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Category: Films

Headline News Disney Acquires Domestic Rights To Miyazaki's Spirited Away

The Walt Disney Studios has acquired all domestic theatrical, home entertainment and television rights to Hayao Miyazaki's animated blockbuster SPIRITED AWAY, Japan's all-time top grossing film with a total to date of 29.3 billion yen ($234 million). The film, which recently received the coveted Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival, is scheduled to be released theatrically in the U.S. fall 2002. Pixar's John Lasseter will serve as creative consultant for the newly dubbed version.

Headline News Box Office Still In A Panic

Despite mixed reviews, David Fincher's PANIC ROOM, with visual effects by ComputerCafe, managed to stay number one at the box office this weekend, despite a challenge from another thriller HIGH CRIMES, which came in second. PANIC ROOM took in $18.5M for a two-week total of $58.8M, while HIGH CRIMES, with visual effects by FX Concepts, debuted with $15M. ICE AGE is still going strong in its fourth week, slipping just one spot to third with $14.3M and a cume of $141.4M. Disneys family-friendly baseball flick THE ROOKIE slid into fourth place with $11.7M and $35M to date.

Headline News Miramax Acquires Rights to Pokemon

Miramax Films has acquired the worldwide theatrical, home video and television distribution rights outside of Asia to the next Pokemon sequel POKEMON 4: THE MOVIE -- CELEBI: A TIMELESS ENCOUNTER. Miramax also acquired the option to distribute the fifth picture in the series, which is currently in production at Japan's Shogakukan Productions. POKEMON 4 will be released in North American theaters in November 2002, and will then be distributed throughout the rest of the world.

Headline News Cinesite Makes Time Stand Still For Clockstoppers

In the newly-released Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies film CLOCKSTOPPERS, Zak Gibbs (Jesse Bradford) finds an odd wristwatch amidst his father's various inventions and discovers he can use it to freeze time -- with the help of the visual effects experts at Cinesite. "Clockstoppers was one of the most challenging and complicated visual effects projects I've ever worked on," said effects supervisor Mike Fink.

Headline News Robots Next For Blue Sky And Fox

With over $100M and counting after three weeks in theaters, Fox Animation and its Blue Sky Studios ICE AGE is a success and the studio has announced development on their next project, entitled ROBOTS, based on a childrens book by William Joyce. According to VARIETY, the studio has completed preliminary storyboarding and extensive visual development on the feature.

Headline News DreamWorks Sets Up For Sharkslayer

DreamWorks has officially announced the next project for Vicky Jenson, director of the Oscar-winning hit SHREK. Vicky will team with director Eric "Bibo" Bergeron (THE ROAD TO EL DORADO) to helm SHARKSLAYER, an undersea mob comedy. Will Smith (ALI) voices Oscar, a young fish that is found at the scene of the crime when the son of the "Godfather" of all sharks gets killed. Oscar takes advantage of this opportunity to play the hero, but soon finds that there are serious consequences to his posing as the great Sharkslayer. James Gandolfini, Angelina Jolie and Renee Zellweger also star.

Headline News Panic Sets In; Ice Age Solid In Second

With a weekend take of $30M, the newly-released thriller PANIC ROOM, with visual effects by ComputerCafe, took the top box office spot, but ICE AGE stayed in second place and crossed the $100M mark, making it the first 2002 release to reach that milestone. The animated buddy comedy earned $18.1M for a three-week cume of $116.8M. Disneys THE ROOKIE swung into third place with $16M, while last weeks number one film BLADE II, with visual effects by Framestore CFC, fell three spots to fourth, earning $13.2M for a total of $54.9M.

Headline News Ice Age Drifts to Second

An alien resurrection and another dose of sword-wielding vampires went up against last weekends box office behemoth ICE AGE, and the vamps of BLADE II tapped a vein with audiences to extract $33.1M for the top box office spot. ICE AGE slipped to second, but still earned $31.1M for a mammoth two-week total of $88.3M. The 20th Anniversary re-release of E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL, including updated visual effects by ILM, landed with a respectable $15M in third place, and last weeks number two film RESIDENT EVIL, with visual effects by AMX Studios Ltd.

Headline News Shrek And For The Birds Take Home Oscar Gold!

