Sonys Americanized horror remake of JU-ON, THE GRUDGE, toppled SHARK TALE from the top of the box office chart for the weekend ended Oct. 24, 2004, scaring up a whopping $39.1M. Meanwhile, the DreamWorks 3D-animated smash added another $14M for second place to run its impressive total to nearly $137M. Miramaxs SHALL WE DANCE moved up to third place with $8.5M and $24.4M so far. Universals FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS slipped to fourth with $6.9M and $47.2M.
Director Uwe Boll and producer Shawn Williamson have hired screenwriters David Schneider and Drew Daywalt (STARK RAVING MAD) to write a feature adaptation of Vivendi Universals videogame, HUNTER: THE RECKONING, reports VARIETY. The story follows a group of men and women who are given supernatural to combat monsters. Pre-production is scheduled to start in February in British Columbia. Boll is not new to bringing videogames to the screen with adaptations of HOUSE OF THE DEAD, ALONE IN THE DARK and BLOODRAYNE, which just finished production.
FIFTH ELEMENT director Luc Besson has cast Madonna as the lead in his big-budget CGI-animated ARTHUR. Bessons Europa Corp. will produce with Buf Compagnie providing the CG. Besson hopes to have the film in theaters by 2006.
PULP FICTION scribe Roger Avary is writing a bigscreen adaptation of the Konami videogame franchise SILENT HILL, reports VARIETY. Samuel Hadida (RESIDENT EVIL) is producing and financing the film through his Davis Film Prods. BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF helmer Christophe Gans will direct the film. Focus Features will handle sales oversees with Hadida's Metropolitan Film handling the French rights. North American rights are still available. The game follows the story of a mother and daughter who seek to discover the secrets of a seemingly abandoned town. A March production start is planned.
India's two commercially operated IMAX theaters reported the highest grossing screens in the country for SPIDER-MAN 2. The film was converted using IMAX DMR (Digital Re- Mastering) technology and released in India at the same time as the conventional 35mm version. In the 10 weeks since its release, nearly 130,000 people have visited the PRASADS IMAX Theatre in Hyderabad and the Adlabs IMAX Theatre in Mumbai to experience SPIDER-MAN 2 in IMAX's format.
The long search is finally over for the next Superman. Latino Review originally broke the news over the weekend and VARIETY confirmed that director Brian Singer has chosen relative unknown Brandon Routh to don the red cape. A contract has not been signed, but production hopes to start shooting in Australia in November. Routh has had roles on television series ONE LIFE TO LIVE, GILMORE GIRLS, WILL & GRACE and COLD CASE. He will make his film debut in the forthcoming thriller DEADLY.
Regency Enterprises and CritterPix Studios will develop Regency's first-ever CG animated feature film, based on the children's bestseller OLLIE THE OTTER by Kelly Alan Williamson. Regency will head creative development on the picture as well as has the option of investing in CritterPix and to co-finance the movie's production. Longtime Don Bluth producing partner Gary Goldman will direct the film. JC Davis, founder of Johnny Cat Prods., will exec produce.
UWPictures/O-Group, Ltd. and Three Kings Ent. have optioned YOUNG MERLIN, written by Robert Kahn. The coming-of-age story of Merlin, envisioned as the first chapter in a three-part franchise, is a live-action feature combined with CG. Purchase price for the film, budgeted at $25 million, was mid-six figures. The project will shoot in the U.K. at the end of the year.
Miramax has acquired the North and South American distribution rights to CG-animated feature SPRUNG! THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT from Pathe Pictures Intl., reports VARIETY. In post-production and set to be completed in January, SPRUNG is based on the U.K. puppet TV series. Pathe will release the film in France and the U.K. in February.
Independent-minded effects studio CaféFX helped design the mysterious fantasy world of Eric Small's directorial debut, THE DUST FACTORY, the indie film currently being distributed by MGM.
