Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies have announced that the third installment of the RUGRATS movie franchise will team the precocious tykes with the characters from Nick's THE WILD THORNBERRYS. Los Angeles animation house Klasky Csupo, who produces the TV versions of THE RUGRATS and THE WILD THORNBERRYS, will produce the feature film with Paramount distributing it. No release date has been set of yet. The second edition of the theatrical franchise, RUGRATS IN PARIS, now in theaters, has grossed US$60.5 million to date and reportedly cost only $30 million to make.
CHARLIE'S ANGELS is still kicking at the international box office, but HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS and DINOSAUR are knocking on the door. The premiere of ANGELS in Germany knocked THE GRINCH out of the top spot with a gross of $4.1 million. THE GRINCH fell to second with a ticket take of $1.98 million, elevating its German cume to $4.58 million. In its third week in Germany, DINOSAUR slipped to third with gross of $1.7 million, advancing its cume to $9.52 million. In fourth, THE CELL captured another $1.58 million, pushing its German cume to $4.52 million.
Disney's DINOSAUR was released without any restriction in Italy and is gaining quite a bit of heat over the violent content. The film was released on December 1 with a suitable-for-all-ages rating, spurring complaints from parental associations like Italy's Parents Movement, child psychologists and government agencies like the Special Senate Commission for Infants. Currently, Italy has three rating levels: suitable-for-all-ages; under 14 not admitted; and under 18 not admitted.
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS snowballed all the newcomers in its fourth weekend at the U.S. box office. The Who-ville hijinks, with primary visual effects by Digital Domain, shoveled in another US$18.65 million, piling its green up to the tune of $195.6 million. Therefore, the debut of VERTICAL LIMIT landed in second. The K2 rescue flick, with primary visual effects by Centropolis Effects, dug up $15.51 million. PROOF OF LIFE's premiere had to settle for a lackluster third place finish. The kidnapping love triangle, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, garnered $10.21 million.
Around the world, moviegoers are being swept up in the sexy, high-kicking, MATRIX-like action of CHARLIE'S ANGELS. The television redux made its nod in the U.K. with an outstanding gross of US$6.74 million. In its sixth week in Britain, WHAT LIES BENEATH sunk to second, grossing $1.12 million, thus escalating its cume to $17.41 million. In fourth, BEDAZZLED possessed another $680,873, lifting its U.K. cume to $4.21 million. PITCH BLACK turned up in fifth, grossing $572,299, thereby pushing its U.K. cume to $3.64 million.
Fox 2000 has brought Ron "Gustin" Parker in to write the action-comedy-mystery feature script for THE HARDY MEN. The story will feature grown-up feuding Hardy Boys, who must re-team to save their kidnapped father. The original idea for the project came to Fox four years ago by writer Michael Sargent. Parker, who has sold his scripts TYPHOID HARRY to Paramount Pictures and IMAGING NATHAN to Universal Pictures, will do a complete rewrite of the original Sargent script.
Without any major new releases in U.S. theaters, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS grabbed the top spot once again. The cartoon redux, with primary visual effects by Digital Domain, grossed another US$27.1 million, climbing its total take at U.S. box offices to a whopping $172 million. The rest of the top five also remained the same, with UNBREAKABLE collecting $14.44 million in second. The superhero drama, with primary visual effects by The Secret Lab and TSL, has a cume of $66.35 million thus far. 102 DALMATIANS was spotted in third, with a gross of $8.3 million.
Disney's in-development animated feature SWEATING BULLETS has gained a voice cast. Oscar winners Cuba Gooding Jr. and Judi Dench will join Sarah Jessica Parker and Ja'Net DuBois on the cast of the Western-themed musical. Randy Quaid is also in talks to voice a character. The story chronicles a group of cows who team together to save their farm. No production date has been announced, but the film has been in development for about three years.
