Nickelodeon has announced that, following in the wake of the success of THERUGRATS MOVIE, another Klasky Csupo produced TV series, THE WILD THORNBERRYS, will get its own shot at the big screen. The film will have abudget of at least $25 million and release is expected in 2002. THE WILD THORNBERRYS is currently the most popularanimated TV series on Nickelodeon.
On Monday, April 19, a judge ruled thatViacom's claim to the rights to TV distribution of a film based on Marvel'scomic book character Spider-man is without contractual basis. This ruling,unless it is appealed, should finally clear the way for a major Spider-Manfilm. The Spider-man property had been tangled in court for many yearsbecause several companies claimed to possess various controlling rights.Sources close to the law suit say that the six companies involved in the
For the week ending April 18th, THE MATRIX, a special effects heavy action film, finished second in the US box office race and grossed an estimated $18.1 million to bring its cumulative gross to $99.1 million.
THE MATRIX, the special effects driven science-fiction adventure, remained No. 1 at the US box office for the week ending April 11, with a weekend gross of $22.2 million, and a cumulative gross of $50 million. It slipped only 20% from last week.
Universal Pictures has begun production in Los Angeles on TribecaProductions' live-action/animated comedy adventure "The Adventures of Rockyand Bullwinkle," starring two time Academy Award(R) winner Robert De Niro("Raging Bull," "The Godfather Part II"), Jason Alexander (TV's "Seinfeld")and Rene Russo ("Get Shorty"). Des McAnuff ("Cousin Bette," Broadway's"The Who's Tommy") is directing from a screenplay by Kenneth Lonergan, withDe Niro and Jane Rosenthal producing. David Nicksay ("The Negotiator") and
SPIDER-MAN TO SWING WITHOUT CAMERON. Whatever expectations were created in 1990 when Stan Lee (Spider-Man's co-creator with Steve Ditko and possibly Jack Kirby) announced that James Cameron would be directing a Spider-Man film, ended for the director of TITANIC and THE TERMINATOR on Monday when THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER reported that Cameron will not be directing this long dreamed of project. This announcement comes soon after the resolution of legal disputes between most of the involved companies over rights to the Spider-Man character and related properties.
The Matrix, a new futuristic, action movie that stars Keanu Reeves andfeatures state of the art visual effects, took first place at the theweekend box office, grossing $27.6 million for the biggest opening weekendthis year, industry estimates showed Sunday.
Doug's 1st Movie, the Disney released animated feature based on the hit TVshow, finished eighth, grossing $3.1 million during its first week inrelease. The movie was based on a TV show, formerly of Nickelodeon, now
Manila-based ImagineAsia is the Asian studio chosen to do the production work for HEAVY METAL F.A.K.K. 2, the $15-million sequel to 1981's HEAVY METAL. The film is being co-produced by Canada's Cine-Groupe and Germany's Helkon Media for a U.S. Columbia TriStar release during the second half of 1999. The film is directed by Michael Coldeway, and stars Julie Strain and Billy Idol. This marks the feature debut of ImagineAsia, as well as one of the few times an Asian animation facility has been called upon to fully animate a feature film for a major U.S. studio.
Warner Bros. THE KING AND I, produced by Rich Animation, opened in North America last weekend (March 19-21) in 2352 theaters with a lackluster total of $4,007,565 million. . . . DOUG'S 1ST MOVIE, produced by Jumbo Pictures and released by Disney, will open in North America on Friday, March 26, just in time for spring break.
Paramount's THE RUGRATS MOVIE has crossed the $100 million milestone at the North American box office. This makes it the first animated non-Disney film to achieve this mark. As of March 22, the domestic box office total for the film is $100,130,568. . . . Warner Bros. THE KING AND I, produced by Rich Animation, opened in North America this past weekend in 2352 theaters with a lackluster total of $4,007,565 million.
ASTRO BOY, created by Japanese comic legend Dr. Osamu Tezuka, will be made into a sci-fi live-action/CGI/animatronics feature by Columbia Pictures. The pic, slated for Christmas 2000 release, is being produced by Don Murphy, Jane Hamsher and Jim Henson Pictures. Reportedly, Jim Henson's Creature Shop may provide the title character Astro Boy. The film is a 21st century Pinocchio about a grieving scientist who builds a robot in the likeness of his son who was killed. This "robot boy," Tetsuwan Atomu, became the first Japanese TV cartoon when it started airing in 1963.
Atom Corp., a new entertainment company aiming to distribute short animated and live-action films, has opened shop. The start-up firm has already established alliances with cable networks such as HBO and Sundance Channel, online services including Disney's Go Network/Infoseek, Mr. Showbiz, Reel.com, Warner Bros. Online and Film.com, the high-speed broadband service @Home, as well as airlines such as Air New Zealand, Air Canada and Continental Airlines.
London-based Pearson launched their independent theatrical animated feature, A MONKEY'S TALE, at the American Film Market which ended last week in Santa Monica, California. The film, which is Pearson's first foray into the theatrical feature arena, is directed by Jean-Francois Laguionie. The $14 million family entry features the voice talents of John Hurt, Michael York, Rik Mayall and Michael Gambon, as well as the hit Irish group BOYZONE, who performs the end title song. The film took nearly eight years to complete and utilized the talents of 400 animators.
