinberg isnt new to comic book inspired features having done rewrites on ELEKTRA and FANTASTIC FOUR. Details of the plot have not been announced.
As the sole visual effects facility on Working Title Films WIMBLEDON, Moving Picture Co. (MPC) completed 230 vfx shots with a high level of involvement throughout the entire production. The feature was digitally graded in the MPC Digital Lab under the guidance of Martin Kenzie. Australian Wimbledon champion Pat Cash served as tennis advisor on the film, which was granted unprecedented access to 2004s Championships by The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTCC).
Production on the live-action rendition of AEON FLUX will restart on Oct. 4, 2004, reports VARIETY. Due to a back injury suffered by star Charlize Theron, Paramount and MTV had to put the film on hiatus Aug. 31. Karyn Kusama- directed film has Theron performing the action intensive role of an assassin 1,000 years in the future. Valhalla Prods. and Lakeshore Ent. are also producing. Producers are Valhalla head Gale Anne Hurd, MTV Films president David Gale and Greg Goodman. VP Pamela Abdy is sheparding for Paramount.
TOKYOPOP Inc. has inked actress Melissa Joan Hart (SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH) and screenwriter Dan Gordon (WYATT EARP, THE HURRICANE) for a live-action feature film development project inspired by SAMURAI GIRL: REAL BOUT HIGH SCHOOL (SG: RBHS), one of its top manga and anime properties.
In creating the main title sequence for the new Buena Vista Pictures release THE LAST SHOT, yU + co found inspiration in an unlikely place: amid the clutter of a movie theater floor. The design studio designed and produced a magical opener for the film that takes the audience on a looping journey along theater aisles and over seats to discover the names of the films cast and crew written on candy wrappers, woven into upholstery and tattooed to the legs of a patron. The result is a visual tour de force and the perfect set up for the offbeat crime caper that follows.
Sony/Revolutions THE FORGOTTEN thriller grabbed the box office crown for the weekend ended Sept. 26, 2004, taking in $21M in its debut.
Framestore CFC provided a total of 20 vfx shots along with digital mastergrade for the new British thriller, LAYER CAKE, which opens Oct. 1 in the U.K. It stars Daniel Craig, Kenneth Cranham, Michael Gambon, Nathalie Lunghi and Sienna Miller. Based on JJ Connelly's London crime novel, LAYER CAKE marks the directorial debut of producer Matthew Vaughn (LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING GUNS).
Cult classic animated film FANTASTIC PLANET will be getting a live-action rendition via production companies Circle Of Confusion and newly formed Five Windows Prods., reports VARIETY. The original French animated film won the Grand Prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival. The story takes place on an alien planet where giants rule, and humanoids must fight for their lives and equality.
Platinum Studios is teaming with producer Gale Anne Hurd to bring the graphic novel ATLANTIS RISING to the big screen. Platinum will also develop a massively multiplayer online game about on the property with Icarus Studios. Comic creator Scott Mitchell Rosenberg will be producing along with Hurd. Stephen Tao is the exec for Valhalla with the company's Stephen Emery serving as a co-producer. Aaron Severson and Jay Burns are co-producing for Platinum. The story chronicles the ramifications of a land bound civil war on the underwater kingdom of Atlantis.
Paramount Pictures has reached an agreement to acquire the worldwide film rights to Midway Games' FEAR & RESPECT, a videogame based in the urban environment of South Central Los Angeles. Currently being developed in collaboration with writer/director John Singleton (BOYZ N THE HOOD), the urban/action adventure game is scheduled to be available in the fourth quarter of 2005 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Christine Peters (HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS) will be collaborating with the game developer to produce the film.
TERMINATOR 4 is set to begin production in 2005, reports VARIETY. However, it is unknown whether California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will return as his most famous characters. In addition, it is unknown whether T3 stars Nick Stahl and Claire Danes would be asked to return. A script for the fourth installment has been written by RISE OF THE MACHINES scribes John Brancato and Michael Ferris. T3 director Jonathan Mostow helped develop the new idea and is top choice to direct T4.
While promoting the 10th anniversary of THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, director/writer Frank Darabont has said that he will direct screen adaptations of Stephen Kings MIST and Ray Bradburys FAHRENHEIT 451, reports SCI FI WIRE.
Vinton Studios has obtained the rights to Neil Gaiman's Hugo Award-winning children's book CORALINE and has named Henry Selick as the director, reports VARIETY. Co-producing the film with Vinton will be Bill Mechanic's Pandemonium Films. Selick will also adapt the book, which tells the tale of a young girl who views an alternate version of her life after walking through a secret door. HarperCollins published the novel in 2002.
Venice, California-based Exodus Film Group has tapped three-time Oscar-winning visual effects wizard Jim Rygiel to direct the feature film, BUNYAN AND BABE, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Based on the Paul Bunyan legend, the family film follows Paul Bunyan and a group of kids as they attempt to save Bunyans pet ox Babe from an evil circus owner. Eddie Griffin will provide the voice of Babe the Blue Ox. The script was written by Michael A. Nickles (THIS IS NOT A FILM) and Julia A. Wall. Exodus' animation team, ElectroAge, will be handling the CG work.
Paramounts groundbreaking CGI adventure, SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, managed to capture the box office for the weekend ended Sept. 19, 2004, ringing in $15.5M in its debut, but well below expectations.
Bandai Ent. has announced a limited theatrical engagement for Yoshiyuki Tominos MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM F91. The film will begin its run in theaters on Oct. 1, 2004 in New York with a screening at the Festival of Anime to follow soon after on Oct. 10.
Independence Day 2005 is shaping up at a toe-to-toe battle between Foxs tentpole FANTASTIC FOUR and Paramount and DreamWorks event movie of the decade WAR OF THE WORLDS. The Marvel Comics adaptation from 20th Century Fox was first to stake a claim on the lucrative holiday weekend by taking a release date of July 1. However, the Steven Spielberg-directed, Tom Cruise-starring alien invasion flick has now set its sights on June 29. With Spielberg stating that his H.G.