This past week, the international box office got a bit frightful with SCARY MOVIE, WHAT LIES BENEATH and HOLLOW MAN taking top spots around the globe. In Mexico, SCARY MOVIE debuted in first place with a gross of $2.33 million. In second, WHAT LIES scared audiences to the tune of $917,416, lifting its Mexican cume to $6.23 million. U-571 thrilled audiences in third, with a gross of $648,055, raising its Mexican cume to $1.6 million. In sixth, HOLLOW MAN made $406,055 disappear from Mexican moviegoers' pockets, advancing its cume to $5.14 million.
Dimension Films has just signed on to foot part of the US$75 million bill for the film version of Marvel Comics GHOST RIDER. Dimension joins Castle Sky Productions as the production companies on the flick. Crystal Sky Entertainment CEO Steven Paul, Marvel Studios head Avi Arad and actor Jon Voight are producing the flick with Dimension handling Stateside distribution. David Goyer will write and Stephan Norrington will direct the live-action adaptation. The team last collaborated on BLADE.
After making its initial nod last weekend in second place, the bewitching comedy BEDAZZLED fell to fourth place at the U.S. box office. Coming in behind MEET THE PARENTS, the debut of BLAIR WITCH 2 and REMEMBER THE TITANS, the Elizabeth Hurley devil dance, with primary visual effects by Rhythm & Hues, grossed US$7.83 million, down 41% from its debut, thereby lifting its 10-day cume to $24.15 million. The only other F/X flick in the top ten was the premiere of THE LITTLE VAMPIRE, which flew in at #6.
With HOLLOW MAN claiming strong debuts in Germany and Italy, WHAT LIES BENEATH and X-MEN hold on tight to other tops spots around the world. In first place, HOLLOW MAN scored big in its German premiere with a gross of US$3.78 million. SCARY MOVIE came in right behind with a gross of $3.47 million, raising its German cume to $8.84 million. WHAT LIES BENEATH sunk to third with a gross of $1.37 million, lifting its German cume to $7.11 million. In seventh, FINAL DESTINATION piled up $487,846, bringing its German cume to $6.66 million.
Director Richard Bazley is finishing up on a 7-minute theatrical short entitled THE JOURNAL OF EDWIN CARP, which was animated using Macromedia's Flash. Produced by Ray Bengston, the film is based on the book of the same name by Richard Haydn (voice of the caterpillar in Disney's original animated ALICE IN WONDERLAND). The short features the voice talents of British actor Hugh Laurie (STUART LITTLE, live-action 101 DALMATIONS). Richard Bazley was a lead animator at Disney and later at Warner Bros. on THE IRON GIANT.
With the Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller comedy, MEET THE PARENTS, taking the top stop for the third straight week, the new devilish comedy, BEDAZZLED, debuted in #2. The sell-your-soul side-splitter, with primary visual effects by Rhythm & Hues, seduced US$13.11 million out of U.S. moviegoers' pockets. Losing 59% at the ticket window, New Line's LOST SOULS scored only $3.24 million in seventh. The evil enchanter, with primary visual effects by Cinesite and yU + Co, has scared up $12.88 million in total in 10 days. Coming in 8th, the reissue of THE EXORCIST spun another $2.91 million.
Slipping from second to fourth, THE EXORCIST still scared up more money than the debut of DIGIMON: THE MOVIE. The horror classic, with digital clean-up by Pacific Title Digital, possessed another US$4.44 million, levitating its reissue cume to $23.94 million. 20th Century Foxs DIGIMON: THE MOVIEs premiere placed an unimpressive fifth, grossing $4.23 million. With a gross of $3.72 million, ALMOST FAMOUS fell three slots to finish sixth. The 1970s coming-of-age tale, with primary visual effects by Manex and Pacific Title Digital, has pushed its cume over the $23.26 million mark.
Mindfire Entertainment and Sega are set to transform the top-selling video game and arcade series THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD into a feature length film. THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD feature will follow the game's plot, where genetic research leads to the creation of zombies, which threaten Earth's future. The movie is being penned by Dave Parker and Mark Altman and will be produced by Mindfire Millennium, a division of Mindfire Entertainment set-up to turn games and comics into features and TV series.
