FX Movie News: 11-27-06
Today’s Headlines: New Line Asks Raimi To Direct The Hobbit; Early & Enthusiastic Reaction to Pixar’s “Ratatouille”; Digital Bruce Lee In VFX Development; Zaentz Wants Jackson For “Hobbit”; Transformers Movie Spends $1 Mil. In Alamogordo; Gromit & Potter Awarded Baby BAFTAS; Will a Pixar-Animated CARS Go Unnominated?; CG Smurfs Movie To Be Animated “Lord of the Rings”; The Spiderwick Chronicles Injects $75M Into Toronto Economy; CG Animated Movies Reach Point Of Diminishing Returns;
New Line Asks Raimi To Direct The Hobbit
(moviehole.net) No doubt a ploy to keep the infuriated fan boys at bay, New Line are said to have asked Sam Raimi ï¿½ replacing Peter Jackson ï¿½ to direct ï¿½The Hobbitï¿½.
The ï¿½Spider-Manï¿½ and ï¿½Evil Deadï¿½ filmmaker has a huge following among genre buffs, so the news may just cool a few maddened ï¿½Ringsï¿½ fans down.
One man that wonï¿½t be happy with the decision ï¿½ in fact, he wonï¿½t be happy until Jackson is re-hired for the job ï¿½ is actor Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf in the series.
McKellen tells reports that “It’s hard to imagine any other director matching his achievement in Tolkien country.”
Early & Enthusiastic Reaction to Pixar’s “Ratatouille”
(Rottentomatoes.com) Scott Weinberg writes: “Apparently an AICN reader called The Chemist got to see Pixar’s “Ratatouille” about eight months early — and he loved it. Better than “The Incredibles” is what the guy’s raving.
From AICN: “The plot seems simple, but like any Brad Bird flick, it has a ton of heart and humor. Much of the action scenes were storyboards and gray-scale, but still promised to be dazzling when complete. The humor moments were hilarious and had the audience rolling. The voice acting was fantastic, with no recognizable A-list Hollywood stars to distract you from the characters, no singing in the edit that we saw either. The music was completely forgettable as it was just filler at this point I suspect. During the movie Lasseter would scribble down notes at various points.
Anyway, I cant wait to see the finished movie. Personally I liked it better than The Incredibles, the rough cut we saw tonight was right up there with Finding Nemo, my personal Pixar favorite.
Narnia Sequel To Be Filmed In New Zealand
(nzherald.co.nz) Prince Caspian, the sequel to the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe film, will be filmed in New Zealand early next year, according to the Narnia website.
New Zealander Andrew Adamson, who made the first movie, will also direct Prince Caspian, to be shot in Auckland in February and March followed by four months of production in Prague, Czech Republic.
Prince Caspian, first published in 1951, is the second book in the seven-book series written by C S Lewis. The Pevensie children are pulled back into the land of Narnia where a thousand years have passed since they left, and join the creatures of Narnia in combating an evil villain who will do anything to stop the rightful prince from ruling the land.
Adamson will use the same quartet of British actors: Georgie Henley, 10, Skandar Keynes, 14, Anna Popplewell, 17, and William Moseley, 18, who appeared in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
He told the website “If we don’t make [the film] now, we’ll never be able to because they’ll be too old.”
The website said the cinema release of Prince Caspian has been moved back from its original Christmas 2007 release slot to mid-2008 so as not to clash with another family movie filmed in New Zealand, The Water Horse, due to be released on December 8.
The Water Horse was filmed by Walden Media at Queenstown, then moved to Wellington for shooting at Stone Street Studios, with post-production being completed at Weta Digital and Park Road Post.
Digital Bruce Lee In VFX Development
(latinoreview.com) Email from director Rob Cohen :
The big headline is that I am NOT using clips from the film; I am creating an entirely photo-realistic Bruce Lee with new, advanced digital technlogy. Digital Domain who did “XXX” and “Stealth” with me are on it big time. We are in the vfx development stage.
This will be the first digital actor and I am very excited about the challenge.
We do have the rights to Bruce’s films but the lines are all I am going to use. The Lee Family is also involved with me and Dreamworks.
I am doing this to further honor Bruce. It was one thing to make “Dragon” but this will be the Man himself, alive for those of us that didn’t get enough and the new generations who should know what he was all about.
New Star Wars from LucasArts
(play.tm) It’s being widely reported today that a brand new Star Wars game is currently being developed by LucasArts. Apparently, a diverse multiplayer-orientated war game in the style of Battlefield 1942 is the order of the day; spiced-up with a Star Wars setting, naturally.
