Roy Disney has agreed to help director Richard Williams restore his masterpiece, THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER, to the version he had originally intended to make. The heart-wrenching saga of the THIEF began after Williams success on WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? With the backing of Warner Bros., the filmmaker set out to finish his then 20 years in the making feature about a mute cobbler and an unsuccessful thief. The stipulation attached to the project was that Williams must finish the film for a 1992 release. The production fell behind schedule and Warner Bros.
Harvey Entertainment has announced their acquisition of the U.S. rights from Pearson Television International for the feature-length film A MONKEYS TALE. The film follows the story of two tribes of monkeys one tree dwelling and one ground dwelling and what happens when one curious ape falls into the other tribes world. The film recently won best animated feature at the Hollywood Film Festival and the Toronto Sun Animation Award at the Sprockets International Film Festival for Children.
In London for the sold out SIMPSONS live script reading stage show, SIMPSONS creator Matt Groening confirmed that a SIMPSONS feature is in the planning stage. Groening said, "Its a little daunting coming up with a half-hour TV episode, let alone a full-length feature. No deals have been struck, but we will do one." The television classic is now in its tenth season and is the longest running sitcom on U.S. television
In a lackluster weekend at the U.S. box office, early reports had Sonys HOLLOW MAN and Warner Bros. SPACE COWBOYS running neck-and-neck for the top spot, but in the end MAN finished first by a nose. HOLLOW, with primary visual effects by The Ranch Entertainment, Tippett Studios and Sony Imageworks, held on to first place, adding US$13.05 million to its $50.3 million cume. COWBOYS, with primary visual effects by ILM, moved up a spot to settle for second and a gross of $13.02 million, bringing its 10-day cume to $39.02 million.
After its first full week in theatres, THE PATRIOT finished at the top in Germany, Spain and Brazil. In Germany, THE PATRIOT fought out the debut of CHICKEN RUN with a gross of US$1.62 million, bringing its cume to $6.05 million. CHICKEN came in with a gross of $1.35 million. Dropping two slots to fourth, THE PERFECT STORM washed up $569,269, advancing its cume to $9.63 million. TITAN A.E. premiered in fifth with a gross of $491,902. Slipping to sixth, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 added $463,141 to its German cume of $23.08 million.
In a lackluster weekend at the U.S. box office, early reports have Sonys HOLLOW MAN and Warner Bros. SPACE COWBOYS finishing neck-and-neck for the top spot. COWBOYS, with primary visual effects by ILM, moved up from third to claim an early-tally share of #1, with a gross of $13.1 million, bringing its 10-day cume to $39.1 million. HOLLOW, with primary visual effects by The Ranch Entertainment, Tippett Studios and Sony Imageworks, held on to a piece of first place, adding 13.1 million to its $50.4 million cume.
A long list of Hollywood heavyweights has been announced as the voice cast for Disney/Pixars upcoming CGI feature MONSTERS, INC. The star-studded cast includes Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tily, Bonnie Hunt and first-timer Mary Gibbs. The film chronicles what happens when a careless monster lets a human girl into the land of spooks and scares. Goodman will voice James P. Sullivan, a large, furry and horned employee of Monsters Inc. Voicing Sullivans sassy one-eyed sidekick will be Crystal.
For the live-action feature SIMONE, writer-director Andrew Niccol (THE TRUMAN SHOW) has decided to go completely CGI for the title character in the New Line Cinema drama. According to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, the CGI actress will star opposite Al Pacino, who will play a Hollywood film producer. The story centers on the life-changing challenges of an aspiring young actress who becomes a movie star overnight. In a move that marks actors worst nightmares, Niccol decided to go with the computer-generated lead after unsuccessfully testing several young, up-and-coming actresses.
Berkeley Breathed, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and childrens author, is set to make his directorial debut with the filmed version of his newest book, EDWURD FUDWUPPER FIBBED BIG. Nickelodeon Movies and Storyopolis are set to produce the seven-minute short. The book will be released next month by Storyopolis and Little, Brown Co. Sources say the film will screen in theatres in the fall, which might signal its attachment to the release of RUGRATS IN PARIS, but no official word has been announced.
