David Fincher, director of PANIC ROOM and FIGHT CLUB, has signed with Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures to helm two pictures ZODIAC, starring Mark Ruffalo, and THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, reports VARIETY.
20th Century Fox has bought the rights to Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon's TOKYO GHOST STORY script for Davis Ent. to produce, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The supernatural thriller is based on the Japanese Yurei myth, where the ghost of a jilted lover who commits suicide returns to torment and ruin their former lover.
Peter Kang will oversee the film for the studio. Davis Ent.'s evp production Brian Manis brought the script to Davis president Wyck Godfrey, who took it to Kang.
Lions Gate has secured the North American rights to HIGHLANDER THE JOURNEY CONTINUES, the fifth film in franchise, reports VARIETY. Sales agent IAC Film struck this deal, along with 20 others, via its work at this years Cannes.
Creator Davis Panzer is planning three HIGHLANDER features over the next two years, starting with THE JOURNEY CONTINUES, directed by Bret Leonard and starring Adrian Paul as the immortal Scottish swordsman.
Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, John Rhys Davies, Ron Perlman, Matthew Lillard, Burt Reynolds and Kristanna Loken are set to star in director Uwe Boll's the sword-and-sorcery videogame DUNGEON SIEGE, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The $60 million adaptation starts filming July 3, 2005, in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Steven Spielbergs WAR OF THE WORLDS bowed with the seventh highest Wednesday opening ever of $21,256,483 in 3,908 theaters domestically (SPIDER-MAN 2 holds the record with $40.4M). Meanwhile, the $135M sci-fi remake grabs an estimated $13.350M overseas in 46 territories, though it has yet to open in 10 markets, including the U.K., France, Belgium and Korea.
The opening day number represents the largest in Paramount history and for star Tom Cruise.
Box office information obtained from boxofficemojo.com.
Ghost House Pictures announced that Kristen Stewart (PANIC ROOM), Dylan McDermott (TVs THE PRACTICE), Penelope Ann Miller (THE RELIC, CARLITO'S WAY) and John Corbett (MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, TVs SEX AND THE CITY) have joined the Untitled Pang Brothers Horror Project, which started shooting recently in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Twentieth Century Fox has bought the rights to the character "Emily the Strange" with the intention to the turn the property into a live-action/animation feature, reports VARIETY. Twentieth Century Fox Animation president, Chris Meledandri, struck the agreement with creator Rob Reger and his Cosmic Debris Etc. Meledandri along with vp John Cohen will shepherd the project.
yU + co charted the incredible story of the lovable VW Bugs life in the main title sequence for the new Disney film, HERBIE: FULLY LOADED. In an execution brimming with style and wit, the studios design and production team used fanciful newspaper clippings, scenes from previous Herbie films and other cleverly concocted media to retrace the anthropomorphic VWs storied rise and fall.
Friedman 3D, will be starting a new semester on July 5th, 2005. Instruction will be provided in award-winning Alias Maya from 8:00am to 3:00pm Monday through Friday. There will be an additional class offered in Adobe After Effects that runs from 3:00-6:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The cost for classes is $75 and $25 respectively, plus a $25 registration fee. Those collecting unemployment benefits from EDD may qualify for collecting those benefits while a full-time student at Friedman 3D.
Collision Ent. and Firm Films have teamed up to turn videogame MAX PAYNE into a feature film for 20th Century Fox, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Collision Scott Faye and Firm Films topper Julie Yorn are producing with Abandon Ent.s Karen Lauder serving as exec produce. Fox exec Robbie Brenner will shepherd the film for the studio.
Disney has secured domestic distribution rights to BLADE TRINITY director David Goyers next project, THE INVISIBLE, reports VARIETY. Goyer will helm the picture for Spyglass Ent., who picked up the project from DreamWorks, where Goyer became attached. Production is set to start in September in Vancouver.
Spyglass will finance the entire film and retain all the international rights. Any rights that Spyglass cannot sell will go to Disney. Spyglass bought the remake rights in 2002.
Disney Digital 3D, a brand new three-dimensional digital experience in movie theaters, will be launched with the release of the studios first 3D-animated feature, CHICKEN LITTLE, on Nov. 4.
In collaboration with Disney, Dolby Laboratories plans to install its Dolby Digital Cinema systems in approximately 100 high-profile theaters in 25 top markets that will present the 3D film with special glasses. Industrial Light & Magic, meanwhile, will render the movie in 3D with new proprietary software so it can be played on Dolby Digital Cinema servers in theaters.
Warner Bros. BATMAN BEGINS (with vfx from Double Negative, MPC, Rising Sun Pictures and BUF) continued its box office reign for the weekend ended June 26, 2005, grabbing $27.5M and a two-week cume of $122.5M. Sonys BEWITCHED (with vfx from Sony Pictures Imageworks) bowed in second place with $20.1M. However, it wasnt enough to prevent the overall domestic box office from slumping for the 18th consecutive week.