Star Wars: Battlefront will be unveiled by the developer/publisher officially in early 2004, but until then it has been confirmed that the game will be released on the PS2, Xbox and PC. Until we find out more, then, we’ll just have to comfort ourselves with the thought that this sounds more than a little promising.
Zaentz Wants Jackson For “Hobbit”
(Darkhorizons.com) In all the feuding over “The Hobbit”, the one wild card has now spoken out about the issue. Saul Zaentz, the millionaire “Amadeus” and “The English Patient” producer who owns the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, has gone on the record with enthusiastic support of director Peter Jackson.
“It will definitely be shot by Peter Jackson. … Next year The Hobbit rights will fall back to my company. I suppose that Peter will wait because he knows that he will make the best deal with us” said Zaentz to German site Elbenwald.de via Showbiz Data.
The whole quarrel right now is over outstanding money owed to Jackson by New Line for his work on the first film of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Jackson wants to direct at least one of the two prequel “Hobbit” films planned, but won’t do it until the issue is resolved. Both a large cadre of fans and MGM, the studio who owns the distribution rights to “The Hobbit”, also want him to do it.
Only New Line, who holds the production rights at present, isn’t keen on the idea because it would require them settling their lawsuit quite soon – a movie that would put them millions out of pocket. The studio is opting to go with a new director and production team as they have to get into production on the film by next year or the rights will revert back to Zaentz.
Transformers Movie Spends $1 Mil. In Alamogordo
(alamogordonews.com) It’s been several months since the cast and crew of “Transformers” left Alamogordo in its collective rearview mirror, but local businesses are still feeling the effects of their visit.
According to Ed Carr, executive director of the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce, the money the folks associated with “Transformers” spent locally is still rotating in the economy. And according to a recent report, those dollars total more than $1 million.
“They spent $5.5 million in the state. That number is solid,” Carr said. “But roughly $1 million of that was spent to shoot “Transformers” here over a three-month period.
“That doesn’t even take into account the multiplier effect of injecting that money into the local economy.”
Carr went on to say the overall economic impact is significantly higher than what that $1 million represents.
Carr said the “Transformers” people spent money at a variety of venues. They ate out at local restaurants, stayed in Alamogordo hotels and bought set construction materials locally. Additionally, the crew rented equipment and hired local companies to build sets.
“You name it. There is a whole litany of things they need,” Carr said.
He added it’s that injection of money into the economy that makes it desirable to bring more films to the area.
“That’s why Otero County Economic Development Council and the Otero Film Office have been working over five years to get major motion films to shoot in Otero County,” Carr said.
And according to Carr, there are plenty of reasons why filmmakers would want to come to Otero County. It offers multiple set possibilities with White Sands, mountains, desert and a military installation to boot.
Carr said the area even offers “Afghanistan-like caves” in the Orogrande area.
“We have unique things here that nobody else has,” Carr said.
Gromit & Potter Awarded Baby BAFTAS
(news.bbc.co.uk) Animated duo Wallace and Gromit collected best film at the Bafta Children’s Awards for their adventure The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire won the only public award, the Bafta Kids’ Vote, chosen by about 100,000 children.
Holly Willoughby, from CITV’s Holly and Stephen’s Saturday Showdown, was best TV presenter, while the best TV channel category went to Nickelodeon UK.
Five show Michaela’s Wild Challenge beat Blue Peter to the factual award.
“I just make films for myself and the whole team. Whatever makes us laugh… goes into them”
And the entertainment category was won by BBC adventure game show Raven, which stars James MacKenzie as an ancient Scottish warlord.
Earlier this year, Wallace and Gromit took the best British film at the main Bafta ceremony, as well as winning best animated film at the Oscars.
Creator Nick Park said that part of the attraction of his characters was that they appealed to young and old, around the world.
“I think humour’s always a really universal thing. It seems to appeal across the board,” he told BBC News 24.
“I know it’s kind of a cliche but I just make films for myself and the whole team. Whatever makes us laugh… goes into them.”
Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, was at the ceremony in the Hilton Hotel on London’s Park Lane.
Children loved the magic element of the Harry Potter films and could “really relate” to its setting of a school as well, he said.
Will a Pixar-Animated CARS Go Unnominated?
(indystar.com) Magic 8 Ball says: Reply hazy, try again.
Since the animated feature category was established in 2001, Pixar has been the Meryl Streep of the cartoon kingdom. If the studio released one of its computer-animated gems, it was duly nominated.