With WHAT LIES BENEATH slowly sinking, THE X-MEN have claimed debut victories around the globe. In Spain, the mighty mutants premiered in first with a gross of US$2.02 million. In its second week in Spain, THE CELL fell to third, grossing $997,797 thus elevating its cume to $2.02 million. Dropping 46%, HOLLOW MAN placed sixth with a gross of $381,275, lifting its Spanish cume to $8.86 million. In eighth, NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS fell a humongous 52%, grossing $315,201 and raising its Spanish cume to $1.65 million.
In February, Warner Bros. will start shooting their live-action adaptation of SCOOBY-DOO. Raja Gosnell, director of HOME ALONE 3 and the Drew Barrymore comedy NEVER BEEN KISSED, will direct the film from a script by James Gunn, with Chuck Roven producing. The picture will shoot in Australia and no cast has been announced. The story will feature the gang of Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby, but no specific plot summary has been release.
Director of the original TRON, Steven Lisberger, has said that he is in the early stages of developing TRON 2.0 for Disney. Apparently, two scripts have been written for the sequel one by Lisberger and one by Richard Jeffries, who penned the unproduced screen adaptation of Marvel Comics, SILVER SURFER. Lisberger said, "Its been an interesting experience for me, certainly, to go back to that film after 20 years and really study it and see what it was about from this perspective. I learned a lot about my own film.
With live-action films MEET THE PARENTS and REMEMBER THE TITANS reclaiming their first and second spots respectively, the debut of New Lines LOST SOULS only managed to place third. The anti-Christ adventure, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, grossed US$7.95 million. The reissue of THE EXORCIST slipped to sixth with a gross of $5.24 million. The horror classic, with digital clean-up by Pacific Title Digital, has scared up $30.53 million thus far. When the dust cleared, ALMOST FAMOUS edged out live-action mockumentary, BEST IN SHOW, to claim ninth place, grossing $2.19 million.
With Denzel Washingtons football flick, REMEMBER THE TITANS, firmly taking the top spot, the reissue of THE EXORCIST repossessed second place. The classic horror flick, with digital clean-up by Pacific Title Digital, scared up another US$7.21 million, levitating its cume to $17.67 million. Taking third for the second straight week was ALMOST FAMOUS, with a gross of $5.57 million. The rock n roll romp, with primary visual effects by Manex and Pacific Title Digital, raised its cume to $17.83 million.
Like in the U.S., WHAT LIES BENEATH is showing its legs at the international box office, while HOLLOW MAN is fading fast. In its German debut last week, WHAT LIES captured US$3.46 million. FINAL DESTINATION crashed to second, with a gross of $2.6 million, lifting its German cume to $5.01 million. LITTLE VAMPIRE in its German premiere week brought home $969,183. In fifth, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS gobbled up another $878,918, lifting its German cume to $1.8 million. X-MEN materialized in seventh, grossing $683,497 thus raising its German cume to $11.56 million.
MORTAL KOMBAT director Paul Anderson will direct, produce and scribe the live-action feature adaptation of the popular RESIDENT EVIL video game franchise. Constantin Films AG will produce the film and handle international distribution. Anderson and his production partner Jeremy Bolts Impact Pictures will handle the North American distribution. Along with Anderson, Bolt and Constantin Films AGs CEO Bernd Eichinger will produce the picture. Filming has a start date of January in London.
Disney vice chairman Roy Disney has shut down production on the CGI feature WILD LIFE. According to the online magazine INSIDE, Disney decided to bail on the film because it had "an inappropriate adult sensibility" for a Disney animated feature, "sexual innuendo" and a "gay-friendly" tone. Reportedly the film had already eaten through US$20 million, spurring Disney chairman Michael Eisner to request reviews of every project in development.
With premieres in the U.K. and France, HOLLOW MAN emptied the pockets of moviegoers world wide in this weeks international box office. In the U.K., the updated Invisible Man tale scared up US$2.4 million at #1. SCARY MOVIE slipped from second to third, with a gross of $1.08 million, lifting its British cume to $12.5 million. In 5th place, SNATCH grabbed $735,482, raising its British cume to $16.12 million. SPACE COWBOYS floated in at #6, grossing $497,398 and bringing its British cume to $1.67 million.
