The X-MEN are gaining more ground in international theatres with top seat debuts in France, U.K. and Brazil. In France, the superhero saga racked up an impressive US$5.83 million in its opening weekend. Holding steady at #2, Americas summer smash, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2, amassed another $2.65 million, bringing its French cume to $23.18 million. THE PERFECT STORM sank from first to fourth, with a gross of $2.33 million, raising its French cume to $6.77 million. Falling a spot to land in sixth, GLADIATOR garnered $861,846, advancing its French cume to $29.59 million.
Quincy Jones Media Group and Gerber Pictures have teamed with Warner Bros. to bring the Looney Tunes characters back to the big screen in a feature film currently known as "untitled Looney Tunes car project." According to the DAILY VARIETY, the pic will use classic characters, like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, in live-action sequences much like the 1996 film, SPACE JAM. Ken Kaufman, co-writer of Warners SPACE COWBOYS, has been brought on to write the script. Quincy Jones president Joel Simon and Gerber head Billy Gerber are set to produce the film. Overseeing the project for Warner Bros.
Aspiring actors can breathe a collective sigh of relief. The news item, originally reported in the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and then trickled down through many media sources, that director Andrew Niccol had chosen to create a CGI lead for his next dramatic film, SIMONE, is incorrect. Apparently, the REPORTER confused production information with the plot, which tells the story of a producer (Al Pacino) whose lead actress walks off the set. He then replaces her with a life-like CGI actress which he tries to pass off as real.
This weeks international box office saw big premieres for X-MEN and GONE IN 60 SECONDS and the quick disappearance of THE PATRIOT. In the U.K., X-MEN hit it big with a stellar US$7.08 million three-day take. The mighty mutants had the second highest opening of the year behind TOY STORY 2 and the eighth highest in the countrys history. Holding on at #2, STUART LITTLE landed another $1.11 million, lifting its British cume to $20.24 million. GONE IN 60 SECONDS slipped from first to third, with a gross of $952,847, raising its British cume to $7.95 million.
With the summer money flow slowing down, THE CELL captured the top spot in another fairly low ticket sale weekend in the U.S. The ALICE IN WONDERLAND meets SILENCE OF THE LAMBS thriller, with primary visual effects by Toybox, grossed US$17.52 million. Showing that old guys have legs, SPACE COWBOYS settled in third with a gross of $9.48 million. Falling a spot behind the debut of the stage comedy film THE ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY, COWBOYS, with primary visual effects by ILM, has rounded up $53.78 million thus far. Rising a slot to finish fifth, WHAT LIES BENEATH floated another $6.76 million.
David Hayter, the only writer credited on screen for the blockbuster hit X-MEN, has been brought in to scribe the sequel to PITCH BLACK and rewrite THE HULK. PITCH BLACK 2 continues where the first film left off and will be produced by Interscope, producers of the original. PITCH star Vin Diesel has been signed to return. Currently, THE HULK project has scripts from Michael Tolkin (THE PLAYER, DEEP IMPACT) and Mike France (CLIFFHANGER). Hayter will morph the two HULK versions into one script like he did for X-MEN.
Warner Bros. has set into motion pre-production on a live-action rendition of BATMAN BEYOND. Tapped to direct the picture is Boaz Yakin, director of PRICE ABOVE RUBIES and the upcoming REMEMBER THE TITANS. The most exciting news is that long time BATMAN/SUPERMAN and BATMAN BEYOND writers Paul Dini and Alan Burnett have been asked to scribe the feature. No budget has been set, but AINT IT COOL NEWS has rumored that funds will be determined based on the script Dini and Burnett write.
Roy Disney has agreed to help director Richard Williams restore his masterpiece, THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER, to the version he had originally intended to make. The heart-wrenching saga of the THIEF began after Williams success on WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? With the backing of Warner Bros., the filmmaker set out to finish his then 20 years in the making feature about a mute cobbler and an unsuccessful thief. The stipulation attached to the project was that Williams must finish the film for a 1992 release. The production fell behind schedule and Warner Bros.
