Despite previous reports that the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN sequels would be the last amusement park ride turned feature film, The Walt Disney Co. has announced that it plans to turn the Jungle Cruise ride into an adventure flick, reported HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. "It's completely inspired by and relates to the ride and will contain elements of the ride in the story," producer David Hoberman said.
Dimension Films have signed on to distribute in the U.S. Gaga Communications and Crystal Sky Group's film adaptation of Namco's popular videogame franchise TEKKEN, reports VARIETY. In addition, Charles Stone (DRUMLINE) has signed on to direct. The film will have a budget around $60 million. Overseeing the production for Dimension are co-presidents Andrew Rona and Brad Weston, as well as Bob Weinstein.
Warner Bros. Pictures has signed Swedish directors Simon Sandquist and Joel Bergvall for the film adaptation of DC Comics' BOOKS OF MAGIC, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. First published as a mini-series in 1990, the comic follows a teenager who studies magic in contemporary London. Neil Gaiman, the author of the original story and the novel, will serve as exec producer.
Revolution Studios has greenlit HELLBOY II, with original film's writer and director Guillermo del Toro and producers Lawrence Gordon, Mike Richardson of Dark Horse Ent. and Lloyd Levin all returning. HELLBOY creator Mike Mignola is developing the new story with del Toro.
"HELLBOY was a tremendously successful and unique project," said Revolution Studios partner Todd Garner. "It was Guillermo's vision that brought the film to the marketplace, and we are delighted to be working with him again."
IMAX Corp. and Warner Bros. Pictures have struck a deal where the CGI feature, THE POLAR EXPRESS will screen in IMAX 3D format day-and-date with the release of the film in conventional theaters, Nov. 19, 2004. The film will be digitally converted into IMAX 3D using both the proprietary IMAX 3D conversion process and IMAX DMR(R) (Digitally Re-mastering) technology.
Due to fan demand, DreamWorks has moved up SHREK 2 opening date from May 21 to May 19, 2004. Tickets for the blockbuster sequel will be available for advance sale on the Internet, beginning on May 7, 2004.
Continuing a collaboration that has lasted eight years, director Joss Whedon and Zoic Studios' vfx supervisor Loni Peristere are reunited for the upcoming Universal feature SERENITY. The move marks the most ambitious feature to date for Los Angeles-based Zoic.
Paramount's MEAN GIRLS raked in a surprising $24.4M for the box office lead in its debut for weekend ended May 2, 2004. The teen comedy outpaced Fox's MAN ON FIRE, last week's leader powered by Denzel Washington a post 9/11 thirst for revenge, which took in $15M for a second place finish with $44.2M. Coming in third was Sony/Revolution's Jennifer Garner comedy, 13 GOING ON 30, which collected $9.8M for a cume of $35M. Debuting in fourth, fifth and sixth were Lions Gate's GODSEND, New Line's LAWS OF ATTRACTION and DreamWorks' ENVY with $6.8M, $6.7M and $6.1M, respectively.
Universal Pictures is teaming with Charlize Theron's Delilah Films to turn Brian Michael Bendis' graphic novel JINX into a live-action feature, reports VARIETY. Oscar-winning Theron is set to star as well as produce along with partner Meagan Riley-Grant and Circle of Confusion partners David Engel, Lawrence Mattis and Jason Lust. The crime noir story follows a bounty hunter who teams with an accused murdered to locate millions in missing mob money. Bendis' other graphic novel titles include ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, DAREDEVIL, ULTIMATE X-MEN and POWERS, which is in development at Sony.
Chris Landreth's new 3D-animated short film, RYAN, will have three premieres this summer, screening at festivals in France, Canada and the U.S. The 14-minute film will have its world premiere at Cannes 43rd International Critic's Week (May 13-21, 2004). The Canadian premiere will take place at the World-wide Short Film Festival in Toronto (May 11-16). It will also screen in competition at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival (June 7-12) in France. The U.S. premiere will be at the SIGGRAPH 2004 Computer Animation Festival in Los Angeles (August 8-12).