On March 24, 2002 at the brand new Kodak Theater inHollywood, California, the Academy of Motion PictureArts and Sciences announced the winners of thisyear's Oscars. For the very first time, an award wasgiven in the category Best Animated Feature, and thewinner was DreamWorks SHREK. Taking home the prizefor Best Animated Short was Pixars FOR THE BIRDS. Another animated film was represented when Randy Newman won the Oscar for Best OriginalSong for the MONSTERS, INC. theme If I Didnt HaveYou.

Headline News Threshold Taps Anime Film Ninja Scroll For New Live Action Feature

Threshold Entertainment, producers of the MORTAL KOMBAT film franchise, has acquired the rights to NINJA SCROLL from Japanese anime studio Madhouse. Threshold is currently in development on a $60 million live-action feature film based on the 1994 anime film by director Yoshiaki Kawajiri (VAMPIRE HUNTER D). The company hopes to cultivate the property into their next martial arts franchise and plans to produce a television series, live stage tours and video games based on the film.

Headline News Ice Age Lands Mammoth Box Office

ICE AGE, 20th Century Foxs first foray into CG animated features, topped the charts this weekend and had the third largest opening for an animated feature ever, behind TOY STORY 2 and MONSTERS, INC. and the largest March opening in U.S. box office history. Debuting with $47.8M, the prehistoric beasts crushed the competition, with second place RESIDENT EVIL scaring up just $18.2M. Based on the video game of the same name, RESIDENT EVIL features visual effects by AMX Studios Ltd. and MagicMove. Third place was held by the DeNiro/Murphy buddy comedy SHOWTIME with $15.4M.

Headline News Dragonball Goes Live For Fox

Twentieth Century Fox has acquired the rights to DRAGONBALL and plans to produce a live-action feature film based on the manga property. DRAGONBALL began as a graphic novel and has become a multimedia phenomenon, including home video, video games and the popular DRAGONBALL Z animated series currently airing on Cartoon Network. The various DRAGONBALL properties relate an epic story between good and evil, involving super-powerful beings from another planet, known as the Saiyans, who protect Earth from the forces of darkness.

Headline News R!OT Creates Hot Effects For Queen Of The Damned

Santa Monica-based visual effects house R!OT recently created visual effects shots for the current Warner Bros. release QUEEN OF THE DAMNED. The 114-shot workload of 3D computer graphics, digital matte paintings and 2D compositing was completed using SoftImage|XSI, Maya and Inferno as well as Armada, R!OTs artificial intelligence system (AI) for character/object animation and texture management. Originally used for the studios work on THE ONE, the application was co-developed by R!OT and SoftImage as a solution for scenes with extensive animated geometry.

Headline News Time Machine Trips To Number One

THE TIME MACHINE, the latest adaptation of H.G. Wells classic sci-fi novel about the futuristic land of the Morlochs, was number one this weekend, earning $22.6M in its debut. The film, with visual effects by Digital Domain and ILM, was directed by Simon Wells (PRINCE OF EGYPT), H.G. Wells great grandson. The Vietnam war drama WHEN WE WERE SOLDIERS, with visual effects by Digital Domain, dropped to second, bringing in $14.2M for $40.5M. Disneys RETURN TO NEVER LAND is still staying well within the top ten in its fourth week earning $4.5M for a total of $41.5M to date and sixth place.

Headline News Soldiers Opens At Number One

Two weeks ago HARTS WAR barely made a blip in the box office and quickly dropped out of the top ten, but viewers seem ready to welcome a new military drama. WHEN WE WERE SOLDIERS, with visual effects by Digital Domain, made a big debut this weekend, earning $20.2M. In second place was the teen flick 40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS with $12.5M. Last weeks number one film THE QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, with visual effects by Grey Matters FX and Manex, suffered a major drop this weekend, falling all the way to sixth place earning just $5.8M a 60% drop from last weekend.

Headline News Lord Of The Rings Wins Big At BAFTA Awards

The British equivalent of the Academy Awards, the BAFTAs, were presented on February 24, 2002 at the Odeon Leicester Square in London. THE LORD OF THE RINGS won five awards, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Visual Effects. SHREK took the prize for Best Adapted Screenplay, beating four live-action films including LORD OF THE RINGS and Golden Globe adapted screenplay winner A BEAUTIFUL MIND. SHREK is nominated for an Academy Award in this same category. The BAFTA Award for Best Short Animation went to Suzie Templeton for her film DOG.