With international numbers trickling in due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, it looks like CHARLIE'S ANGELS is charming audiences around the world. In its U.K. debut, ANGELS raked in a whopping US$4.52 million. After five-weeks in U.K. theatres, WHAT LIES BENEATH sunk to second, with a gross of $768,052, elevating its cume to $16.39 million. In fourth, BEDAZZLED danced in with $505,329, raising its U.K. cume to $3.92 million. LITTLE NICKY possessed 5th place, grossing $385,214, thereby growing its U.K. cume to $1.46 million.
For the second straight weekend, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS has captured the top spot at the U.S. box office. With the second highest all time five-day Thanksgiving holiday cume of US$73.8 million, THE GRINCH, with primary visual effects by Digital Domain, has nabbed an amazing $137.1 million in just ten days. Therefore, director M. Night Shyamalan's follow-up to last year's sleeper hit, THE SIXTH SENSE, UNBREAKABLE had to settle for a second place debut.
Nickelodeon Films and Paramount Pictures have asked producer/actor Dan Schneider to pen the script for their next animated feature based on Keith Graves' short story PET BOY. The story will unravel the adventures of a pet-loving boy and his trip to an alien planet after discovering a secret alien pet selling operation at his local pet store. The project came to Nick as a pitch from Graves and producer John Williams. Schneider might be best known for his role as Dennis on the '80s sitcom HEAD OF THE CLASS.
Despite the threat of an actors' strike at the end of June, Columbia Pictures and Amblin Entertainment have decided to start the production of MEN IN BLACK 2 on June 3. Priority will be set on New York exteriors and heavy effects shots. Therefore, if an actors' strike does disrupt shooting the visual effects artists can start on the effects in the interim. The first MEN IN BLACK stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are set to return with Barry Sonnenfeld reprising his role as director.
On Monday, November 20, 2000, DreamWorks announced it would release its US$186.6 million summer blockbuster GLADIATOR on Imax screens. The film will hit theaters in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Toronto and other major cities on Wednesday, November 22, one day after it hits video stores on VHS and DVD. The flick will be shown in its original 35mm format. No details on the financial terms of the deal between Imax and DreamWorks were released. When Disney's FANTASIA/2000 played on the giant screens in January, the two companies split the proceeds 50/50.
GLADIATOR director Ridley Scott and mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer have teamed up to produce a new pirate picture entitled CAPTAIN KIDD, based on the life of the 17th century pirate. The film will be a co-production between Disney and Scott's Scott Free Films with Scott directing. Disney bought the idea in a near six-figure deal with writers Doug Cook and David Weisberg (THE ROCK and DOUBLE JEOPARDY).
SCARY MOVIE, WHAT LIES BENEATH and CHARLIE'S ANGELS all held strong at the international box office. In Italy, SCARY MOVIE debuted at #1 with a strong gross of US$2.28 million. Dropping a lofty 59%, X-MEN fell to sixth, grossing $466,646, thereby lifting its Italian cume to $4.1 million. In seventh, FREQUENCY channeled $460,570 in its Italian premiere. In France, SCARY MOVIE held onto the top spot with a gross of $2.32 million, raising its cume to $15.24 million. The French debut of SHAFT, therefore, had to settle for second, grossing $1.62 million.
At this weekend's box office, Universal's HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS thieved the U.S. crown with a multi-record breaking premiere. The GRINCH grossed US$55.08 million, making it the biggest debut for star Jim Carrey and director Ron Howard, best non-holiday debut in November, biggest opening for a non-sequel and the eighth biggest weekend gross of all time. Therefore, Paramount and Nickelodeon's THE RUGRATS IN PARIS had to settle for a second place premiere. The second feature based on the wildly popular RUGRATS TV series, with animation by Klasky Csupo, grossed $22.72 million.
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.