Edward Noeltner, svp, international distribution and head of sales at Miramax Films, has opened Cinema Management Group LLC (CMG), a new international motion picture licensing, distribution, marketing and sales firm, which will be taking the indie 3D feature HOODWINKED: THE TRUE STORY OF RED RIDING HOOD to the Cannes Film Market. From writer/director Cory Edwards and his writer/co-directors Todd Edwards and Tony Leech, the animated comedy is in post-production with an August 2004 completion date. Maurice Kanbar, Sue Bea Montgomery, Preston Stutzman and David Lovegren produced this Kanbar Ent.
The Denzel Washington revenge thriller, MAN ON FIRE, outpaced the Jennifer Garner comedy, 13 GOING ON 30, at the box office for the weekend ended April 25, 2004. The Fox film grabbed $22.7M compared to Universals $21M in their debuts. Meanwhile, Miramaxs KILL BILL VOL. 2 (with vfx by K.N.B. EFX Group) slipped nearly 59% in its second week to $10.4M and a cume of $42.9M. Lions Gates THE PUNISHER (with vfx by Fantasy II Film Effects) dipped nearly 55% in its sophomore outing to finish fourth with a total of $24.1M.
After KING KONG, Peter Jackson and partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens are eyeing Alice Sebold's bestselling novel, THE LOVELY BONES, reports VARIETY. Closer in tone to Jackson's HEAVENLY CREATURES than LORD OF THE RINGS, BONES tells the story of a deceased 14-year-old girl who looks down from heaven to watch her grieving family and find the person who raped and murdered her.
Independent producer Steve Bing of Shangri-La Ent. has forked over $80 million to co-finance Warner Bros. feature, POLAR EXPRESS, reports VARIETY. Bing will not take a personal producing credit on the film, but the credits will read: "a Castle Rock presentation of a Shangri-La production." Unlike gap financing that must be repaid to an investor, Bing is taking the same financial risk as Warner, who will retain distribution rights worldwide.
Warner Bros. and Scholastic are taking their animated CLIFFORDS REALLY BIG MOVIE on a bigger walk to more theaters on April 23, 3004, rolling out the theatrical to 471 houses across the U.S., following the test openings in several markets in February 2004.
David Hayter (X-MEN, X2: X-MEN UNITED) has been hired to rewrite IRON MAN for New Line Cinema, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (TV's SMALLVILLE) wrote the previous draft. The Marvel comic told the story of billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, who creates an armored suit allowing him to fly and shoot repulsor rays. The comic began in the 1960s and brought Iron Man up against the Viet Cong, however the film will take place in a modern setting.
Caught in the tight web of SPIDER-MAN 2, which has been pushed up to June 30, 2004, Paramount Pictures has decided to postpone the release of SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW from June 25 to Sept. 17, which gives the experimental CG adventure more time to find its audience, according to the studio.
Newmarket Films has announced that it will be releasing in theaters a new director's cut of sci-fi cult favorite DONNIE DARKO, reports VARIETY. The new version will include 21 minutes of footage not in the original release and beefed up visual effects. The new cut will debut May 29 at the Seattle Film Festival then roll out in theaters slowly starting in July. The original theatrical release in 2001 only grossed $517,375, but the film has found a cult following on DVD, grossing $10 million.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM) and The Jim Henson Co. have signed a two-year first-look deal to produce live-action feature films. The Henson-MGM deal came together after a successful relationship working together on the hit family comedy GOOD BOY!, a live-action film produced by Jim Henson Pictures, which one of the most profitable releases for MGM in 2003.
After a long series of cast announcements featuring an all-star group of actors in the CGI indie fantasy DELGO, the title role has finally been announced with Freddie Prinze, Jr. as the voice of Delgo.
Section 8 and A Thousand Words have hired Bob Sabiston as the animation director on Richard Linklater's adaptation of Philip K. Dick's sci-fi novel A SCANNER DARKLY. Sabiston also served as the animation director on Linklater's WAKING LIFE. The animator has directed such shorts as SNACK AND DRINK and ROADHEAD.
Audiences will pay to see an ass-kicking woman seek vengeance as evidenced by the $25.1M opening box office turned in by Miramaxs KILL BILL VOL. 2 to take the number one spot and best the October 2003 $22.1M opening of KILL BILL, VOL. 1. BILL 2, with vfx by K.NM.B. EFX Group, easily knocked out the competition from Marvel Studios and Lions Gates THE PUNISHER, which debuted in second place with $13.8M.