With Chris Sanders moving forward with his animation feature AMERICAN DOG, LILO & STITCH co-director Dean DeBlois will direct a live-action version of his own script titled THE BANSHEE, reports VARIETY. The period film set in Ireland chronicles a young boy who pretends to be a ghost who ends up meeting a real ghost. The film is being produced by Sanders and DeBlois' Stormcoast Pictures with DeBlois producing. Storyline partners Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will also produce with Storyline exec Travis Knox co-producing.
Director Tim Burton is busy indeed. Simultaneous to production commencing in London on the stop-motion CORPSE BRIDE, he has also started production in the same city on CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Based on the classic Roald Dahl novel and filmed once before in 1971 as WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, CHARLIE is a Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures production.
Johnny Depp, who plays Willy Wonka in Tim Burton's upcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl's CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, has just been tapped as one of the voice over leads in Burton's stop-motion animated feature, CORPSE BRIDE, currently in production in London for Warner Bros. Pictures. Tim Burton Animation Co. in London and Vinton Studios in Portland, Oregon, are listed as animation producers.
Michael Moore's incendiary FAHRENHEIT 9/11 ignited the box office with a record $23.9M for the weekend ended June 27, 2004, the highest opener for any doc and the first to ever hit No. 1. The Lions Gate release opened in 868 theaters for a five-day cume of more than $24M and a per-screen weekend average of $27,558.
yU + co provided motion graphics design, computer animation and visual effects services for both the marketing campaign and the main title sequence of Steven Spielberg's THE TERMINAL. The studio's design team collaborated with its recently formed visual effects department to create a CG replica of an enormous "split flap" airport flight information board that spells out the film's title and other messages.
DODGEBALL star Vince Vaughn has put Warner Bros. back in gear on a live-action version of SPEED RACER, reports VARIETY. Vaughn pitched his take on the film to producers Joel Silver and Richard and Lauren Shuler Donner, which would put the actor in the role of Racer X. The actor will serve as an exec producer on the project along with David Lane Seltzer.
Once viewed as a sequel to Columbia's JUMANJI, ZATHURA, also written by novelist Chris Van Allsburg, is now being produced as a stand alone film with Tim Robbins as star. Lensing will begin in August with ELF helmer Jon Favreau in the director's chair. David Koepp, John Kamps and Eric Fogel wrote the screenplay. Michael De Luca and Bill Teitler will produce.
The story follows two brothers whose house is transported into space and wrapped up into an intergalactic adventure Robbins will play the boys' father.
Whodoo EFX recently completed vfx for THE STEPFORD WIVES. Led by president/digital effects artist Helena Packer and exec producer Mark Ritcheson, the Whodoo EFX team collaborated closely with famed comedy director Frank Oz, Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund and Award-winning art director Terry Windell.
Warner Bros. Pictures, along with Atmosphere Ent. MM and Hollywood Gang Prods., will bring Frank Miller's graphic novel 300, which chronicles the legendary Battle of Thermopylae and the origins of democracy, to the big screen, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The trio of production houses has hired DAWN OF THE DEAD director Zach Snyder to the direct and do a rewrite with Kurt Johnstad. Michael Gordon wrote the first draft of the screenplay. Atmosphere's Mark Canton and Hollywood Gang's Gianni Nunnari will produce.
Geneon Ent. has acquired worldwide theatrical and home video rights from Micott & Basara to anime feature APPLESEED. The pact excludes Japan and South Korea. North American theatrical distribution is scheduled for late summer. The film will mark the debut of Geneon Films, which will focus on marketing and distributing Japanese and Asian live-action and animated features around the globe.
Fox's comedy DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY beat all comers in its debut to take the weekend ended June 20, 2004, racking up $30M. Steven Spielberg's gentle fable starring Tom Hanks, THE TERMINAL, debuted in second place, offering up $19M for DreamWorks.
KARLSSON ON THE ROOF director Vibeke Idsoe will start production on 37 1/2, a live-action tragic romantic comedy, in August, reports VARIETY. The long-time Norwegian animation director will make his live-action debut with this $2.2 million film. The BRIDGET JONES-like film is being produced by John M. Jacobsen's Filmkameratene with The Norwegian Film Fund covering half the production costs.
French f/x house BUF Compagnie is in final negotiations to create the futuristic cityscapes and environments for Paramount's live-action version of AEON FLUX, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The Paris-based firm would handle the previs, on-set supervision and more than a hundred CG shots. The original animated series created by Peter Chung followed a female assassin who lives in the future where disease has wiped out all humans except for one protected city.
