Revolution Studios has announced the stars attached to its Flash animated feature film LIL' PIMP. Bernie Mac, Jennifer Tilly, William Shatner and Carmen Electra have already signed on to voice characters in the film, which is based on the Web series of the same name. Rapper/thesp Lil' Kim is in final talks join the cast as well. The film is scheduled to hit theatres in 2002.
Aardman Animations has halted work on TORTOISE VS HARE. The Bristol-based studio plans to start production up again in six months after script problems are worked out. Due to the hiatus 90 out of its 172 crew were laid off, but Aardman hopes to rehire them once production begins again. "The characters have got to be fleshed out," Aardman spokesman Arthur Sheriff said.
Santa Monica-based digital.art.media has announced their work helping DR. DOLITTLE 2 lead VFX studio, Rhythm & Hues, on 53 shots. digital.art.media helped created the lip synch needed to make many of the animal characters talk. "New systems could not circumvent the need for thousands of man-hours to be expended on very tedious artistic work," said Marc Kolbe, president of digital.art.media. "But the effort is worth it when you see the movie.
Warner Bros. & DreamWorks SKGs A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, Steven Spielbergs futuristic tale about a boy robot (Haley Joel Osment), who dreams of being something more, finished at the top of the pack in this weekends box office. In its first weekend of release, the film took in an estimated $30.1 million. 20th Century Foxs DR. DOLITTLE 2 dropped one spot to #3. Starring Eddie Murphy, the sequel to the 1998 remake of the 1967 film about a doctor who can "talk with the animals," took in an estimated $15.4 million, for a two week cumulative of $51 million.
20th Century Foxs DR. DOLITTLE 2 debuted in the number two spot in this weekends box office. Starring Eddie Murphy, the sequel to the 1998 remake of the 1967 film about a doctor who can "talk with the animals," took in an estimated $26.7 million. Paramount Pictures TOMB RAIDER dropped to #3 after its smash debut last week. The Angelina Jolie action-adventure flick took in an estimated $20.2 million, bringing its two week cumulative to $84.2.
Manga Entertainment is set to release Japan's first fully-digitally-animated feature BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE. Produced by Japan's Production IG Studios (GHOST IN THE SHELL), BLOOD will be released in select theatres this summer and on DVD/VHS on August 28, 2001. The film takes place in the fall of 1966 and sends a young assassin Saya (SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS' Youki Kodoh) into an American school within the Yokota military compound to uncover and eliminate the blood-sucking menace. The film was directed by Hiroyuki Kitakub. As part of this year's RESFEST, the film will be screened digitally.
Paramount Pictures TOMB RAIDER leaped into #1 in this weekends box office, taking in an estimated $48.2 million. Disneys ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE debuted at #2, with a respectable, if not spectacular $20.4 million. DreamWorks' CG film, SHREK, continued to post solid numbers, moving down only one notch to #3 with $12.9 million, bringing its five week cumulative to $197.2 million. Warner Bros.' SWORDFISH dropped to the #4 spot with $12.15 million, bringing its two week cumulative to $39.21.
Howard Schwartz Recording (HSR), a leading audio facility, is recording the voice tracks for the Columbia Pictures' STUART LITTLE 2. Produced by Sony-based Red Wagon Productions, and directed by Rob Minkoff, the film is scheduled for release on July 19th, 2002. HSR engineer Bill Higley has been recording the actors directly from microphone to DAT for the sequel. The voice cast includes Michael J. Fox as Stuart, Nathan Lane as Snowbell the cat, Melanie Griffith as Margalo the bird and Steve Zahn as Monty.
Warner Bros.' SWORDFISH hooked the top spot this week, debuting with $18.15 million. DreamWorks' CG film, SHREK, held its ground at #2 with $16.52 million, taking in a cumulative $176.07 million total in its four week run. Buena Vista's PEARL HARBOR lost its #1 spot, dropping to third place with $14.72 million, bringing its three week total to $143.99 million. DreamWorks' special effects comedy, EVOLUTION, made its debut in forth place with $13.41 million. THE ANIMAL made $9.61 million, down to #5 from #3 with a cumulative total of $35.65 million.
Buena Vistas PEARL HARBOR held off SHREK to remain box office champ this week, grossing $29.5 million, for a two week cumulative total of $118.8 million. DreamWorks' CG-animated film SHREK stayed hot at the box office, bringing in another $28.1 million in its third week of release, for a cumulative total of $148.4 million. Universal's THE MUMMY RETURNS slipped to #6 for its fifth weekend with $7.7 million, boasting a cumulative total of $181.1 million. Sony's A KNIGHT'S TALE jousted the seventh slot at $3.4 million, with a $49.4 cumulative total.
IMAX Corporation has announced that Steve Oedekerk's original animated film, SANTA VS. THE SNOWMAN, will be reformatted into IMAX 3D and anchor a special IMAX holiday film program launching in November 2002. Produced by Oedekerk's O Entertainment, animated by DNA productions with additional footage being animated by Omation, a division of O Entertainment, the film features the voices of Oedekerk, Emmy Award-winning comic Jonathan Winters, Ben Stein and Victoria Jackson. SANTA VS.
In the wake of the tremendous opening of their latest computer-animated comedy SHREK, DreamWorks has announced on May 31, 2001 their plans for a theatrical sequel. According to DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, the writing team behind the first SHREK screenplay, have been set to pen the sequel. The team has also collaborated to write the Oscar-winning animated musical ALADDIN, which became the top-grossing film release of 1992.