Former Disney chairman Joe Roths Revolution Studios will turn the Web series, LIL PIMP, into a Flash-animated feature. The MediaTrip.com series will be the first feature length film to be animated using Macromedias Flash software. Creators Paul Gilstrap and Mark Brooks with their team of four animators are set to scribe, produce and direct the project. Production on the flick could begin as early as three to four weeks. No monetary details have been released, however Gilstrap and Brooks look to make most of their money from backend revenues.
With several debuts around the globe, THE PATRIOT has won the war for international box office supremacy. Premiering at #1 in Germany, the Mel Gibson-starrer grossed a hefty $3.23 million. Slipping to second, THE PERFECT STORM garnered $1.29 million, raising its German cume to $8.62 million. Down one to #4, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 added another $1.01 million to its $22.42 million German cume. At #8, THE TIGGER MOVIE rounded up an additional $206,761, bringing its German cume to $3.97 million. In its 10th week in Germany, GLADIATOR grossed $119,979 in tenth, advancing its cume to $19.99 million.
With three major releases this past weekend, Sony Pictures HOLLOW MAN was far from invisible at the U.S. box office, finishing in first place. The INVISIBLE MAN redux, with primary visual effects by The Ranch Entertainment, Tippett Studios and Sony Imageworks, grossed US$26.41 million, giving it the second largest August opening in history. Falling to second, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS dropped 58% from its debut weekend, with a gross of $18.17 million. The phat festival, with primary visual effects by Double Negative Ltd., has rounded up $76.7 million thus far.
With MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 still holding on in many countries, PERFECT STORMs debut in Hong Kong and the U.K. shook up the international box office. Finishing at the top spot in the U.K., STORM grossed US$2.86 million over the weekend and $3.25 million since its Wednesday nod. Slipping to #2, STUART LITTLE grossed $2.08 million, advancing its British cume to $9.59 million. The U.K. sensation, CHICKEN RUN, amassed another $1.82 million in third, bringing its cume to $28.85 million.
In typical summer blockbuster fashion, the newly released NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS has dethroned last weeks U.S. box office champion WHAT LIES BENEATH. The KLUMPS Eddie Murphy-marathon, with primary visual effects by Double Negative Ltd., finished in first place with a gross of US$42.52 million. WHAT LIES came in at second with a gross of $22.86 million. The Harrison Ford haunter, with primary visual effects by SPI, has rounded up $69.35 million in only 10 days in release. In third, THE X-MEN grossed $12.68 million.
Disneys newest animated feature LILO AND STITCH has begun production. The long in the works project has begun initial production at Disneys Orlando animation studio. Some of the production is scheduled to be done in Hawaii where the story is based. The film tells the tale of a Hawaiian girl who adopts a dog that is really an evil space alien. Jason Scott Lee (RUDYARD KIPLING'S THE JUNGLE BOOK) has signed on to voice a muscular, tanned surfboard salesmen, while Tia Carrere (WAYNES WORLD) will voice Lilo's sister.
Lucasfilm and fledgling Japanese anime company, Anime World Osaka, have agreed to co-produce an animated feature film entitled, THE TINY FAIRY MIRUN. As reported in YOMIURI SHIMBUN, George Lucas will executive produce the project. Osaka is set to provide the US$18.5 million budget. Lucas is scheduled to go to Osaka in September after production calms down on STAR WARS EPISODE II to sign the official contract. In a flip-flop of the usual process, Anime World will create the master illustrations in Osaka and ship the drawings to Lucasfilm for in-betweens.
With more summer blockbusters arriving in international theatres, the old guard is weaning. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2, however, is still strong, finishing atop the charts in Italy, Sweden Japan and Spain. In its second week, M:I 2 grossed another US$700,928 in Italy, raising its cume to $6.82 million. GLADIATOR is losing its power, slipping a spot in Italy to finish at #4 with a gross of $103,693, bringing its Italian cume to $8.64 million. In Sweden, GLADITOR also finished in 4th place with a gross of $217,952, advancing its cume to $3.93 million.
