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May 22, 2006

Worth a Mention - May 22, 2006


Variety Contradicts 'Indy 4' Script Approval


(spielbergfilms.com) Coming just days after MTV Movies published a direct quote from "Indiana Jones 4" creator/producer George Lucas, in which Lucas specifically said the latest draft of the fourth Indy script, "works like crazy," industry trade bible Variety published an astonishingly contradictory second-hand quote that they attribute to Steven Spielberg.

In a brand-new article on Lucas' continuing work on the "Star Wars" saga, mention of his other long-running series wraps up the write-up, in which Variety drops the following bombshell:

"A long-gestating fourth installment [of 'Indiana Jones'] is still on the radar. But even Steven Spielberg, Lucas' partner on the action series, is taking a wait-and-see view. The helmer says the notoriously picky Lucas continues to nix drafts of the fourth Indy script."

For its part, I hope Variety is on the money with this info and not misstating Spielberg's sentiments, because they may have just started a geek war here online. Duck and cover, boys. Duck and cover.


Dark Crystal 2 Production Gets Closer

(muppetcentral.com) Henson Company co-CEO Brian Henson got on the phone with Now Playing recently to promote the DVD release of the first two seasons of the animatronic sitcom Dinosaurs. And it didn’t take long for him to begin spilling secrets about his upcoming projects.

On the front burner for Henson is a sequel to the cult classic The Dark Crystal. “We are trying to pull the business pieces together on a Dark Crystal sequel. That one’s pretty far along. It’s got a good, strong script, a great vision for how to do it and we’re just trying to [put it together].”

Much of the talent involved with the original Dark Crystal has left the Henson Company, so recreating that world will take more than just rebuilding the puppets. “For Dark Crystal, almost none of the voices were actually the puppeteers, so they were mostly voice artists. Where characters need to have the same voice we would likely try to find those voice artists or look for other voice artists.”

If Dark Crystal 2 happens, the obvious follow-up to Labyrinth would not be far behind. But Henson’s not thinking of an outright sequel for that world. “Actually, we’re talking about doing something different with Labyrinth but I can’t really talk about it. So we’re not really working on a sequel for Labyrinth right now, but Dark Crystal we are.”

Bay Area VES Branch Kick-off Meeting - April 19th

(visualeffectssociety.com) We are pleased to announce the kick-off of the first VES Section for our Bay Area members. As you know, last summer the Board of Directors approved the creation of Sections to allow VES members to organize local events and initiatives. To start a Section, a minimum of 50 VES members signatures must be obtained.

On Wednesday, April 19th, at Industrial Light & Magic, VES Executive Director Eric Roth will kick-off the Bay Area Section with the election of Section Officers and to commence the planning of future events. There will also be a tour of ILM following the meeting. The event is open to all VES members so please RSVP to Marjolaine Tremblay-Silva at marjo@elementfx.net or (415) 455-9990 if you can make it. Also, please contact Marjo if you would like to volunteer and/or have event ideas. Special thanks to Marjo for organizing the Section and to ILM's Chrissie England and Jennifer Coronado for hosting this event.

Narnia and King Kong Top Draws For 2005


(nzherald.co.nz) Two New Zealand films have been ranked among the top 10 wordwide in terms of 2005 box office revenue.

In its annual report on world film market trends released this week Cannes European Cinema ranked The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe seventh and King Kong eighth.

Narnia made US$428 ($695) million and King Kong US$388 ($630) million, despite being released only in December.

The two movies were filmed on location and in studios in New Zealand by directors, Andrew Adamson for Narnia and Peter Jackson for King Kong.

The top-ranked film, Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith made US$848 million.

Film New Zealand hailed the rankings as an achievement for the local industry.

"This achievement for New Zealand's screen production industry illustrates the range of advantages New Zealand offers as a film-making centre -- from diverse locations, highly skilled crews and effects capability and the Large Budget Screen Production grant as an additional critical incentive," Film New Zealand chief executive Judith McCann said.

* Top 10 films with revenues:

1. Star Wars III: the Revenge of the Sith US$848 million

2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire US$808 million

3. War of the Worlds US$591 million

4. Madagascar US$533 million

5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory US$472 million

6. Mr and Mrs Smith US$468 million

7. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe US$428

8. King Kong US$388

9. Batman Begins US$371 million

10.Hitch US$367 million


$40 Million CG Sheepish Feature Revealed

(cgchar-animation.com) After John Malone's Liberty Media said it would acquire IDT Entertainment in a deal worth more than $200 million this week, IDT unveiled in Cannes plans for a $40 million budgeted toon tale Sheepish. Picture follows a wolf who violates the code of his species and is cursed to become a sheep. Saul Blinkoff and Elliott Bour have been tapped to helm the pic. Blinkoff was an animator on "Tarzan" and "Mulan," and Bour was an animator on "Mulan," "The Lion King" and "Aladdin." The duo co-helmed "Kronk's New Groove" for Buena Vista Home Video.