Exploding into the top spot at the box office this Memorial Day weekend was Buena Vistas PEARL HARBOR, which made a triumphant nationwide debut, grossing $75.1 million. The 3-hour, action-packed movie is set during the time of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, where two friends (Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett) are caught up in the events that draw the United States into World War II. DreamWorks' CG-animated film SHREK more than withstood the heavy bombardment, slipping down one notch from first to second with $54.2 million during its second weekend.
On May 8, 2001 Argus International Film Studio signed an agreement with Germanys MC-One to produce THE NUTCRACKER AND THE MOUSE KING, a 70-minute animated film based on the well-known fairy tale by Hoffmann and ballet by Tchaikovsky. Directed by Tatiana Ilyina, the Russian version of the animated feature will be available at the end of 2002. The 3-minute pilot copy for THE NUTCRACKER AND THE MOUSE KING was awarded the World Gold Medal for best animation at the 1999 New York festivals and was in official selection at Annecy 2000.
The Walt Disney Company is moving up its large-format release of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST to January 1, 2002, following on the success of last year's January 1 release of FANTASIA/2000: The Imax Experience. Produced by Don Hahn and directed by Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST has been digitally remastered and reformatted specifically for release to 15/70 and 8/70 theaters. The new version includes a never-before-seen musical sequence featuring Human Again, a song that had been written and storyboarded for the original release, but never animated.
DreamWorks' new CG-animated film SHREK rocketed to #1 at the box office in its North American debut, taking in $42.1 million. It is the second-biggest opening for an animated film and the biggest-ever for the distributor. Buena Vista's TOY STORY 2, which debuted during the Thanksgiving holiday in 1999, holds the record for animated openings with $57.4 million, while the previous biggest opening for DreamWorks was GLADIATOR with $34.8 million in May 2000. Universal's THE MUMMY RETURNS tallied $20.5 million during its third weekend to hold second place.
DreamWorks Pictures' new CG animated feature "Shrek" will be projected digitally in eleven theatres in the U.S. and Canada. This marks the first time a DreamWorks film will be shown in the digital format. In making the announcement, DreamWorks head of distribution Jim Tharp stated, SHREK represents the state-of-the-art in computer animation, so it is only fitting that it be the first DreamWorks film to be seen in this state-of-the-art format.
The English-language version of the anime thriller JIN-ROH: THE WOLF BRIGADE will have its theatrical release at New York's Cinema Village on June 22, 2001, at the Varsity Theater in Seattle on June 29, 2001 and nationally throughout the summer. A collaboration between two generations of filmmakers, JIN-ROH marries a hard-hearted script by Momoru Oshii, the internationally acclaimed maker of GHOST IN THE SHELL with the vérité direction of Hiroyuki Okiura, assistant to Oshii on GHOST. JIN-ROH's setting is Tokyo - not the Tokyo of the future, but of an alternate past.
Leslie Carlsons new short, SHRIMP AND CRAB COCKTAIL, made its debut on Ifilm May 4, 2001. This 2-minute animated short explores the shifting tides of emotion between a shrimp and crab as they flirt in an undersea cocktail lounge, with a dark twist to the old line "there are other fish in the sea." For more information, visit: www.ifilm.com/ifilm/skeletons/film_detail/0,1263,1236475,00.html. WHITE BREAD BLUES, a new animated Web series from the San Francisco office of interactive design and production company Deepend, debuts this week.
TriStar Pictures will release THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN, an animated musical film based on the novel by E.B. White, in Los Angeles, California and New York, New York on Friday, May 11, 2001. Universally hailed as a classic of children's literature, THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN follows the wonderful and witty adventures of Louie, a mute trumpeter swan who takes extraordinary steps to compensate for his lack of voice.
Premiering on the IFILM Network this week is DAMNED, a new film by Alex Crouch. Most consider a game of chess to be a fun, harmless way to pass the time, but nobody said it was fun for the pieces on the board! Witness the horrible fate of one group of chess pieces as they're thrown into the jaws of death. These guys know the true meaning of the word "Damned!" Find this short at: www.ifilm.com/ifilm/skeletons/film_detail/0,1263,1104743,00.html. .
The anime classic AKIRA, fresh from a $1 million restoration, has been released on the big screen in a few select theatres in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City. With digital projection, this is the cleanest, crispest print ever seen to date. AWN was invited to a special pre-release screening and was very impressed by the quality of the print and restoration. First released theatrically in Japan in 1988, AKIRA has garnered legions of fans around the world and is still considered a masterpiece of cel animation.
Sharon Katz, creator of HAPPY BIRTHDAY HANNAH (Audience Choice Award, Chicks 'n Flicks Film Festival), has finished her newest animated short, THE ANGEL'S FOOT CAKE / DER FUS TORT. In the film, Drinkeleh Fresserkeh decides to make a cake in the shape of an Angel's foot. The Angels take umbrage and the fun begins in this delightfully raucous modern Yiddish animated tale. The film premiers April 29, 2001 at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival.
Richard Linklater's latest film, the animated feature WAKING LIFE, has been acquired by Fox Searchlight and will hit theaters later this year. Fox Searchlight acquired the worldwide distribution rights in a deal negotiated by the companys executive VP Joseph de Marco and John Sloss of the indie financing company Cinetic. The movie debuted to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
For the first time in 48 years, an animated film has been selected to compete at the Cannes Film Festival. DreamWorks SKGs SHREK, directed by Andrew Adamson and Victoria Jenson, was one of 22 films selected for official competition. The film, slated for a May 18, 2001 U.S. release, stars Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow, and was produced at PDI/DreamWorks, the companys Palo Alto CGI and effects unit.