The STAR WARS trilogy is finally debuting on DVD in a four-disc set on Sept. 21, 2004 from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Ent. (for an estimated retail price of $50). All three movies, STAR WARS, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI - a.k.a. EPISODES IV, V AND VI - are the special editions that have been digitally restored and remastered. Per George Lucas' request, the original theatrical versions will not be included, to the dismay of many fans.
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Various Internet sources have claimed that Fox Home Entertainment and LucasFilms have released information to retailers that the original STAR WARS trilogy will be released on DVD November 2, 2004. These rumors first started when LucasFilms held a hush hush invitation only marketing preview in San Francisco on Nov. 5, 2003. Force.net is stating that the films with be packaged individually and not as a box set. Fox Home Entertainment has told VFXWorld it is too early to confirm any of the details until LucasFilms informs them.
STAR WARS: EPISODE III wrapped principal photography at Fox Studios Australia on Sept. 17, 2003, five days ahead of schedule, according to a Lucasfilm announcement.
"It's almost unheard of for a major motion picture to come in under-schedule," boasted producer Rick McCallum of the shoot that was originally scheduled for 12 weeks.
Although it took many years of intense lobbying by the VFX community, stop-motion pioneer Ray Harryhausen (IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA, THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, MYSTERIOUS ISLAND and JASON & THE ARGONAUTS) finally got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, June 10, 2003, right next to the legendary El Capitan Theater.
Episode III will further connect the STAR WARS saga, bridging the prequel trilogy to the original trilogy bringing back familiar faces and places in the new STAR WARS film, which is currently in pre-production. Reprising their classic roles from the original trilogy are actors Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca the Wookiee, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, and Kenny Baker as R2-D2.
French animation studio Action Synthèse is currently in production on the upcoming CG feature THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT, using SOFTIMAGE|XSI to animate this remake of the '60s children's cult television series. THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT will star Australian pop star Kylie Minogue as Florence and fellow singer Robbie Williams as the world-weary dog Dougal, along with ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS star Joanna Lumley as Ermintrude the cow.
Continuing its expansion into the European market, Isreal-based media company Pyramedia has sold its Media Interactive Technology (MIT) system to Swiss broadcaster Star TV. This is another big sale for Pyramedia, which recently sold its MIT software to Nickelodeon U.K. In addition to the MIT system, Star TV acquired Pyramedia's animated interactive game show ELY AND LILLY, which is scheduled to broadcast in German beginning December 21, 2002 on Star TV's weekend kids' line-up.
Big Idea Productions brings its first public television special to the airwaves with the debut of VEGGIETALES: THE STAR OF CHRISTMAS. This animated holiday special features the well-known characters from the VEGGIETALES children's home-video series.
Ziff Davis Media Game Group, the largest publisher of gaming magazines in the U.S., has named LucasArts veteran Tom Byron as editor-in-chief of GAMENOW, a magazine targeted specifically to teen gamers. In this role Byron will be responsible for the editorial content and the day-to-day operations of the magazine and serve as its main spokesperson. Byron is the former editor-in-chief of START, a magazine for Atari enthusiasts, and the games editor for PC HOME JOURNAL.
Anime and manga distributor ADV Films has acquired the short anime film THE VOICES OF A DISTANT STAR and plans a DVD-only release for the title. Using a mix of traditional and computer animation, the film was written, directed, edited and animated by Makoto Shinkai using a Power Macintosh 7600/120 computer and several consumer and professional-level design and animation software programs. Shinkai recently won the award for "Most Valuable Newcomer" at the 2002 Tokyo Anime Fair.
THQ Inc. has released STAR WARS: EPISODE II "ATTACK OF THE CLONES" for Game Boy Advance, the first game that follows the storyline of the latest prequel in the STAR WARS saga. Players assume the role of three different ATTACK OF THE CLONES heroes: Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi, while commanding Republic gunships, speeders and Jedi starfighters in space combat. Players must also wield their lightsabers in side-scrolling lightsaber battles against Jango Fett, Count Dooku and other enemies.
The summer blockbuster licensing frenzy has begun! Food manufacturing giant General Mills is launching special-edition products based on STAR WARS: EPISODE II "ATTACK OF THE CLONES," including limited edition STAR WARS: EPISODE II cereal. The sweetened corn puff cereal features seven different marshmallow shapes representing STAR WARS characters and objects including a Clone Trooper, red and blue lightsabers, Yoda, R2-D2, the starship Slave I and the Jedi Starfighter.