Jeep Brand and Genesis Orlando, a digital animation production company, have entered into a licensing and marketing agreement to launch the animated film property, TUGGER, THE JEEP 4X4 WHO WANTED TO FLY. Genesis Orlando created the story, which centers on a Jeep vehicle who dreams of flying like an airplane. The film is being released in connection with the official launch of the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee in fall 2004.
Atlanta-based Fathom Studios has signed with new management/production group Key Creatives to represent the animation house's services and to sell worldwide rights to its first CGI feature, DELGO, reports VARIETY.
"The timing for an independently produced CG feature couldn't be better. The filmmakers sought and secured their own funding, created and wrote their own story, built their own studio and made the picture happen," said Key Creatives' Ken Kamins.
Director Bryan Singer's upcoming remake of MGM's 1976 science fiction drama, LOGAN'S RUN, is scheduled to start production in Vancouver in September, reports HOLLYWOOD NORTH REPORT. The production will be one of the first to shoot in the Canadian Motion Picture Park, a new 64,000-square-foot, four-stage complex in South Burnaby. Singer's production has booked studio space through September 2005. Ethan Gross and Paul Tadisco are writing the script based on William Nolan's novel. The story follows a police officer in a futuristic utopia, which kills its citizen at age 21.
Director Darren Aronofsky will start shooting his long-delayed sci-fi drama THE FOUNTAIN in Montreal, Canada, November 1, reports NEWSDAY. Hugh Jackman will star the immortality tale that takes place over three centuries. Cate Blanchett, Ellen Burstyn and Sean Gullette will also star. Aronofsky and Ari Handel penned the scripted. New Regency and Aronofsky's Protozoa Pictures are producing the film, which is set to be released by Warner Bros. in 2005 or 2006.
Spain-based Filmax Animation's long-in-the-works PK3: PINOCCHIO 3000 feature will feature a Hollywood flare with voice provide by Whoopi Goldberg, Malcolm McDowell and Howie Mandel, reports VARIETY. The futuristic spin on Carlo Collodi's classic tale is also being produced by Canada's CineGroupe, and France's Animakids.
Mandel will voice Spencer, a cyber-penguin who helps tinkering inventor Geppetto. Goldberg voices Cyberina, a big-mamma holographic fairy. McDowell will voice Scamboli, the low-life mayor of the high-tech city of Scamboville.
The Shreking of America continues, as DreamWorks SHREK 2 passed Disney/Pixars FINDING NEMO for top grossing animated feature in domestic history. The computer-animated sequel grabbed $23.3M over the weekend, reaching an astounding $353.3M in only 26 days. Last fall NEMO hit $339.7M after its triumphant summer debut. Along the way, SHREK 2 has set these additional records:
* Best Four-Day Memorial Day Weekend Gross: $95,578,365
Warner Bros. HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN faced stiff competition in its second week for the weekend ended June 13, 2004, dropping nearly 63% yet still racking up nearly $35M.
Universal has finally confirmed that Andy Serkis, the actor who brought Gollum to life in the LORD OF THE RINGS series, will indeed play the giant ape in director Peter Jackson's version of KING KONG, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. In addition, Serkis will play Lumpy the cook, a ship member on the Venture as it ventures to Skull Island.
In an effort to appeal to local audiences, DreamWorks will have the voice of underwater TV journalist Katie Current, voiced differently Down Under, reports VARIETY. In the States, the character's inspiration TODAY host Katie Couric will provide her voice; with Australian TODAY host Tracy Grimshaw, voicing the character for Aussie audiences. DreamWorks hasn't announced whether other regions of the world will feature their own journalist celebs in the role. The film opens in Australia Sept. 30, 2004 and in the U.S. on Oct. 1.
I Castelli Animati Animated Film Festival has announce its short animated film project, which brings together eight Israeli students and eight Palestinian students who will work together in Rome on the storyline and the original drawings. The film is being produced by a number of Italian animation studios with the artistic supervision of Emanuele Luzzati and Giulio Gianini.
The aim of the project is not only to make a cartoon, but also to show that a common effort can be made between young Palestinians and Israelis to collaborate constructively and peacefully.
Viggo Mortensen has been tapped to star in the New Line Cinema adaptation of graphic novel, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, reports VARIETY. David Cronenberg is set to direct from a script by Josh Olson (INFESTED). The film set to go before cameras in the fall.
Based on the Paradox Press graphic novel by John Wagner, Mortensen will play a small town diner owner who lives peacefully with his lawyer wife and children, until a random act of violence propels him to hero status in press and brings him to the unwanted attention of thugs who believe he is a former colleague on the lam.