The live-action cast for OSMOSIS JONES just keeps getting bigger. SNLs Molly Shannon and Chris Elliot have been added to the live-action cast, which includes Bill Murray. The story centers on a man (Murray) who gets sick and the white blood cell (voiced by Chris Rock) and cold pill (voiced by David Hyde Pierce) that race to battle the virus overtaking his body. The animated portion will take place in Murrays body, while the live-action takes part in the outside world. Shannon will play Murrays daughters schoolteacher and Elliot will play Murrays best friend.
Scaring the mutants out of #1, DreamWorks WHAT LIES BENEATH finished atop the U.S. box office charts. The haunted house horror flick, with primary visual effects by SPI, grossed US$29.7 million. Slipping to second, THE X-MEN, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, CORE Digital, Digital Domain, Hammerhead Productions, Kleiser-Walczak Co., Matte World and POP Film, dropped 56% from its opening weekend, but still racking up another $23.47 million.
With nods in Brazil and Hong Kong, Disneys DINOSAUR roams atop the box office charts. In Brazil, the special effects spectacle landed $2.65 million in its debut. Whereas in Hong Kong, the blue-green beasts stomped out an amazing $1.29 million on only 43 screens! The prehistoric pic adds another name to the long time three way battle between MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2, GLADIATOR and GONE IN 60 SECONDS for international box office glory. Back in Brazil, M:I 2 fell to second with a gross of $1.89 million, bringing its Brazilian cume to $5.63 million.
Making a big bang at the U.S. box office, 20th Century Foxs THE X-MEN finished at #1. The mutant mayhem, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, CORE Digital, Digital Domain, Hammerhead Productions, Kleiser-Walczak Co., Matte World and POP Film, grossed an outstanding US$54.47 million. This gross marks the second highest three-day take of the year, behind MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2, and the fourth highest three-day gross of all time. Last weeks top film, SCARY MOVIE, finished in second with a gross of $26.2 million.
Sony Pictures Imageworks' Rob Legato has been named the CGI supervisor for Warner Bros.' HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE. Legatos credits include TITANIC for Digital Domain and the upcoming WHAT LIES BENEATH for SPI. The flick, set to bow in November 2001, is being produced by David Heyman and directed by Chris Columbus. The cast includes Maggie Smith, Tim Roth and Robbie Coltrane. Based on the best-selling book by J.K. Rowling, the film version will be an effects extravaganza with flying broomsticks and an all-CGI villain Voldemort.
PRINCE OF EGYPT-director Simon Wells has signed on to helm live-action flick, THE TIME MACHINE. Brad Silbering (CITY OF ANGELS) was first rumored to direct the DreamWorks/Warner Bros. pic based on H.G. Wells novel. This project will be Wells first foray into live-action. He was in talks to helm CASPER 2, but that film fell through due to budgetary concerns. The picture seems to be going to the right person as Simon Wells is the great-grandson of H.G. Wells.
MRS. DOUBTFIRE-writer Leslie Dixon has signed a US$1.5 million deal to pen the newest DreamWorks animated feature. The working title is CHAKULAN and is based on the fact that male Bengal tigers have a biological animosity toward female tigers and their cubs. The premise came from DreamWorks execs, whom recommended Dixon because she is well known for her witty banter. No producers have been asigned to the project yet, but Lance Young, DreamWorks animation development head, is overseeing the project currently.
The live-action version of DAREDEVIL has swung from Columbia Pictures to find a new home at New Regency Pictures, however, writer-director Mark Steven Johnson is still attached to the project. Marvel Enterprises moved the project due to an Internet rights dispute with Columbia. New Regencys Arnon Milchan and Marvel Studios Avi Arad are producing the flick. 20th Century Fox will distribute the film. DAREDEVIL follows the adventures of attorney Matt Murdock, who was blinded by an accident with a radioactive transport truck.