THE DUST FACTORY is an adventure about the love and friendship between two teenagers who help each other through a difficult time in their lives.
DreamWorks SHARK TALE not only retained its number one spot for the weekend ended Oct. 17, 2004, reeling in $22M, but also hit $118.7M as it climbed to the 10th spot on the all-time list of computer-animated features.
Julia Roberts has been hired to lead to voice cast for Warner Bros. and Playtones production of ANT BULLY, directed by JIMMY NEUTRON creator John Davis, reports VARIETY. The cast also includes Zach Tyler, Shirley MacLaine, Paul Giamatti, Alan Cumming, Cheri Oteri and Ricardo Montalban. Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman will produce along with Davis and his DNA Prods.
The animated feature THE EASTER EGG ESCAPADE will make its West Coast debut at the 8th Annual Hollywood Film Festival, on Oct. 17 at 5:00 p.m., at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood. In attendance will be Sandra Bernhard (TVs ROSEANNE), who voices one of the main characters and will help director John Michael Williams introduce the movie. Guests will be greeted by the films seven-foot mascot, Good Gracious Grasshopper. A 30-minute Q&A with Bernhard and Williams immediately follows the screening.
After last weeks announcement that San Francisco-based animation studio Wild Brain had inked a multi-year deal to make 3D-animated films with Miramax and Dimension Films, AWN got a few more details about OPUS, the proposed spin-off of the wisecracking penguin from Berkeley Breatheds Pulitzer Prize-winning BLOOM COUNTY strip.
Pixel Magic recently took on the duty of chasing bank robber supermodels through Grand Central Station and the streets of New York for Foxs TAXI, culminating in a high-speed car duel on an elevated unfinished highway by performing more than 300 visual effects. They included greenscreen composites, CG cars, CG bridges, CG matte paintings, wire removals and assorted fixes.
SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW director Kerry Conran has selected screenwriter Ehren Kruger (THE RING and THE RING 2) to rewrite A PRINCESS OF MARS, which has been retitled JOHN CARTER OF MARS, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER reports.
The Paramout Pictures production, based on the first installment in Edgar Rice Burroughs 11-book series, concerns a Civil War vet who is mysteriously transported to Mars, where he faces even more fantastic adventures. Alphavilles Jim Jacks and Sean Daniel are producing. Mark Protosevich turned in the previous draft.
DreamWorks SHARK TALE withstood Universals football pic, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS in its second outing at the box office for the weekend ended Oct. 10, 2004. The 3D-animated gangster satire dipped 34% but still managed a hefty $31.3M for a total gross of $87.3M, while second place finisher, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, caught $20.2M worth of tickets. Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Ent. made company history by crossing the $1B threshold in both North America and overseas for the third year in a row. This puts it in the company of Disney and Warner Bros. for such a feat.
Warner Bros. Pictures has joined DreamWorks on the production of Michael Bays THE ISLAND, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The two studios will share the cost of the $100 million film with DreamWorks distributing the film in the U.S. and Warner taking the film internationally. Caspian Tredwell-Owen wrote the original screenplay, with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci turning other drafts. Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and Ian Bryce are producing.
Walt Disney Co. is simultaneously working on two new TOY STORY sequels, according to Disney ceo Michael Eisner, who listed some of the studios film plans at a Goldman Sachs investment conference in Manhattan, NEW YORK NEWSDAY reports.
Eisner added that while computer-animated movies are the current rage, success would come down to storytelling and emotion, and not just technology.
Its official: the MPAA rating board has given Paramount Pictures' TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE an R rating. Previously cuts of the film were receiving the NC-17 rating. The all-marionette political and action film satire will launch in 800 theaters on Oct. 9 and widen on Oct. 15.
The film will be rated R for "graphic, crude & sexual humor, violent images & strong language; all involving puppets." Apparently, scenes of graphic puppet sex had to be cut from the film to ensure it the R, which is part of creators Trey Parker and Matt Stones deal with the studio.
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.
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.