Harvey Entertainment has announced their acquisition of the U.S. rights from Pearson Television International for the feature-length film A MONKEYS TALE. The film follows the story of two tribes of monkeys one tree dwelling and one ground dwelling and what happens when one curious ape falls into the other tribes world. The film recently won best animated feature at the Hollywood Film Festival and the Toronto Sun Animation Award at the Sprockets International Film Festival for Children.
In London for the sold out SIMPSONS live script reading stage show, SIMPSONS creator Matt Groening confirmed that a SIMPSONS feature is in the planning stage. Groening said, "Its a little daunting coming up with a half-hour TV episode, let alone a full-length feature. No deals have been struck, but we will do one." The television classic is now in its tenth season and is the longest running sitcom on U.S. television
In a lackluster weekend at the U.S. box office, early reports had Sonys HOLLOW MAN and Warner Bros. SPACE COWBOYS running neck-and-neck for the top spot, but in the end MAN finished first by a nose. HOLLOW, with primary visual effects by The Ranch Entertainment, Tippett Studios and Sony Imageworks, held on to first place, adding US$13.05 million to its $50.3 million cume. COWBOYS, with primary visual effects by ILM, moved up a spot to settle for second and a gross of $13.02 million, bringing its 10-day cume to $39.02 million.
After its first full week in theatres, THE PATRIOT finished at the top in Germany, Spain and Brazil. In Germany, THE PATRIOT fought out the debut of CHICKEN RUN with a gross of US$1.62 million, bringing its cume to $6.05 million. CHICKEN came in with a gross of $1.35 million. Dropping two slots to fourth, THE PERFECT STORM washed up $569,269, advancing its cume to $9.63 million. TITAN A.E. premiered in fifth with a gross of $491,902. Slipping to sixth, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 added $463,141 to its German cume of $23.08 million.
In a lackluster weekend at the U.S. box office, early reports have Sonys HOLLOW MAN and Warner Bros. SPACE COWBOYS finishing neck-and-neck for the top spot. COWBOYS, with primary visual effects by ILM, moved up from third to claim an early-tally share of #1, with a gross of $13.1 million, bringing its 10-day cume to $39.1 million. HOLLOW, with primary visual effects by The Ranch Entertainment, Tippett Studios and Sony Imageworks, held on to a piece of first place, adding 13.1 million to its $50.4 million cume.
A long list of Hollywood heavyweights has been announced as the voice cast for Disney/Pixars upcoming CGI feature MONSTERS, INC. The star-studded cast includes Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tily, Bonnie Hunt and first-timer Mary Gibbs. The film chronicles what happens when a careless monster lets a human girl into the land of spooks and scares. Goodman will voice James P. Sullivan, a large, furry and horned employee of Monsters Inc. Voicing Sullivans sassy one-eyed sidekick will be Crystal.
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.
Berkeley Breathed, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and childrens author, is set to make his directorial debut with the filmed version of his newest book, EDWURD FUDWUPPER FIBBED BIG. Nickelodeon Movies and Storyopolis are set to produce the seven-minute short. The book will be released next month by Storyopolis and Little, Brown Co. Sources say the film will screen in theatres in the fall, which might signal its attachment to the release of RUGRATS IN PARIS, but no official word has been announced.
Former Disney chairman Joe Roths Revolution Studios will turn the Web series, LIL PIMP, into a Flash-animated feature. The MediaTrip.com series will be the first feature length film to be animated using Macromedias Flash software. Creators Paul Gilstrap and Mark Brooks with their team of four animators are set to scribe, produce and direct the project. Production on the flick could begin as early as three to four weeks. No monetary details have been released, however Gilstrap and Brooks look to make most of their money from backend revenues.