Skedded to head into production next year, "Sheepish" is based on an original script by Bart Coughlin, a character technical director on "Shrek."

IDT prexy of feature films and TV Neil Braun said that the project will have the sensibility of "Tootsie," and that the lead lupine character "learns to be a better wolf when he sees what it's like from the other side."

He added that IDT has taken foreign tastes into account in creating the project.

"Economically, it works best when you anticipate the value of what you are doing in different cultures," said Braun, also prexy and COO of Vanguard Animation. "We'd prefer to have key working relationships in foreign territories, and to have an ongoing dialogue to keep our production team informed."

Unit -- which has animation facilities in Burbank, Toronto, Vancouver and Israel, and reps rights via IDT Entertainment Sales -- hit Cannes in the middle of building live-action production and theatrical distrib operations under former MGM No. 2 Chris McGurk.

McGurk said that he's been cautious about choosing the right product and partners to kick-start the indie studio.

"We are not aiming to chase bigger-budget and general audience films," said the exec. "We want to be in the targeted-audience business, and we're being very selective in aligning the right product and the right filmmakers."

IDT has a domestic distrib pact with Twentieth Century Fox through 2008, and owns DVD imprint Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Moving to Liberty, IDT will effectively turn its new parent's Starz paybox banner into a small-scale media conglom.

Upcoming IDT credits include Christopher Reeve's "Everyone's Hero" and the comedy "Space Chimps."

National Museum of Photo, Film & TV Pay Tribute to Harryhausen

(PRnewswire) The National Museum of Photography Film & Television presents the most comprehensive exhibition for almost 20 years of the work - and the inspiration behind it - of the acknowledged godfather of movie creature effects, Ray Harryhausen. The renowned creator of special effects for films such as The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and Jason and the Argonauts, Ray is widely admired by filmmakers and audiences alike for his imaginative, groundbreaking animation work.

This new exhibition from the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford looks at the imagination and research that went into conceiving the fantastic creatures which populate Harryhausen's films, and the sources of his inspiration, ranging from Willis O'Brien - the creator of King Kong - to the prehistoric animal paintings of Charles R. Knight and the work of 18th and 19th century artists such as Gandy and Doré, whose subjects were drawn from the Bible and the Classical world.

Myths and Visions - The Art of Ray Harryhausen
National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford
19 May to 24 September 2006
Admission free. Box Office 0870 70 10 200.

Murphy and Press Have Telepathy

(production weekly) Cillian Murphy (Red Eye, Batman Begins) and Natalie Press will star in the sci-fi feature Telepathy, to be directed by Lesley Manning from a script by Stephen Volk.

According to Production Weekly, the film tells the story of Josef and Viktor Zalenski, estranged identical twin brothers who are chosen by the Russian government as the subjects of a top-secret experiment to test the powers of telepathy as a viable form of communication between earth and outer spcae.

Miranda Richardson and Sam Neill are also starring in the film, which begins shooting in October.

New Animation and VFX Facility in London

(news.awn.com) Rainmaker has established a new facility in the Soho district of London: Rainmaker Animation and Visual Effects UK Ltd. In fact, all the visual effects in the St. Sulpice sequence of THE DA VINCI CODE were completed there. Led by Rainmaker visual effects supervisor Mark Breakspear and visual effects producer Nick Drew, the crew produced the longest visual effects sequence in the film.

Rainmaker Animation & Effects president Warren Franklin stated, "The visual effects industry is a growing, dynamic global business and the U.K. is a very important market. Establishing a facility in London was a natural extension for us as it enables us to offer our clients the high quality, creative service they have come to know from Rainmaker, when and if they are producing films in that market.

"Our exec producer in London, Roma O'Connor, is a highly experienced visual effects executive, who was also a senior producer at Jim Henson's Creature Shop. She and her team will concentrate on feature and television films and offer cutting edge visual effects combined with 'user-friendly\u2019 client service. We are also pleased to announce that we have been awarded our second film, BUTTERFLY ON A WHEEL, and visual effects supervisor Adam Gascoyne has been brought on board to supervise."

The crew's investigative ability to capture the essence of the St. Sulpice Chapel in Paris, and to translate that effectively to CG, was a key reason Rainmaker UK was awarded THE DA VINCI CODE.

