FX Movie News: 10-23-06

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Star Trek XI Moving At Warp Speed?; Spider-Man 3 Producer Talks Groundbreaking Visual Effects; Weekend B.O Nightmare Before Xmas; $200M Epic Halo Won’t Die; Serkis: Beowulf Is The Future; HELLRAISER Remake Budgets For “effects and all that cool stuff”; Harry Potter Film Crew Closes Down London Tube; Did Michael Bay Steal The Island?; Actor Ford ‘Fit’ To Play Indiana Jones; MGM Deal a Bold Miscalculation for Sony; I AM LEGEND Makeup FX Artist Announced; VFX Films Top Guinness Record-Breaking Movies List

Star Trek XI Moving At Warp Speed?

(TrekMovie) Although “Star Trek XI” is still just in development, the assumption is that Trek XI will get a greenlight and will be one of Paramount’s tentpoles for Summer 2008.

Apparently the first draft of the script is due shortly and the filmmakers are already seeing actors for the major parts. The official greenlight on the project is expected in December, pre-production to begin a month later, and shooting as early as an April/May start.

So far J.J. Abrams is rumoured to be looking at many of his “M:I-III” crew to work on Trek XI with him.

Spider-Man 3 Producer Talks Groundbreaking Visual Effects

(superherohype.com) Spider-Man 3 producer Grant Curtis has updated the official Blog with the announcement that he is writing a making of book for the third film and also talks about the work the production is currently doing on the special effects. Here’s a clip:

On the movie front, Sam and Bob are editing on a daily basis and we continue to meet with visual effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk and his team from Sony Pictures Imageworks to go over the latest visual effects shots. Additionally, a couple weeks ago Scott was quite busy overseeing a miniature shoot we did with Ian Hunter and David Sanger of New Deal Studios. Ian, David and their talented team built a portion of a skyscraper at 1/16 scale and then proceeded to rip portions of it apart per the action taking place in Sam’s storyboards and animatic.

As amazing as our CGI buildings are, Scott wanted to build a miniature for two main reasons. For starters, by utilizing a miniature, you have the luxury of the resulting debris reacting in the “real world,” just as it would if this really happened. There is no guess work or interpretation as to how beams would fall and floors would break away. Additionally, any time there is a practical way to film a shot, just as long as it looks as good as its CGI counterpart, Scott is in favor of the real world option.

The work that Imageworks is doing on “Spider-Man 3” is groundbreaking. Literally, the computer programs required to make our characters perform as they need to for the movie did not exist when we started working on “Spider-Man 3.” Imageworks has written a whole new set of computer programs for this picture and the results are mind blowing. Therefore, needless to say, if there is ever an opportunity to shoot something practically and take it off the CGI plate, Scott goes for it so that he and his team can focus on those shots which can only be executed via the computer.


[Editor’s Note: Wonder if I’ll get interviewed for the book. It’s not likely as Imageworks will probably take credit themselves for everything we do]


(boxofficemojo.com) Domestic Total as of Oct. 22, 2006: $3,282,000 (Estimate).

168 theaters, $19,535 average.
Domestic Lifetime Gross: $53,661,629.

$200M Epic Halo Won’t Die

(scifi.com) Undaunted by the pullout of Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox, Microsoft vowed to pursue the production of a movie based on its Halo video-game franchise, according to a report on the official Web site of Bungie, the developer of the games. “We are disappointed that Universal and Fox wanted to significantly renegotiate the financial points of the deal,” Microsoft said in a statement. “But the Halo franchise is hugely popular, and our goal remains the sameu2014to find a partner that shares our passion and will creatively collaborate with us to best represent the story and spirit of the Halo franchise.”

Universal and Fox abruptly pulled out of the project last week after reportedly failing to get the filmmakers and Microsoft to reduce their profit participation.

Microsoft added: “[Executive producers] Peter Jackson [and] Fran Walsh and the rest of the creative team are dedicated to ensuring the Halo movie becomes a reality. We are already in discussions with potential partners who recognize the value of the Halo brand and its appeal to consumers worldwide.”

Executive producer Jackson and computer game giant Microsoft have been asked to reduce their profit margins on the reported $200 million project. The request was allegedly refused. Another concern was the costly film is being made by a first-time director, Neill Blomkamp.
But Jackson spokesman Ken Kamins says, “The only budget the film-makers every spoke about was $145 million less the 12.5 per cent rebate that you get from shooting in New Zealand, which would put it at about $128 million. That was the only number that was ever discussed.”

