Disney/Pixar's MONSTERS, INC., has usurped SHREK to become the second highest grossing animated film of all-time (behind only Disney's THE LION KING). The film has earned $504 million to date, comprised of $253 million in domestic box office receipts and $251.2 million in international box office receipts, where it has set records in Japan ($59.1 million, the most successful U.S. animated film ever), England ($53 million), Mexico ($20.1 million) and Spain ($13.5 million). Commenting on the announcement, Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, said, "MONSTERS, INC.
With the largest April opening in history, THE SCORPION KING, with visual effects by Centropolis FX, topped the box office this weekend. Starring The Rock, this "prequel" to THE MUMMY franchise earned $36.2M in its debut. The weekend's other new release, MURDER BY NUMBERS, debuted in third with a tepid $9.5M while last week's number one film, CHANGING LANES, took second place with $11.2M and $32.8M to date. Disney's THE ROOKIE climbed a notch to fourth place with $6.3M and a four week total of $53.7M, while ICE AGE dropped two spots to land in sixth place with $5.7M and a cume of $159.5M.
LEGO Media, the entertainment division of the LEGO Company, has selected animation studio Creative Capers Entertainment to produce BIONICLE: THE MASK OF LIGHT, a 70-minute, CGI-animated direct-to-video feature scheduled to debut in September 2003. The project is LEGO Medias first production based on original characters and story lines created by the LEGO Company. The story of BIONICLE: THE MASK OF LIGHT takes its inspiration from the folklore of many cultures and features six bio-mechanical heroes, called the Toa, who come from the island of Mata Nui.
The new psychological thriller CHANGING LANES topped the box office this week, despite a strong performance from PANIC ROOM, which fell to second in its third week. CHANGING LANES debuted with $17.5M, while PANIC ROOM, with visual effects by ComputerCafe, scared up $11.3M for a three-week total of $74.1M. The girl buddy comedy THE SWEETEST THING took the third spot with $10M. Showing that family-friendly films are holding their own at the box office, ICE AGE is in fourth place after five weeks in release.
Pixel Liberation Front (PLF) has provided a unique previsualization service for PANIC ROOM. PLF created animatics representing nearly two-thirds of the film, allowing director David Fincher to design much of the film's action and determine how it would be shot before the production began. PANIC ROOM is a thriller set in a New York City townhouse. In order to escape a trio of thieves searching for a hidden fortune, a mother and daughter take refuge in the townhouse's "panic room," a fortified shelter built to guard against home invaders.
The Tribeca Film Festival and The Children's Aid Society (CAS) will co-host the exclusive New York premiere of STAR WARS: EPISODE II ATTACK OF THE CLONES three days before the film is scheduled to open nationwide. On Sunday, May 12, 2002 the festival will host private screenings for Children's Aid Society youngsters and for the children and families affected by September 11th. The afternoon screening will be a fundraising premiere to benefit The Children's Aid Society. Ticket sales for the afternoon CAS benefit screening have officially begun.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.