Universal Pictures has announced that principal animation has started on its big screen adaptation of CURIOUS GEORGE. Will Ferrell will voice The Man in the Yellow Hat and will be joined by Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy, Dick Van Dyke, Joan Plowright and Ed O'Ross. Jun Falkenstein (THE TIGGER MOVIE) is directing with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer producing. The 2D feature will contain original songs by Jack Johnson. It is set for release on February 10, 2006.
In the latest jostling for prime release dates, Disney has pushed back Vanguard Animations VALIANT, the U.K.s first 3D-animated feature, from April 15 to Aug. 19, 2005. Vanguards debut feature, produced at the revitalized Ealing Studios, bowed March 25 in the U.K. With Disneys own CHICKEN LITTLE now flying the coop Nov. 4, this highly anticipated story of a World War II carrier pigeon should fill the bill nicely.
Warner Bros. Pictures has entered into an agreement with NeoPets Inc. to develop and produce animated feature films based on new stories and characters from the virtual world of Neopets.com, the world's leading online youth community.
Dylan Sellers will produce the projects with Doug Dohring, chairman/ceo of, NeoPets. Warner Bros. Pictures' Aditya Sood will oversee production for the studio. NeoPets will co-finance development.
Writer Hadley Davis is drafting the script for a teen movie adaptation of Zatanna, the DC Comics sorceress, reports SCI FI WIRE.
"It's sort of an obscure DC Comic book," Davis said in an interview. "Well, I say that, and then people who know comic books know the comic. It has existed for years and years, but she is a female magician. It's for Warner Bros. and [producer] Denise DiNovi, and we've made her sort of a teen magician."
Warner Bros. has agreed to produce M. Night Shyamalans next fantasy thriller LADY IN THE WATER, the trades report. THE VILLAGE filmmaker will write and direct as well as produce along with Blinding Edge Pictures Sam Mercer. All of the thrill masters pics since THE SIXTH SENSE have been made with Walt Disney, however both parties past on working on LADY together.
Formed less than a month ago, Lions Gate Family Entertainment has announced it will co-produce FOODFIGHT!, the 3D animated film from Larry Kasanoff's Threshold Animation Studios, slated for a fall 2006 release.
Currently in production, FOODFIGHT! takes place in a supermarket that comes to life when the customers and employees have gone home. Some of the stars cast to provide voices are sisters Hilary and Haylie Duff, who are starring together in the upcoming MATERIAL GIRLS.
Principal photography is underway in Sydney, Australia on Warner Bros. Pictures highly anticipated SUPERMAN RETURNS. The film is scheduled to shoot in and around Sydney, Australia through mid-August 2005 and will be released by Warner Bros. Pictures on June 30, 2006.
Thomas Haden Church, who was most recently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in SIDEWAYS, has been cast as Spider-Man's new adversary in SPIDER-MAN 3. The announcement was made by Sam Raimi and producers Laura Ziskin and Marvel Studios' Avi Arad, however the identity of the villain Church will play is being kept secret. Production is set to begin early next year with the film to be released on May 4, 2007.
Paramount has signed ALIEN VS. PREDATOR director Paul W.S. Anderson to write and helm a remake of Roger Cormans cult adventure, DEATHRACE 2000, reports VARIETY. In addition, Anderson will produce along with Corman, C/W partners Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, and Impact Pictures partner Jeremy Bolt.
The original featured a race where drivers accumulated points for running over pedestrians. The new version will be "set in 2020, ours is an ultraviolent, no-holds-barred race with heavily armed Escalades, Ferraris and Aston Martins," Anderson said.
20th Century Fox has confirmed rumors that British helmer Matthew Vaughn has been hired to direct X-MEN 3, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Avi Arad, Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter will produce. Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg have written the script. Hugh Jackman has already signed on to reprise his role as Wolverine and the studio is in talks with Ian McKellen, Halle Berry and Patrick Stewart. The film is expected to start lensing in mid-July and will hit theaters May 26, 2006.
DreamWorks THE RING TWO more than doubled the originals opening, debuting in top spot with $35.1M (vfx by Rhythm & Hues), about the same take as last weeks No. 1, ROBOTS which held well in second place, posting $21M for the 3D-animated feature from Fox/Blue Sky for a two-week take of $66M.
Sony Pictures is in talks with Marvel Ent. to adapt Marvel's lesser-known comicbook KILLRAVEN into a sci-fi tentpole feature, reports VARIETY. Sony is already in talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan (THE KENTUCKY CYCLE) to adapt the 1970s series. If the film goes forward, Marvel's head Avi Arad would produce with Angryfilms' Don Murphy. Marvels Kevin Feige would exec produce.
FilmEngine has okayed a pitch for a sequel to THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT, reports VARIETY. Because the new film has an entire new cast of characters, original star, Ashton Kutcher, isn't expected to return. John Leonetti (MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION) will direct and Michael Weiss will write the script.