Serkis: Beowulf Is The Future

(scifi.com) Andy Serkis, who co-stars in Robert Zemeckis’ upcoming Beowulf film, told SCI FI Wire that the movie’s computer animation is a glimpse of things to come. “I think that more motion capture is [being] used in film, and it’s becoming part of the mainstream and used in a mainstream way,” Serkis (King Kong) said in an interview. “It is … especially [true] with video games and the convergence of video games and film. It’s actually a really interesting time for actors. Robert Zemeckis has just made Beowulf with Anthony Hopkins and John Malkovich, Ray Winstone and all kinds of high profile and serious actors creating these characters. They are creating the movements. They are creating the personalities, and it’s the manifestation of those characters which is being handed over.”

Beowulf, based on the 12th-century Anglo-Saxon epic poem, will make use of the motion-capture animation technology Zemeckis previously employed in films such as The Polar Express. It also stars Crispin Glover, Brendan Gleeson, Angelina Jolie, Robin Penn Wright and Alison Lohman.

“I do believe that in five or 10 years’ time that actors will come out of drama school, and they will do theater, and they’ll do film, and they’ll do TV, and then they’ll be doing video games,” Serkis said. “I believe that it’ll be considered a much, much more dramatic art. Playing characters in video games and [motion-capture] stories will be received through video games more than they are now. I mean, I’ve never ever drawn a distinction in the process of creating a character in a CG role and in a conventional role. For me there is no difference.”

Serkis currently appears in The Prestige and the upcoming Flushed Away and Stormbreaker.

[Editor’s Note: We’re currently writing software for use on Beowolf as well]

HELLRAISER Remake Budgets For “effects and all that cool stuff”

(cinescape.com) Clive Barker has signed on to write an upcoming remake of the 1987 horror film HELLRAISER for the Weinstein Co..

Barker wrote on his website, “They’re going to remake Hellraiser 1 with a lot more money, and they’ve invited me to write it. The invitation came from Bob Weinstein, which I am going to do, on the basis that if I don’t do it, it will be done in some way that I probably won’t like! It’s only that one that I really, really, really care about in terms of its remake value and it’ll be kind of fun to have the extra money to do the effects and all that cool stuff.”

While Barker has signed on to write the script, it doesn’t look likely that he will direct the film.

Harry Potter Film Crew Closes Down London Tube

(news.bbc.co.uk) Daniel Radcliffe A London Underground station has been closed for the filming of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter.

Westminster station was “closed all day” for the filming, a Transport for London (TfL) spokeswoman said.

Tourists and passengers had to find alternative routes and were not allowed to get a glimpse of the crew.

It is likely the location was being used for the filming of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, the fifth film in the series.

In the much anticipated fifth sequel, The Order of the Phoenix, Harry takes the tube with Arthur Weasley to go to a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry of Magic.

“Westminster Tube station will be closed all day today, with trains non-stopping, for a commercial filming project,” the TfL spokeswoman said.

All other stations in the vicinity of Westminster station are functioning normally.

Did Michael Bay Steal The Island?

(scifi.com) A federal judge in New York has ordered a trial in a copyright-infringement lawsuit against DreamWorks and Warner Brothers, alleging that Michael Bay’s 2005 SF action movie The Island was based on the 1979 independent movie Parts: The Clonus Horror, Variety reported.

The studios had asked that the case be dismissed, but U.S. District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled there were several issues best reserved for a jury, such as the degree of similarity between the two films, the trade paper reported.

The lawsuit was brought by Clonus producer-director Robert S. Fiveson and Clonus Associates.

When The Island was released, several reviewers referred to Clonus, which revolved around a secret colony of clones who are raised for spare organs. One of the clones escapes into Southern California to expose the facility.

The Island also revolved around a colony of clones raised to provide spare parts for humans, with two of the clones escaping into a futuristic Los Angeles in an attempt to expose the colony and shut the facility down.

When the lawsuit was filed, DreamWorks issued a statement saying The Island was independently created and did not infringe on anyone’s copyrights.

DreamWorks and Warners declined comment on the judge’s ruling.

The $120 million budgeted Island grossed $160 million worldwide theatrically, which generally means the studio took home somewhere between $70 and $90 million. This number also doesn’t include the money made in home video sales and who knows what kind of money the studio spent on marketing or if that’s included in the above budget (which it probably isn’t since that is almost always separate).

Actor Ford ‘Fit’ To Play Indiana Jones

(news.bbc.co.uk) Actor Harrison Ford has said he feels “fit” at the age of 64 to reprise the role of action hero Indiana Jones.
Ford, who last played the part in 1989’s The Last Crusade, said he could “bring the same physical action” to a fourth movie.

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have said they are working on a script for the fourth movie, which has been in development for more than 10 years.

