THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING came out swinging like Gollum for that box office brass ring on Wednesday, Dec. 17, taking in a glorious $57.6M in theaters around the globe, according to New Line, including a record-breaking domestic gross of $34.1M and $23.5M in 19 territories overseas.
Category: Visual Effects
3D Festival 2004, Europe's largest convention and exhibition for the creative 3D industry (May 3-6 at Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark), has announced its executive committee and preliminary speakers. Synergy, meanwhile, will be the theme, encompassing storytelling, modeling, animating, rendering, programming and business strategies.
The Independent Games Festival has announced the finalists in the sixth annual Independent Games Festival (IGF) Competition, which will exhibit their games the Game Developers Conference March 24-26, 2004 in San Jose, California. Selected by a panel of game industry professionals, game development teams will compete for more than $40,000 in cash prizes, double the payout from previous years.
The 10 games selected for the "Open" category are (in alphabetical order):ACMI by Selectparks (Richmond, Victoria, Australia)
Kevin Mullican has been named cto for iO Film, a technologically advanced, full-service digital film finishing facility specializing in film and video projects from every sector of the entertainment industry.
SEABISCUIT, writer/director Gary Ross' acclaimed screen adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's revered bestseller about the legendary race horse and his place in American lore, comes to DVD Dec. 16, 2003 (Universal Home Entertainment, $26.98) with several noteworthy extras: commentary from Ross and director Steven Soderbergh, production notes, three featurettes ("Racing Through History," "Bringing the Legend to Life" and "Anatomy of a Movie Moment: From Script to Screen") and co-star Jeff Bridge's on-set photographs.
VFX industry veteran Jeff Ross has joined Hollywood-based visual effects shop Eden FX, in the newly created position of evp.
Ross has built an extensive career guiding, managing and overseeing the growth of numerous successful, high-end post-production companies. For the past two years, he served as evp/coo of Sunset Digital, a high definition facility specializing in feature film mastering, digital restoration, linear and non-linear editing and DVD compression and authoring.
Softimage has launched SOFTIMAGE|BEHAVIORv.1.5 - the latest version of its cutting edge crowd effects software. This third release includes an array of customer-driven improvements as well as new and innovative features that enable users to build sophisticated behavioral simulations quickly and creatively.
Discreet announced it has significantly increased its share in the 3D animation tools market this year with expansion in core and emerging markets. Having exceeded 200,000 license sales of its 3ds max software, Discreet has forged ahead with 3ds max 6, the most recent release of its acclaimed 3D modeling, animation and rendering software.
When the Visual Information Technology laboratory at the Canadian National Research Council started developing its high resolution 3D scanners in the early 1980s, it probably had no idea that 20 years later one of its spin-offs, XYZ RGB Inc., would be contracted to help bring the characters of THE LORD OF THE RINGS to life on the big screen.
HBO has greenlit a second season of the cult TV series, CARNIVALE, reported HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The David Lynch/Stephen King-like series will get another 13 episodes, debuting at the end of 2004. Production should start in the spring with the original cast members all returning. The series didnt pull in audiences like THE SOPRANOS or SEX IN THE CITY, but it averaged a solid 3.5 million viewers each week.
Toronto-based Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. announced Dec. 10, 2003 that it is essentially stopping TV and movie production with the departure of entertainment group ceo Peter Sussman and Seaton McLean, the group's president, production. The company will hone its activities down to primarily specialty channel broadcasting and TV/film distribution.
Jim Henson Co. will begin production Dec. 15 in Australia on a four-hour miniseries based on the cult favorite TV series FARSCAPE, reported SCI FI WIRE. Citing sources close to the production, the story will pick up and resolve issues left open at the end of the cancelled series. Stars Ben Browder and Claudia Black among others will be reprising their roles. The miniseries has no television distribution deal to date. Both Jim Henson Co. and the Sci Fi Channel had no comment on the rumor.
Andrew Maltz, former president/ceo of Avica Technology Corp., has been named director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' new Science and Technology Council.
Metal rocker-turned-film director Rob Zombie and author-cartoonist Steve Niles have formed a new production company, Creep Entertainment Intl, reported VARIETY. The firm already has lined-up three comicbook inspired projects -- THE NAIL with Dark Horse Comics, BIGFOOT with IDW Comics and LORDS OF SALEM. Zombie and Niles have co-written the scripts for all three films.
Sci Fi Channel has scored another win with the premiere of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. The two-night, four-hour original event delivered a 3.5/2,897,000 HHs/4,177,000 P2+ average for its primetime premieres (Dec. 8-9, 2003, 9:00-11:00 pm ET/PT) - marking Sci Fi's best ratings performance in 2003 and the highest audience delivery for any original miniseries production on cable for the year.
Michael Lynton was named chairman/ceo of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), filling the coveted position vacated by the retiring John Calley. In addition, vice chairman Amy Pascal was promoted to chairman of the Motion Picture Group at SPE in a further integration of global businesses and digital media, according to Howard Stringer, chairman/ceo of Sony Corp. of America and vice chairman of Sony Corp. Lynton, who had been president, Time Warner International; president, AOL International, and ceo, AOL Europe, since 2000, will be headquartered in Culver City, California.
Now on DVD, LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER, THE CRADLE OF LIFE (Paramount Home Entertainment, $29.99) continues the video game-inspired exploits of the alluring archeological adventuress (Angelina Jolie) in this sequel involving Pandora's Box.
BAD BOYS II, which reunites director Michael Bay with stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence for more stylized action and violence, hits DVD Dec. 9, 2003 (Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, $28.96). Bolstered by vfx supplied by Sony Pictures Imageworks, the two-disc set contains lots of extras, including seven deleted scenes, featurettes devoted to vfx and stunts, six sequence breakdowns (with on-set footage, storyboards and scripts), 19 production diary featurettes and Jay-Z "La-La-La" music video.
GenArts Inc., a leading provider of digital visual effects plug-ins for the film, broadcast and video industry, will be showcasing its upcoming release of Sapphire Plug-ins in the plug-in pavilion, booth # 617, at DV Expo West 2003, Los Angeles Convention Center, Dec. 10-12, 2003.
Visitors to the GenArts booth will be able to experience hands-on demos of the widely anticipated Sapphire Plug-ins for After Effects and compatible products, including Apple's Final Cut Pro, Discreet's combustion, and Eyeon Software's Digital Fusion, among others.
Alias Systems announced the release of another learning tool in its popular education series. StudioTools Techniques| Exploring StudioTools examines the integrated 2D/3D sketching and modeling features and many other design workflow enhancements found in the latest release of its computer-aided industrial design (CAD) software, Alias StudioTools 11.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, the year's top live actioner, has sold 11 million DVD and VHS units (a reported 90% on DVD) in its first week of sales, becoming the largest opening live-action home entertainment title in history. According to VIDEO BUSINESS, that translates to about $187 million in revenue.
Buena Vista International Inc. upped four of its key marketing and publicity exec directors to vp: Maggie Todd (international publicity), Donald Evans (marketing and promotions), Mari Gastineau (marketing/creative print services) and Ticole Richards (marketing/creative film services).