With several debuts around the globe, THE PATRIOT has won the war for international box office supremacy. Premiering at #1 in Germany, the Mel Gibson-starrer grossed a hefty $3.23 million. Slipping to second, THE PERFECT STORM garnered $1.29 million, raising its German cume to $8.62 million. Down one to #4, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 added another $1.01 million to its $22.42 million German cume. At #8, THE TIGGER MOVIE rounded up an additional $206,761, bringing its German cume to $3.97 million. In its 10th week in Germany, GLADIATOR grossed $119,979 in tenth, advancing its cume to $19.99 million.
With three major releases this past weekend, Sony Pictures HOLLOW MAN was far from invisible at the U.S. box office, finishing in first place. The INVISIBLE MAN redux, with primary visual effects by The Ranch Entertainment, Tippett Studios and Sony Imageworks, grossed US$26.41 million, giving it the second largest August opening in history. Falling to second, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS dropped 58% from its debut weekend, with a gross of $18.17 million. The phat festival, with primary visual effects by Double Negative Ltd., has rounded up $76.7 million thus far.
With MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 still holding on in many countries, PERFECT STORMs debut in Hong Kong and the U.K. shook up the international box office. Finishing at the top spot in the U.K., STORM grossed US$2.86 million over the weekend and $3.25 million since its Wednesday nod. Slipping to #2, STUART LITTLE grossed $2.08 million, advancing its British cume to $9.59 million. The U.K. sensation, CHICKEN RUN, amassed another $1.82 million in third, bringing its cume to $28.85 million.
Disneys newest animated feature LILO AND STITCH has begun production. The long in the works project has begun initial production at Disneys Orlando animation studio. Some of the production is scheduled to be done in Hawaii where the story is based. The film tells the tale of a Hawaiian girl who adopts a dog that is really an evil space alien. Jason Scott Lee (RUDYARD KIPLING'S THE JUNGLE BOOK) has signed on to voice a muscular, tanned surfboard salesmen, while Tia Carrere (WAYNES WORLD) will voice Lilo's sister.
In typical summer blockbuster fashion, the newly released NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS has dethroned last weeks U.S. box office champion WHAT LIES BENEATH. The KLUMPS Eddie Murphy-marathon, with primary visual effects by Double Negative Ltd., finished in first place with a gross of US$42.52 million. WHAT LIES came in at second with a gross of $22.86 million. The Harrison Ford haunter, with primary visual effects by SPI, has rounded up $69.35 million in only 10 days in release. In third, THE X-MEN grossed $12.68 million.
Lucasfilm and fledgling Japanese anime company, Anime World Osaka, have agreed to co-produce an animated feature film entitled, THE TINY FAIRY MIRUN. As reported in YOMIURI SHIMBUN, George Lucas will executive produce the project. Osaka is set to provide the US$18.5 million budget. Lucas is scheduled to go to Osaka in September after production calms down on STAR WARS EPISODE II to sign the official contract. In a flip-flop of the usual process, Anime World will create the master illustrations in Osaka and ship the drawings to Lucasfilm for in-betweens.
With more summer blockbusters arriving in international theatres, the old guard is weaning. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2, however, is still strong, finishing atop the charts in Italy, Sweden Japan and Spain. In its second week, M:I 2 grossed another US$700,928 in Italy, raising its cume to $6.82 million. GLADIATOR is losing its power, slipping a spot in Italy to finish at #4 with a gross of $103,693, bringing its Italian cume to $8.64 million. In Sweden, GLADITOR also finished in 4th place with a gross of $217,952, advancing its cume to $3.93 million.
The live-action cast for OSMOSIS JONES just keeps getting bigger. SNLs Molly Shannon and Chris Elliot have been added to the live-action cast, which includes Bill Murray. The story centers on a man (Murray) who gets sick and the white blood cell (voiced by Chris Rock) and cold pill (voiced by David Hyde Pierce) that race to battle the virus overtaking his body. The animated portion will take place in Murrays body, while the live-action takes part in the outside world. Shannon will play Murrays daughters schoolteacher and Elliot will play Murrays best friend.