Ford said that Sean Connery may return as Indiana Jones’ father.


“He’s part of the emotional fabric of these films. I believe that Sean is still willing and I’d be delighted if he joined us,” said the actor at the Rome Film Festival.

Former James Bond star Connery, who was at the Rome event last week, said that no offer had been made.

Ford did not disclose any further details about a possible filming schedule or locations, adding that Lucas and Spielberg – who worked on the previous films – have yet to complete a script.

“I think it’s a real opportunity to make a film as successful as the ones we’ve made before,” he said.

The first two films in the Indiana Jones trilogy were Raiders of The Lost Ark (1981) and 1984’s Temple of Doom.

The trilogy picked up a total of seven Academy Award nominations, while Steven Spielberg gained a best director nomination for Raiders of The Lost Ark.

MGM Deal a Bold Miscalculation for Sony

(freepress.net) When Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. went on the block in 2004, Sony Corp.Â’s Howard Stringer so lusted after the studioÂ’s coveted library that he told his boss he would resign if he didnÂ’t win a last-minute bidding war with Time Warner Inc.

Stringer, who at the time headed SonyÂ’s U.S. arm, figured the libraryÂ’s 4,000 film titles would give Sony more clout with DVD retailers and fuel the growth of its high-definition Blu-ray technology.

StringerÂ’s resignation wasnÂ’t required: He engineered a clever deal to buy the storied studio for $4.9 billion with a consortium of investors that shouldered most of the financial risk.

But the deal that Stringer hoped would help cement his legacy has instead marred it.

In late May, amid rising tensions among the partners, MGMÂ’s board voted unanimously to dismiss Sony Pictures Entertainment as its domestic DVD distributor after it failed to meet performance goals. It was a humiliating blow for Stringer, who lost control of the very prize he was after. Sony now finds itself on the sidelines.

Stringer, who declined to comment, acknowledged the fiasco in July at Herbert Allen Jr.Â’s media retreat in Sun Valley, Idaho.

“Are you happy with the MGM deal?” goaded Michael Eisner, the former chief of Walt Disney Co., who was moderating a panel discussion.

Flanked by rival media moguls Rupert Murdoch and Barry Diller, Stringer made a rare concession for a chief executive: “We screwed up,” he told the elite crowd of his peers.

More: http://freepress.net/news/18533

I AM LEGEND Makeup FX Artist Announced

(fangoria.com) Makeup FX artist Christien Tinsley is creating the undead creatures that pursue Will Smith and co. through I AM LEGEND, the megabudget film version of Richard MathesonÂ’s classic vampire-apocalypse novel currently shooting in New York City.

Prior to creating LEGEND’s bloodthirsty “hemosites,” as they’re called in this adaptation, Tinsley built the Bigfoot for Ryan Schifin’s ABOMINABLE (in which he also took an acting role, pictured, as the ill-mannered, ill-fated home-care worker for Matt McCoy’s hero) and got Jim Caviezel all bloody for THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST; he also contributed some very messy blood FX to William Friedkin’s upcoming thriller BUG.

Directed by Francis Lawrence, I AM LEGEND is targeting a November 21, 2007 release by Warner Bros.

VFX Films Top Guinness Record-Breaking Movies List

(showbizandstyle.inq7.net) OUR THANKS to National Bookstore’s Ms Socorro Ramos for giving us a copy of “Guinness World Records 2007.” We’d like to share some interesting items in the book, especially in the area of motion pictures:

Film producer with highest earnings in one year — George Lucas. In 2004, the “Star Wars” director-producer earned an estimated $290 million!

Guinness has adjudged the Most Expensive Movie Ever Made to be the 2005 “King Kong” — at $207 million, compared to $200 million each for “Titanic” (1997) and “Spider-Man 2.”

Highest salary ever paid to a film director prior to production: The $20 million Peter Jackson earned for megging “The Lord of the Rings.”

Largest simultaneous premiere — “Revenge of the Sith,” which was simultaneously released in a record 115 territories around the world on May 19 last year. The movie went on to gross $303 million internationally.

Most Oscars for a movie: “Ben-Hur” won 11 in 1959, and its record was matched by “Titanic” in 1997. More recently, it became a three-way tie when “The Return of the of the King” won all 11 of its nominations.

Highest box-office gross on opening day — “Revenge of the Sith,” 2005, which made $50,013,859. The “Star Wars — Episode 3” film was shown in 3,661 theaters in the States.

Fastest-selling live-action DVD — “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” The DVD sold more than six copies a second on its day of release in the United Kingdom, on March 20 this year. It also sold more than five million copies on March 7, its first day of release in America.