Steve Oedekerk has stepped down as the director of Warner Bros. big-budgeted live-action/animated remake of THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET after months of bickering between him and the studio. The script is currently being reworked by MULAN writer Rita Hsaio. Jim Carrey, the film's lead, will wait to see the new script before making any decisions on his involvement with the film. The film is being produced by Barry Levinson, Paula Weinstein and Bill Gerber.
Disney/Pixar's A BUG'S LIFE has passed $150 million in the overseas box office and $310 million worldwide making it the 11th highest-grossing animated feature of all time. The top ten spots are all held by Disney films. The film has been released in 26 countries so far and has been in the top ten consistently in most countries including Germany ($15 million), Italy ($5.5 million), Spain ($10.2 million), Sweden ($3.5 million), and Taiwan ($3 million). In the United Kingdom, the film set a new record for the highest animated opening, and the eighth largest opening ever.
Burbank, California-based Rich Animation's upcoming animated feature THE KING AND I, slated for release March 19, utilized a unique production process by transferring animation scenes via the Internet between artists located in California, Europe, China, India, Korea and Canada. By avoiding the massive overhead costs associated with typical feature animation studios, Rich was able to compete with the big boys by delivering a theatrical quality feature on a budget.
The duos more wholesome festival, SPIKE & MIKES 1999 CLASSIC FESTIVAL OF ANIMATION, opens Friday, March 12 at the Ridge Theatre in Vancouver, B.C. (running through April 4).
Manga Entertainment has informed Animation World Magazine that they still have a shorts department and are actively looking for animated short films to market and distribute. Since their San Diego animated shorts operation closed down last year, submissions are now being accepted through their central Chicago division. While it is still unclear as to how the shorts will be packaged, films may be sent to:
Attn: Animated Shorts Division
727 N. Hudson #100
Chicago, IL 60610
Disney's Chinese-themed MULAN finally opened in China today on 13 screens in Shanghai. Chinese officials had originally declined to import MULAN when it was released last year because of their dissatisfaction with Disneys release of KUNDUN, a live-action film about Chinese rule in Tibet, two years ago. The timing for MULANs debut was less than favorable, falling on the last day of school childrens winter vacation period. MULAN is scheduled to screen in other parts of China including Beijing, although dates havent been announced yet.
Comedian and former SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE cast member Adam Sandler (THE WATERBOY, THE WEDDING SINGER) has signed with Columbia TriStar (a division of Sony Pictures) to develop a full-length animated musical comedy featuring a character based on him. Sandler, who is producing the film with his partner, Jack Giarraputo, will also voice the title character.
Disney is going all out for their release of FANTASIA 2000 by launching anexclusive four-month run of the film in IMAX theaters around the world fromJanuary 1 through April 30, 2000. The updated version will debut with afive-city, London Philharmonic Orchestra-accompanied tour starting inDecember 1999. The tour, which will pass through Los Angeles, London, Paris andTokyo, will have its world premiere December 17 at Carnegie Hall in NewYork City with a concert by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition,
For the first time since the October 2 release of "Antz," there were no animated films in the box office top ten. DreamWorks' THE PRINCE OF EGYPT is still the top animated film placing 11th with $1.9M and a grand total of $93.3M domestically. The film's total worldwide gross to date is $197.8M. Disney/Pixar's A BUG'S LIFE placed 15th with $1.4M bringing its spectacular sum to $155.9M in North America. Worldwide, the insect film has brought in a total of $213.1M and is still going strong. The film's opening in the U.K.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced the Academy Award/Oscar nominees for films made in 1998. The nominees in the Best Animated Short Film category are:
JOLLY ROGER, an Astley Baker production directed by Mark Baker.
THE CANTERBURY TALES, an S4C production written and executive directed by Jonathan Myerson.
BUNNY, a Blue Sky Studios production written and directed by Chris Wedge.
WHEN LIFE DEPARTS, an A Films Aps production directed by Karsten Killerich and Stefan Fjeldmark.
DreamWorks' "The Prince of Egypt" was the top animated film on Super Bowl football weekend placing 10th with $2.6M, making a grand total of $90.8M. Disney/Pixar's "A Bug's Life" followed closely at 12th taking in $1.9M for a dazzling cume of $154.1M. "Bug's Life" has already outgrossed Disney's "Pocohontas" ($141.6M) but won't reach Pixar's blockbuster first effort "Toy Story" which accumulated $191.8M. Disney's live-action/CGI "Mighty Joe Young" moved up a slot to 13th with $1.6M amassing $45.5M in 6 weeks.
With the holidays behind and the children back in school, this winter's animated films are slowly starting to head out and make way for spring's batch of films. DreamWorks' "The Prince of Egypt" held eighth place with $3.6M after 6 weeks of release for a grand total of $87.3M. Disney/Pixar's "A Bug's Life" passed the $150M mark placing twelfth with a grand cume of $151.7M. The family-targeted Disney remake of "Mighty Joe Young," featuring extensive CGI work took fourteenth amassing $2.5M and a 5-week sum of $43.4M.