Paramount Pictures has confirmed that director Joe Carnahan has left the director's chair for its MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3, reports VARIETY. The reason given was the Hollywood cliché of creative differences. However, Paramount is still determined to starting filming next month at Berlin's Babelsberg Studios.
There is a Superman! Warner Bros. has announced that its next film in the SUPERMAN franchise will be directed by X-MEN helmer Bryan Singer, reports VARIETY. Previously rumored directors include BATMAN's Tim Burton, RUSH HOUR's Brett Ratner, CHARLIE'S ANGELS' McG and BAD BOYS' Michael Bay. In addition, Bryan Singer will work from a new script from X2 writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris. Warner hopes to start filming by the end of the year.
Keyframe Digital Prods., a digital animation and visual effects studio based in Ontario, Canada, has completed all vfx work for the feature CRAZY CANUCKS, produced by Alberta Film Works. Keyframe was the exclusive effects house for the movie that will air on CTV this fall.
After years of trying to get the project off the ground, George Romero has found financing for the fourth installment in this DEAD franchise, which includes NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, DAWN OF THE DAY and DAY OF THE DEAD, reports VARIETY. LAND OF THE DEAD will be co-funded by Atmosphere Ent. and Paris-based Wild Bunch. The film will go before cameras in October in Winnipeg or Pittsburgh. Atmosphere chairman/ceo Mark Canton and president Bernie Goldmann will produce, along with Romero's partner Peter Grunwald of Romero Grunwald Prods. Atmosphere's Steve Barnett is exec producer.
New Line Cinema has obtained the feature film rights for the role-playing game VAMPIRE: THE REQUIEM from White Wolf Publishing, reports VARIETY. Adam Fields is set to produce the film, which the studio hopes will launch a franchise. Luke Ryan and Magnus Kim will shepherd the film for the studio.
The game's world follows the night-to-night life of modern vampires. The game will be published Aug. 30 and is a follow-up to 1991's VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE, which was turned into an Activision videogame and the 1996 FOX TV series KINDRED: THE EMBRACED.
Warner Bros. Pictures is developing a cinematic rendition of the Old English, 8th Century poem, BEOWULF, reports VARIETY. Matthew Sand will write the film, which will be produced by Ed McDonnell's Maple Shade Films. Maple Shade director of development exec Dan Stone brought the script to the company. Lynn Harris and David Ortiz will oversee the film for Warner.
Stone said, "Matthew has a unique take on the source material, incorporating elements of the art and mythology of the time period."
Reese Witherspoon (SWEET HOME ALABAMA) and Kristin Chenoweth (SESAME STREET) are in negotiations to share the title role in Walt Disney Animation's RAPUNZEL UNBRAIDED, reports VARIETY. Witherspoon would provide the speaking voice for the character with Chenoweth handling the singing. The in-development CG project is being directed by Glen Keane and produced by Phil Lofaro. Sarah Parriott and Josie McGibbon wrote the screenplay, which gives a new twist on the classic fairy tale.
Svengali Visual Effects has contributed visual effects to GARDEN STATE, Zach Braffs (NBCs SCRUBS) directorial debut that premiered to critical acclaim at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Scheduled for release on July 30, 2004 by Fox Searchlight, GARDEN STATE is a dark, romantic comedy set in New Jersey.
Sony's SPIDER-MAN 2 spun its way to the top of the box office weekend, ended July 12, 2004, catching another $46M in its web with a cume of $257M. The sequel (with vfx from Sony Pictures Imageworks and Radium Inc.) streaked past the $200M milestone in a record eight days, the $250M mark in a record 12 days and is fast approaching the $300M benchmark.
Fox has signed three of four members of the superhero team that will headline the studio's FANTASTIC FOUR feature, reports VARIETY. Taking the lead of Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic will be Iaon Gruffudd, who played Lancelot in KING ARTHUR. THE SHIELD star Michael Chiklis will play Ben Grimm/the Thing and Chris Evans (NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE) is set to play Johnny Storm/the Human Torch.
Malaysian animation and post-production company, Side FX Sdn Bhd (Side FX), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Jeddah Saudi Arabia-based animation and production house, Ella Animation (Ella), to produce an animated feature, reports THE UTUSAN EXPRESS. The film is expected to be released in August 2005 in South East Asia and the Middle East. The story will focus on Malaysian history and the influence of Islam during the reigns of the first Moslem ruler of Malacca, Iskandar Shah.
Buena Vista Intl. Japan will invest in the CGI feature, BRAVE STORY, produced by Fuji Television and Gonzo Digimation, it was reported by VARIETY and confirmed by the Walt Disney Co. This marks BVIJs first foray into local production and distribution, planning to distribute it locally in summer 2006.
BRAVE STORY, based on the best-selling novel by Miyuki Miyabe, features a 10-year-old who enters a magical world to find a cure for his mother's illness.
To be directed by Koichi Chigira, production will cost an estimated one billion yen ($9 million).
Sony's SPIDER-MAN 2 web blasted its way to two more records over the Fourth of July weekend ended July 5, 2004: the best Independence holiday grosser yet with $115.8M and the fastest six-day opener in history, with a cume of $180M.
Rushes has recently completed the opening title sequence for Touchstone Pictures' KING ARTHUR (opening July 7). Loosely based on the true story that inspired the legend of King Arthur, the film focuses on the history, politics and warfare at the time of the Roman Empire's collapse in 476 AD. The title sequence sets the background from where the films narrative begins. Rushes composited sequences reflecting the passage of the Roman conquest from Samaria in Palestine, throughout Europe and reaching Britannia.
Originally planned to kick off the summer 2005 season, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 will now open in theaters on June 29, 2005. Paramount Pictures' move is likely in response to SPIDER-MAN 2's huge box office receipts leading up to the Independence Day holiday in the States. The Tom Cruise starrer will now go head to head with 20th Century Fox's THE FANTASTIC FOUR, which is set to open July 1. Whether Fox will move F4 is yet to be seen, however Fox will be happy that it will now have May 6 all for itself for its Ridley Scott-directed Crusades epic, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
Impact Pictures has announced that its next videogame-turned-feature will be DRIVER, based on Atari's top franchise, reports VARIETY. Impact co-founders Jeremy Bolt and Paul Anderson will produce the film along with Constantin Film's Bernd Eichinger. The script was written by James DeMonaco, Todd Harthan and James Roday. Constantin's L.A. head of production Robert Kulzer will exec produce.
Impact previously translated the RESIDENT EVIL videogame franchise into a film in 2002 and will be following up with the sequel RESIDENT EVIL APOCALYPSE this September.
Imax Corp. is in discussions with Sony Pictures to remaster SPIDER-MAN 2 for release in its large-format theaters, reports VARIETY. Imax is anxious to fill the empty spot in their lineup now that Warner Bros.' has pulled CATWOMAN from Imax because the visual effects won't be done in time to remaster the film for a day-and-date release July 23, 2004.
Sony's SPIDER-MAN 2 shattered the opening day record yesterday by snaring a stunning $40,442,604M in its web. That's better than SPIDER-MAN's $39.4M debut two years ago, which went on to earn $403.7M as the fifth highest grossing movie of all time. SPIDER-MAN 2 also tagged the best Wednesday opening ever, besting THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING's $34.5M.
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.
Warner Independent Pictures has completed production in Austin, Texas on the interpolated rotoscoped feature A SCANNER DARKLY, starring Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder and Rory Cochrane. Richard Linklater directed the film as well as adapted it from the novel by Philip K. Dick. The film is a Section Eight/Detour Filmproduction. The animation technology was first employed in Linklater's 2001 film WAKING LIFE.
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.
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.