And although “Monsters, Inc.” lost to “Shrek” in that first showdown five years ago, both 2003’s “Finding Nemo” and 2004’s “The Incredibles” easily nabbed the top prize.
But this year’s “Cars” may be a different story. While a 77 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes is not bad, the rambling fable about a race car that learns to slow down and smell the fumes falls far below the critical love bestowed on the previous Pixar nominees, which scored 94 percent or higher.
Grossing $244 million might be stellar for any other ‘toon release, but it was considered a disappointment by analysts, given the studio’s record- breaking rep.
Still, Jerry Beck, author of “The Animated Movie Guide,” can’t imagine the academy doing a drive-by on “Cars.” “It’s not the best Pixar picture, but it is the best of the bunch that came out this year.”
CG Smurfs Movie To Be Animated “Lord of the Rings”
(Moviehole) Charlotte’s Web producer Jordan Kerner talked to Moviehole about the upcoming big screen adaptation of The Smurfs. The site shared the following with ComingSoon.net:
“It’s a 3-D/CG Smurfs,” said Kerner. “You just can’t make those guys live u2013 it’d be a little weird, but a 3D Shrek world of them – that’s fantastic.”
The “Smurfs” trilogy will be “the animated Lord of the Rings ï¿½ through the world of these idiots. Because they’re sweet characters but they’re goofs. It’s a comic version, but still very heartfelt, version of Lord of the Rings ï¿½ though not literally Lord of the Rings, but an epic story like that.”
The Spiderwick Chronicles Injects $75M Into Toronto Economy
(canada.com) For the first time in years, the thousands of Montrealers who make their money working on U.S. films have something to celebrate. Hollywood filming here is up big-time this year and early signs are that 2007 might be a boom year as well.
Hollywood filmmakers have spent around $160 million in Montreal this year, up from $46 million last year, Hans Fraikin, film commissioner at the Quebec Film and Television Council, said in an interview at his office in Old Montreal.
You could call it the Spiderwick effect. That’s because the big reason for the dramatic upswing is the Paramount Pictures production The Spiderwick Chronicles, a pricey adaptation of the bestselling series of kids’ books about an enchanted mansion.
That film alone, which is still in production, is pumping approximately $75 million into the local economy, Fraikin said.
But it’s not the only major U.S. film to shoot here this year. The quirky Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There, starring Heath Ledger, Richard Gere, and Cate Blanchett, also shot in the Montreal area.
During the summer, the city hosted a new adaptation of the Jules Verne sci-fi classic Journey to the Center of the Earth, starring Brendan Fraser.
There have also been a couple of smaller U.S. films produced ’round these parts, including War Games II and part of the coming Will Ferrell figure-skating comedy, Blades of Glory.
CG Animated Movies Reach Point Of Diminishing Returns
(columbusdispatch.com) Prancing penguins, rascally rodents, sociable squirrels and sabertoothed tigers ï¿½ the Hollywood hills have been alive with talking critters in 2006, possibly the biggest year in history for movie animation.
The cute, fuzzy wildlife and other cartoon creations are being introduced so rapidly these days, audiences might well struggle to tell them apart.
“Thereï¿½s definitely an overload, and I think everyone recognizes that,” said George Miller, director of the latest animated adventure, the Warner Bros. penguin romp Happy Feet ï¿½ which opened last week.
Toy Story, from Disney and Pixar, revolutionized the industry with computergenerated images instead of hand-drawn cartoons; in the decade since, first DreamWorks (Shrek) and then other major studios took leaps into the animation business.
As with the initial novelty of talking pictures almost 80 years ago, the early appeal of computer animation resulted partly from its fresh look.
Films with computer-generated images have since become the standard, so commonplace that the story ï¿½ not the style ï¿½ is considered ever more crucial to success or failure.
“Whatï¿½s happened is, no longer will people go see computer-generated animation simply because itï¿½s CGanimated, as they did when they first saw Toy Story. ,” Miller said. “Everything will have to work on its own merits.
“Sure, when The Jazz Singer came out, people turned up to see sound pictures. In a handful of years, people no longer turned up to hear movies. They just turned up to see a movie they thought was good.”
Ten years ago, Hollywood released as few as three or four animated movies a year, with Disney the only steady player. This year, 16 films are expected to be eligible for the Academy Award for feature-length animation, only the second time in the six-year history of the animated Oscar that there were enough movies for a full field of five nominees, rather than the usual three.
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