Twentieth Century Fox and Canal Plus will co-finance BABYLON A.D., a big-budget futuristic thriller to be directed and written by GOTHIKA helmer Mathieu Kassovitz, reports VARIETY.
Inspired by Maurice Dantec novel BABYLON BABIES, tale is set in the near future where genetic manipulation occurs. In the book, a mercenary charged with bringing a young woman from Russia to Canada learns that she has been infected with a synthetic virus, which could wipe out all humans on Earth.
MTV Films has acquired the film rights to VALIANT, a teen novel about fairies by THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES author Holly Black, according to the trades. Chuck Roven and Alex Gartner will produce through their Mosaic Media Group in conjunction with MTV Films. Paramount Pictures will distribute.
Published by Simon and Schuster on June 1, the book follows on a 17-year-old runaway who joins a group of squatters living in the New York subways. She soon discovers that her new friends hold the dark secret that many New Yorkers are actually a species of fairy.
Disney Consumer Products chair Andy Mooney announced that the Pixar-less TOY STORY 3 will open in the summer of 2008 at the International Licensing Show in New York City.
This comes on the heels of Disney Feature Animation announcing at Los Angeles ACM SIGGRAPH earlier in the week that it will be heavily recruiting CG talent for TOY STORY 3 at SIGGRAPH 2005.
Walt Disney Pictures and Spyglass Ent. are currently not fearing the potential for a possibly transforming the classic TV cartoon UNDERDOG into a live-action franchise, reports VARIETY. Spyglass' Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber and Jonathan Glickman are producers on the project, along with Jay Polstein (FRIDA), who initiated the deal. Spyglass optioned the rights from Classic Media three years ago with a preemptive bid of mid-six figures against north of $2 million.
BUFFY star Sarah Michelle Gellar and director Marcus Nispel (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake) have signed on for the film adaptation of American McGees videogame ALICE for Universal Pictures, reports VARIETY. Collision Ent. originally secured the rights to the game, which then when to joint venture partner Dimension after their partnership was ended. Dimension shopped the project, which landed at Universal. Electronic Arts is the publisher of the game.
IMAX saw its biggest five-day opening ever with last weekends estimated $3.16M debut of BATMAN BEGINS: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE. The opening day gross of approximately $754,000 proved to be an IMAX record as well for a Hollywood simultaneous release.
BATMAN BEGINS posted strong if not super debut numbers for Warner Bros., grabbing $48.7M for the weekend ended June 19, 2005, and $72.8M overall for its first five days. Also impressive was the record-breaking $3.1M from IMAX. Vfx from Double Negative, MPC, Rising Sun Pictures and BUF certainly contributed to the visual success of Chris Nolans back to basics approach. Meanwhile, overseas, BATMAN BEGINS took in a good if not spectacular $41.7M on 8,000 screens, and was actually outperformed by MADAGASCAR in Australia, Spain and the Netherlands.
In its largest project, London-based Double Negative has created nearly 300 vfx shots for Warner Bros. BATMAN BEGINS, opening June 15. Production vfx supervisors Janek Sirrs and Dan Glass challenged Double Negative to tackle work that would require the team to completely revamp its design facility, creating a new working pipeline and installing new infrastructure to accommodate the huge workload.
Warner Bros. has landed the film rights to turn Kathryn Lasky's children's fantasy series GUARDIANS OF GA'HOOLE into a CG feature, reports VARIETY. This will be the first project for producer Donald De Line under his new three-year first-look deal with the studio. Lasky will adapt her books as well as exec produce.
Lasky's seven-book series is set in a parallel universe where owls can perform magical transformations. The first book follows a young barn owl who joins a mysterious school for orphaned owls after being pushed out of his family's nest by his older brother.
Wolfgang Petersen's remake of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE is gaining actors quicker than the doomed shipping takes on water. Mia Maestro (TVs ALIAS), Freddy Rodriguez (TVs SIX FEET UNDER), Kevin Dillon (TVs ENTOURAGE), Jacinda Barrett (LAST KISS) and Jimmy Bennett (THE AMITYVILLE HORROR) have all joined the star-studded cast for the Warner Bros. tentpole, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
Maestro will play a stowaway. Rodriguez will play a member of the crew. Dillon plays a blowhard poker player. Barrett and Bennett will play a mother and son.
Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films have started development on NATIONAL TREASURE 2, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Jon Turteltaub will return as direct from a script by Gregory Poirier (forthcoming SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON remake). The studios are keeping the plot on the down low and as of yet none of the original cast has been resigned. Jason Reed shepherd the project for Disney with Chad Oman, Mike Stenson, Aviv and Segars are exec producing.