Filmengine's A.J. Dix and Anthony Rhulen will produce along with Benderspink's Chris B Bender and J.C. Spink. William Shively is exec producing.
Walt Disney Pictures has lined-up a star-studded voice cast for the English-dubbed release of Hayao Miyazakis highly anticipated HOWLS MOVING CASTLE. Christian Bale (BATMAN BEGINS) will star as Howl. Main character Sophie Hatter will be voiced by Gene Simmons (THROUGH THE MOEBIUS STRIP) as an old woman and Emily Mortimer (DEAR FRANKIE) as a little girl. In the Japanese dub Chieko Baisho voiced both the young and old versions of Sophie.
George Lucas announced Thursday at ShoWest that he intends to repurpose all of the STAR WARS movies in 3D for digital cinema re-release, with the original movie, A NEW HOPE, to be readied in time for its 30th anniversary in 2007, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The plan is to then reissue one every year through 2012.
Known for creating strong female characters for his hit TV series BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, Joss Whedon has been hired by Silver Pictures to write and direct the feature film adaptation of WONDER WOMAN. Joel Silver and Leonard Goldberg will produce the film, which Warner Bros. Pictures will release worldwide. William Moulton Marston created the original Wonder Woman character, which appeared in DC Comics.
Texas Instruments (TI) DLP Cinema technology, the digital cinema projection technology deployed in movie theatres worldwide, assisted the directors and visual effects team of Miramax's and Dimension Films' SIN CITY during post-production to achieve the desired comic-book feel of the movie. Directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller relied upon DLP Cinema projectors to ensure rich and consistent color in the movie.
On its way to posting $36M in its opening weekend last week, Fox/Blue Skys 3D-animated ROBOTS: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE took in a strong $1.4M in only 58 North American IMAX theaters. ROBOTS, marks the first spring day-and-date DMR (Digital Remastering) release for IMAX after the hugely successful 3D IMAX presentation of POLAR EXPRESS, which pulled in more than $45M domestically.
Paramount Pictures has hired THE RING TWO director Hideo Nakata to helm the American remake of Hong Kong horror film, THE EYE. C/W Prods. will produce. Vertigo's Roy Lee and Doug Davison will exec produce along with the original films producer Peter Chan. The story follow a young blind girl who after receiving a cornea transplant begins to see ghosts and premonitions.
The Gotham Group has signed French animation producer/distributor Marathon as a client. The Gotham Groups first priority is making a deal for an animated feature film version of Marathons hit animated series TOTALLY SPIES. The series is plays on Cartoon Network in the U.S. and is carried by more than 200 markets worldwide. The show follows the adventures of three teenage girls from Beverly Hills who has been recruited as secret agents. The trio must juggle boys, shopping and of course, saving the world, while still finding time to do their homework.
Although it didnt measure up to ICE AGEs record-setting opening of $46.3M, ROBOTS still posted the second best March debut ever with $36M (including an impressive $1.4M in IMAX on 58 screens). The 3D-animated feature from Fox/Blue Sky won the weekend ended March 13, 2005, besting Buena Vistas Vin Diesel youth comedy, THE PACIFIER, which scored $18.1M for a two-week cum of $54.4M. In fact, ROBOTS skewed younger than most CG movies, attracting 44% of the under 12 crowd.
Instead of following-up his Oscar winning work on SPIDER-MAN 2 with work on the third film in the franchise, visual effects wizard John Dykstra is tackling McGs HOT WHEELS. The self-describe adrenaline junkie decided to take the challenge of bringing a variety of vehicle to life for Columbia Pictures toy franchise turned feature. Sony Imageworks' Scott Stokdyk will step in for Dykstra on SPIDER-MAN 3. Previously, Stokdyk served as visual effects supervisor on the webslinging flicks, for which he won the Oscar as well for the second films vfx.
Vinton Studios has nabbed the rights to author Laura Rubys second novel, THE WALL AND THE WING, due out from HarperCollins in 2006. In a high six-figure deal, Vinton Studios ceo Jeff Farnath announced that the book will be re-imagined for the screen and directed by Henry Selick (JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS).
20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios are adapting Dr. Seuss' HORTON HEARS A WHO into a CG-animated movie, according to THE HOLLLYWOOD REPORTER. The disclosure on Wednesday was timed perfectly in consort with the launch of ROBOTS, directed by Blue Skys Chris Wedge, on Friday, March 11, 2005.
New Line Cinema is in final talks with filmmaker Don Coscarelli to resurrect his cult horror franchise PHANTASM, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Coscarelli would serve as producer on the remake. New Line exec Jeff Katz, who championed the project, will oversee the film along with George Waud and Stokely Chaffin. The original 1979 film followed the emerging psychic Mike and his friends as they went up against the grave robbing Tall Man and his deadly flying spheres.