In the Vancouver facility, Rainmaker is currently working on NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, BLADES OF GLORY and GARFIELD'S A TALE OF TWO KITTIES.

Paul Giamatti is Dr. Satan

(cinescape.com) Paul Giamatti will lend his voice to the cast of Rob Zombie Presents the Haunted World of El Superbeasto (Superbeasto). Giamatti will voice Dr. Satan, the film's main villain.

Superbeasto will be a 2-D animated comedy based on the Spookshow International comic book The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. It follows the exploits of a washed-up Mexican wrestler, El Superbeasto, in the mythic world of Monsterland.

Tom Papa will voice El Superbeasto. Sheri Moon Zombi and Brian Posehn will also voice characters.

George's Clone Wars

(variety.com) One year after the final "Star Wars" installment hit the bigscreen, George LucasGeorge Lucas continues to mine the Force for major coincoin.

Heading into last week's E3 vidgame confabconfab, Lucasfilm said it would release the theatrical version of the original trilogy on disc for the first time -- a seeming reversal of the filmmaker's earlier vow to never do so -- concurrent with vidgame sequel "Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy" and a new line of toys.

And next month, his new publishing imprint rolls out "Cinema by the Bay," a handsome coffee-table tome on Bay Area filmmakers such as Francis Ford CoppolaFrancis Ford Coppola, Carroll BallardCarroll Ballard and PixarPixar -- and with chapters devoted to each installment of "Star Wars."

Fans greeted the latest DVD initiative with mixed emotions. Purists rejoiced at the chance to watch the "Star Wars" films as they first appeared on the bigscreen, while others grumbled online at the prospect of ponying up for yet another set of discs.

Lucas opted not to release the original theatrical version on DVD two years ago, instead upgrading the f/xf/x and recutting the pics to integrate them with his prequels. He said then that was the way he intended the pics to be presented. Now, both versions will be available on each disc.

Lucas is exploring new projects not directly tied to his past. Publishing director Lucy Wilson says the second book from George Lucas Press is a statistical look at everything in the world that kills you. "His interests are not just limited to one subject," she says.

No Job Cuts For Intel

(news.zdnet.com) Intel is unlikely to shut plants or slash jobs following a top-to-bottom review announced last month to address shrinking market share and slowing computer sales, a senior executive said Sunday.

"That has not been the expected outcome," Gordon Graylish, Intel's vice president and general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told Reuters. He said Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini "certainly shared that as well."

Otellini said last month that "no stone will remain unturned," raising expectations among analysts that the chipmaker, which employs nearly 100,000 people, could cut jobs and overhaul key parts of its business.

DIE HARD 4 May Be a Go

(cinescape.com) Bruce Willis has announced that shooting on a fourth Die Hard movie is as close to starting as ever.

"We're as close as we've ever got to getting Die Hard 4 started," Willis said. "It won't be called Die Hard 4 but that will be the story. Hopefully it will be out next summer."

There had been rumors of script problems slowing development as it seems the script centered on a giant wave hitting New Orleans. A new script seems to have been created and the movie seems to be moving forward. A rumored working title was Die Hard 4: Die Hardest, but that will probably change in the near future if the project gets underway again.

The original Die Hard hit theaters in 1988.

Guillermo Plots A New Trilogy Entry

(empireonline.com) While Guillermo Del Toro still plans to direct The Witches and Hellboy 2, he hasn’t forgotten about his planned Spanish trilogy.

He’ll follow The Devil’s Backbone and the incoming Pan’s Labyrinth with 3993, written by Sergio Sanchez.

According to the director, the movie will "portray 1990s Spain, how it still has some fantastical rooting in things that happened in 1939.

Variety Publishes VFX Resource Guide

Take a look: http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=resourceguide

A Visit From The Tooth Fairy

(sliceofscifi) The writing team of Lowell Gantz and Babaloo Mandel have been given the job of turning the 17-page Jim Piddock treatment of “The Tooth Fairy” into a full-scripted family-fable comedy.

Gantz and Mandel have worked together in the past and written such family comic successes as “Splash,” the Ron Howard film starring Tom Hanks, “Parenthood” with Steve Martin, “Robots” starring the voice of Robin Williams and “Fever Pitch” with Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon.

Other than what might be construed from the title and the announcement by 20th Century Fox that it will be a family oriented fantasy and comedy, not much else is known about the plot at this point and the studio plans on keeping a tight lid on it, at least until the completion of Gantz and Babaloo’s first draft.

Jason Blum is set to produce for Fox and Piddock will fill the role of executive producer.

-H

Posted by dschnee at May 22, 2006 05:19 AM

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