Thanks to the Star Wars Fan Film Awards, being an obsessed and rabid fan may get you on TV one day, and not just on the evening news! On May 12, 2002, the SCI FI Channel will present the first-ever Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards, in recognition of the best short films made by STAR WARS enthusiasts. Hosted by Kevin Smith, the one-hour special, presented in association with Lucasfilm Ltd. and AtomFilms, will premiere Sunday, May 12 at 8pm ET/PT, exclusively on SCI FI Channel.
dvGarage, Electric Image and TheForce.net are bringing free 3D to the masses by offering a new trial version of the 3D Toolkit including the Electric Image Universe: 3D Toolkit Version, which saves and renders, without watermarks, for 30 days. In order to train users quickly, the trial version also includes 11 of dvGarage's tutorials, designed to get users familiar with the important aspects of using 3D software.
Thanks to THQ, STAR WARS fans will be able to play their Game Boys while waiting in line to buy tickets for EPISODE II, and not feel like theyre missing out on the action. THQ Inc. will be releasing STAR WARS: EPISODE II ATTACK OF THE CLONES for Game Boy Advance in spring 2002 to coincide with the release of the Lucasfilm feature film. The game will be the only one that follows the story line of the new movie. Players will assume the role of three different characters: Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The Star Wars Fan Film Awards, Indianapolis, Indiana and the World Wide Web.
Friday, May 3, 2002 Sunday, May 5, 2002.
Entry Deadline: Tuesday, April 5, 2002.
Shanghai-based Hweilai Studios has announced that Dennis Hopper is set to star in a new special effects heavy TV series, entitled FLATLAND. The EASY RIDER star has agreed to appear in 22 episodes as the mysterious villain Mr. Smith, who controls the show's strange universe. The show follows the adventures of three young adults trapped in a fourth-dimension where time and space crisscross. Hweilai is still looking for a distributor in the States. The studio is spending approximately US$1.75 million per episode.
* Tuesday, June 26, 2001, Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.A.
Women In Animation Los Angeles celebrates the career of Star Wirth with a dinner Salon at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks on June 26 at 7 pm. Star was head of the Xerox department at Hanna-Barbera for 33 years; she also worked at Warner Bros. The dinner costs $25 per person. For more information: Web: www.women.in.animation.org/LA.
Toronto broadcaster CTV has gained the Canadian TV rights for the STAR WARS franchise. The three-year deal gives CTV broadcast rights to EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE and the original STAR WARS trilogy. In addition, the network has purchased the documentaries FROM STAR WARS TO STAR WARS: THE STORY OF INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC, A LONG TIME AGO: THE STORY OF STAR WARS and THE MYTHOLOGY OF STAR WARS. PHANTOM MENACE will debut on April 29, 2001 on the same day that the film premiere's in the States on Fox.
Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have secured a star and director for the UNDERCOVER BROTHER feature. Based off the UrbanEntertainment.com cartoon series, the live-action film will star Eddie Griffin (MOD SQUAD) and Malcolm Lee (BEST MEN) will direct. The UNDERCOVER BROTHER Webseries was one of the first Webtoons to make the jump to film. John Ridley (THREE KINGS) signed a US$2 million deal to pen and executive produce the feature adaptation.
John Logan, co-writer of DreamWorks and Universal's GLADIATOR, has been tapped to scribe the tenth installment of Paramount Pictures' STAR TREK film series. The currently untitled project will be produced by Rick Berman and will feature the cast from the STAR TREK: NEXT GENERATION TV series. So far no director has been signed. The STAR TREK movie franchise has grossed more than US$1 billion at the box office and more than $5 billion with merchandising and home video revenue.
AtomFilms and Lucas Online are joining forces to launch The STAR WARS Fan Film Network, an official Website for STAR WARS-inspired fan work. AtomFilms is now accepting submissions of STAR WARS parodies and documentaries for consideration to showcase on the site. The STAR WARS Fan Film Network will launch later this year as a premier spotlight within www.atomfilms.com. Participants will have access to a library of audio clips including Darth Vader breathing, the lightsaber wave and Rebel blaster fire, to incorporate into their own original works.
For the live-action feature SIMONE, writer-director Andrew Niccol (THE TRUMAN SHOW) has decided to go completely CGI for the title character in the New Line Cinema drama. According to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, the CGI actress will star opposite Al Pacino, who will play a Hollywood film producer. The story centers on the life-changing challenges of an aspiring young actress who becomes a movie star overnight. In a move that marks actors worst nightmares, Niccol decided to go with the computer-generated lead after unsuccessfully testing several young, up-and-coming actresses.