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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films have bought Terry Rossio (SHREK, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) and Bill Marsilii's romantic thriller script DEJA VU for several million dollars, reports VARIETY. Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group president Nina Jacobson will oversee movie with evp production Jason Reed. Rossio and his writing partner Ted Elliott will exec produce with Jerry Bruckheimer Films' Mike Stenson and Chad Oman, who originally brought the script to Bruckheimer.
When talking with CATWOMAN producer Denise Di Novi, IGN Filmforce discovered that her next project will be a live-action adaptation of the classic cartoon, THE JETSONS. Di Novi said they will be working off a script by Sam Harper (CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, JUST MARRIED, ROOKIE OF THE YEAR). Adam Shankman (BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE) is set to direct the film for Warner Bros.
Vanguard Animation has secured the rights to William Steig's THE ZABAJABA JUNGLE from the author's estate, reports VARIETY. Published in 1991, the book chronicles the story of a young boy who journeys through a jungle to find his kidnapped parents.
Vanguard Animation is in production on VALIANT, with Ewan McGregor, for Disney and HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER, starring Sigourney Weaver, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar. The studio also has SPACE CHIMPS in development.
Kevin James (THE KING OF QUEENS) will voice the lead character, Otis in the upcoming Nick Movies feature, THE BARNYARD to be distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film is being written, produced and directed by Steve Oedekerk (BRUCE ALMIGHTY, ACE VENTURA). BARNYARD takes a humorous look at what really happens in a barnyard when the farmer is away, as Otis and his misfit friends enjoy playing tricks on humans, singing, dancing and partying. Paul Marshal serves as producer with exec producing by Julia Pistor and Albie Hecht.
Paramount has named 13 GOING ON 30 helmer Gary Winick as director of a live-action/CG version of E.B. White's classic all-time best selling children's tale, CHARLOTTE'S WEB, reports VARIETY. Jordan Kerner (SNOW DOGS) will produce the film from a screenplay first drafted by Susannah Grant (ERIN BROCKOVICH) then revised by Karey Kirkpatrick (CHICKEN RUN, CURIOUS GEORGE).