Headline News Queen Rules The Box Office

QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, the latest screen adaptation from Anne Rices VAMPIRE CHRONICLES, took a bite out of this weekends box office debuting at number one. The thriller, with visual effects by Grey Matters FX and Manex, earned $15.1M. QUEENs sexy vampires handily beat last weeks number one film, the Denzel Washington-starrer JOHN Q, with visual effects by The Effects Group. The hostage drama came in second with $12.5M for a cume of $39.8M.

Headline News Blackjack Hits Feature Film Development

Platinum Studios and Catch 23 Entertainment will co-produce a live-action feature film based on writer Alex Simmons graphic novel series BLACKJACK. BLACKJACK debuted in 1996, and the series details the exploits of independent African-American soldier of fortune Arron Day a man called "Blackjack" as he roams the globe seeking adventure and warding off danger.

Headline News Animated Women Strike A Pose

A new photography exhibition spotlighting thirty film industry women is currently on display at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and features portraits of three noted women of animation. "Great Women of Film: Photographs by Helena Lumme and Mika Manninen" is intended be a celebration of the film industry's current female talents and includes women from a wide variety of professions and crafts in the motion picture industry.

Headline News Pixar Retrospectives In NY And LA

Cowboy Pictures is presenting a tribute to Pixar Animation Studios featuring four feature film classics from Disney/Pixar: TOY STORY, A BUGS LIFE, TOY STORY 2 and MONSTERS, INC. The retrospective will run February 23 - March 17 in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Sunset 5 and February 24 - March 10 at The Quad in New York. All screenings are free. In New York on Tuesday, February 26, director John Lasseter will host a special evening introducing the screening of MONSTERS, INC. and two of Pixars short films, LUXO JR. and 2001 Academy Award nominee FOR THE BIRDS.

Headline News See All Five Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts On The Big Screen!

Los Angeles-based short film distributor Apollo Cinema will showcase all five Oscar-nominated animated short films, along with the five live-action short film nominees. This is the second consecutive year Apollo has presented the films in association with Laemmle Theatres. Beginning in Los Angeles on February 28, 2002, the screenings will continue to run every weekend until the Academy Award winners are announced on March 24.

Headline News Peter Pan Sequel Lands In Third

The U.S. Presidents Day three-day holiday weekend has proved profitable for new releases as well as some films that have been on the charts for weeks. In third place, Disneys 2D animated PETER PAN sequel enjoyed a solid $16.1M opening. RETURN TO NEVER LAND is set during World War II and finds Peter Pan on the trail of Captain Hook after the pirate kidnaps Wendy's daughter, Jane. The family-friendly film sent Disneys other kid flick SNOW DOGS running to tenth place, where it earned just $7M for a cume of $68.4M.

Headline News Black Hawk Down Falls To Fourth

Three new films held the top spots this weekend, with Arnold Schwarzeneggers terrorist drama COLLATERAL DAMAGE leading the pack. The film, with visual effects by Digital Film Works, earned $15.1M in its first weekend out. A remake of the 1975 film ROLLERBALL managed to debut in the number three spot despite generally lackluster reviews. The futuristic actioner took in $9M. BLACK HAWK DOWN, last weeks number one film, fell to fourth. The war epic, with visual effects by The Mill and Asylum, earned $8M for a total of $86.7M to date.

Headline News AWN's Fifth Annual Oscar Showcase And Unofficial Oscar Poll!

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences has announced their nominations for the coveted Oscar award. Receiving nominations for best animated short were Ruairi Robinsons 3D meditation on suicide FIFTY PERCENT GREY, Cathal Gaffneys "animated documentary" GIVE UP YER AUL SINS, Pixars latest 3D short FOR THE BIRDS, Joe Merideths caveman comedy STUBBLE TROUBLE and Cordell Barkers tale of otherworldly love STRANGE INVADERS. These films are featured on AWN with QuickTime clips, pictures and information about the films and directors.

Headline News Oscar Nominations Announced!

The nominations for the 74th Annual Academy Awards were announced on February 12, 2002. Effects-heavy THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING topped the list with 13 nominations including Best Visual Effects alongside A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE and PEARL HARBOR. LORD also won spots in major categories like Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Joining LORD OF THE RINGS in the Adapted Screenplay category is DreamWorks' 3D blockbuster SHREK, which was also one of three nominees in the brand new Animated Feature Film category.