HOLLOW MAN holds on as WHAT LIES BENEATH makes top notched debuts in France and Brazil. The Harrison Ford starrer scared up US$3.26 million in its French premiere. SPACE COWBOYS fell to second with a gross of $1.51 million, escalating its French cume to $3.56 million. Falling from second to finish in fourth, GONE IN 60 SECONDS raced in with $1.28 million, advancing its French cume to $13.31 million. Slipping one to sixth, U-571 surfaced another $706,419, lifting its French cume to $1.83 million.
URBAN LEGEND II: FINAL CUT just edged out the impressive release of the directors cut of THE EXORCIST to claim the top spot at the U.S. box office. The teen terror sequel, with primary visual effects by Pacific Title Digital, scared up US$8.51 million. The horror classic, THE EXORCIST, with some creepy new stop-motion animation and digital clean-up by Pacific Title Digital, made an amazing $8.18 million on only 664 screens. Adding 1,062 screens to last weeks 131, ALMOST FAMOUS jumped up to third with a gross of $6.93 million.
A British spec script about two rival gangs of gnome neighbours has been put on the fast track in Hollywood. The trade paper SCREEN INTERNATIONAL reports A GNOME'S STORY, written by Rob Sprackling and John Smith, has been acquired by Walt Disney Feature Animation and Rocket Pictures, the production outfit owned by pop star Elton John and David Furnish. The big-budget project "may use TOY STORY-esque digital effects." Disney has a first-look pact with Rocket, and is funding development on GNOME'S STORY.
PI director Darren Aronofsky is set to helm the newest in Warner Bros. BATMAN franchise, BATMAN: YEAR ONE. Aronofsky will write and develop the screenplay with Frank Miller, writer of the graphic novel BATMAN: YO from which the film will be based. The noir-styled graphic novel was originally published by DC Comics in 1987 and chronicles the trials and tribulations of Bruce Waynes first year as Batman. Aronofsky as director is an interesting direction for Warner to take with the BATMAN movie franchise.
With newcomers like thriller THE WATCHER and black comedy NURSE BETTY finishing #1 and #2 respectively, THE CELL slipped to fourth at the U.S. box office. Finishing right after the former two-week champion BRING IT ON, THE CELL, with primary visual effects by Toybox, grossed another US$3.65 million, raising the films cume to $51.34 million. Finally fading at #5, SPACE COWBOYS made 51% less than last weekend with a gross of $3.34 million. The senior citizen space saga, with primary visual effects by ILM, has floated $78.83 million thus far.
This past weekend the international box office saw the Miramax record breaker, SCARY MOVIE, hold strong in the U.K. and Australia, while HOLLOW MAN and GONE IN 60 SECONDS premieres topped charts around the globe. In the U.K., SCARY scored another US$2.04 million, lifting its British cume to $7.6 million. Holding on in second, SNATCH by Guy Ritchie summoned $1.54 million, raising its homeland cume to $11.96 million. Another shoot 'em up flick took third - SHAFT's debut drew $1.22 million in the U.K. THE CELL made a less than flashy premiere in fifth, with a gross of $776,039.
With early reports having WHAT LIES BENEATH in fifth, once the dust cleared, SPACE COWBOYS showed its legs with a top F/X flick finish at the U.S. box office. With live-action films ruling the top four, COWBOYS, with primary visual effects by ILM, held its ground at #5 with a gross of US$2.52 million, lifting its cume to $82.2 million. The space spaghetti western has remained in the top ten while the #1 film HOLLOW MAN -- of COWBOYS debut weekend has disappeared quickly. THE CELL finished in sixth despite earlier reports placing it a slot lower.
Los Angeles-based Look! Effects recently finished 30 visual effects shots for the upcoming Universal Pictures release THE PAVILION OF WOMEN. Based on the novel by Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck, the movie is about a frustrated woman in a traditional Chinese marriage and the American missionary who tries to help her achieve personal liberation. The drama stars Willem Dafoe and Chinese actress Luo Yan, who is also the writer, producer and director of the picture. Look! Effects had to create a sequence depicting Japan's invasion of China in the early days of World War II.