Stan Lee Media (SLM) has signed a deal with Warner Bros. Pictures to develop a new feature film based on the Conan character. Andy and Larry Wachowski, creators of THE MATRIX, have signed on to produce with CONAN THE BARBARIAN director John Milius set to write and direct. The deal allows SLM to exploit the brand across several media outlets with an animated series in the works for television and Internet distribution. SLM only bought the rights to Conan from Conan Properties, Inc. in September.
Over the past week at the international box office, DreamWorks' WHAT LIES BENEATH and Miramax's SCARY MOVIE have fought it out for global wealth. In the U.K., WHAT LIES over took the top spot by grossing US$2.98 million, thus pushing its 3-week U.K. cume to $12.28 million. Dropping 64% in its fourth full week, DINOSAUR fell to fourth in the U.K., with a gross of $1.44 million, escalating its cume to $17.44 million. In seventh, THE LITTLE VAMPIRE grabbed $670,689, growing its U.K. cume to $4.52 million. In Australia, WHAT LIES BENEATH's debut claimed first place with a gross of $1.72 million.
X-MEN director Bryan Singer is in early talks with Fox to take the helm of the X-MEN sequel. When signing onto the first film, the original cast, which included Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, agreed to return for up to two sequels. The talks may be just a matter of ironing out financial terms, for Singer said going into the first picture he was interested in developing the film into a franchise. A start date and how Singer will work around his prior directorial commitments are yet to be announced. X-MEN has grossed US$157.2 million in the States alone.
AtomFilms has signed a deal with Century Theatres to screen six short films before each feature showing at the newly opened CineArts 6 in Evanston, Illinois. This move is part of Atom's plan to spur other theater chains to start screening shorts. The screenings also provide eligibility for the short subjects to be nominated for the Oscar, which could gain even more exposure for Atom and its film library. Harry Warren, AtomFilms' VP of broadcast and theatrical distribution, said, "AtomFilms strives to provide the best exposure for its talented filmmakers.
At this weekend's U.S. box office, CHARLIE'S ANGELS held back the debut of Adam Sandler's LITTLE NICKY, which has the comedian playing the Devil's son. ANGELS kicked in another US$24.61 million. The sexy super-agent flick, with primary visual effects by Flash Film Works, has seduced $75.01 million in just 10 days. LITTLE NICKY, with primary visual effects by VisionArt, Pixel Magic and Rhythm & Hues, had to settle for second with a gross of $16.06 million. Having its release date pushed from the heavy effects laden summer, Warner Bros.' RED PLANET still had a disappointing debut in fifth.
Pixar Animation Studios has started production on FINDING NEMO, its fifth CGI collaboration with Walt Disney Pictures. The studio described the film as an underwater adventure about a father who must find his kidnapped son. Andrew Stanton (co-director of "A Bug's Life") had been tapped to write and direct the project. The film is scheduled for a summer 2003 release, which would be the first for a Pixar 3D-animated picture. However, Disney's traditionally animated feature LILO & STICH is scheduled for release around the same time.
Imax has canceled plans to release DreamWorks' 3D feature SHREK on 150 giant screens. Apparently, increased costs associated with creative changes at DreamWorks have led to Imax abandoning the project. Last month, Imax's stock dropped 70% after the company reported an earnings loss warning for the quarter. This project originally looked like a promising financial boost for Imax (and the distribution of animation) after their big success with the release of FANTASIA/2000. SHREK is scheduled to arrive in regular theaters on May 18, 2001.
SCARY MOVIE continues to do well internationally with other thrillers and chillers claiming victories around the globe. In France, SCARY debuted in first place with a gross of $5.36 million. Down to #6, THE CELL captured $568,287, increasing its French cume to $1.78 million. CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON jumped in at #7, grossing $560,303 thus elevating its French cume to $6.3 million. THE ROAD TO EL DORADO made its French premiere in eighth with a gross of $473,842. In Mexico, SCRAY MOVIE also claimed the top spot with a gross of $1.4 million, advancing its cume to $3.72 million.