FX Movie News: 11-29-06
Today’s Headlines: Third Starship Troopers in the Works; Superman Returns Goes Wal-Mart; Bid On Spiderman 3 Tickets; Evan Almighty Stage Consumed By Fire; Jaws Mech FX Shark “Bruce” Up For Sale; Terror Accused To Call Special Effects Man; Mr. Frodo Sad About The Hobbit; IBM Settles Computer Operator Lawsuit For $65M; ‘Tintin’ Film Series Still In Works; VFX Artists Trick The Press With “Unborn Elephant”; Square Enix Raises Forecasts; Movieland Wax Museum To Be Demolished;
Third Starship Troopers in the Works
(comingsoon) Moviehole has alerted us that a third “Starship Troopers” movie is moving forward:
Was just having a chinwag to my old bud, Ed Neumeier, who says Sony are about push the greenlight on his “Starship Troopers 3.”
“Looks like – fingers crossed – Sony is moving forward,” Neumeier, who will write & direct the film, tells Moviehole. “Plans are afoot to shoot next year. Casper Van Dien will be back as Colonel John Rico. There’ll be a new bug or two. Also draft riots. Religion makes a comeback. And the Federation has a new weapon.”
The first film, released in 1997, earned $121 million worldwide. The second, Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation was released straight-to-DVD.
Superman Returns Goes Wal-Mart
(scifiwire.com) Wal-Mart announced a deal with Warner Brothers to offer downloads of the studio’s recent DVD release Superman Returns to customers who purchase the title in the store, Variety reported. The DVD, which was released on Nov. 28, will come bundled along with a coupon that allows customers to download the film from Wal-Mart’s Web site.
Superman Returns will be available for use on portable devices for $1.95, computers for $2.95 or both for $3.95. The cost is in addition to the price of the DVD, which retails in Wal-Mart stores for $14.87. The trade paper reported that Wal-Mart hopes to expand the pricing model to other film and television content, putting it in direct competition with services such as Apple’s iTunes and Disney’s own download site.
There are some drawbacks to the deal, according to analysts. Downloads cannot be played on Apple’s iPod, which accounts for 80 percent of the handheld market, while most laptops and PCs, as well as many cars, have DVD players, allowing portability without a download. Warner Brothers, which has not done a download deal with Apple’s iTunes, shopped the idea to other retailers as well as Wal-Mart, the trade paper reported.
Bid On Spiderman 3 Tickets
(cinematical.com) Want to see Spider-Man 3 before all of your friends? Swing by Charity Folks and be the envy of your entire neighborhood by bidding on two tickets to the world premiere of the third Spidey flick. You’ll also get your photo taken with Tobey Mcguire, which you can hang on your wall to make all your friends swoon. That’s worth a few thousand dollars, right?
Evan Almighty Stage Consumed By Fire
(defamer.com) Because we at Defamer are committed to keeping you informed of any disaster, whether mand-made or natural in origin, currently besetting your peers, we pass along these two reports of the raging fire possibly still in progress over on the Universal lot:
ï¿½ “Universal Stage 27, where they have been shooting Evan Almighty for the last few months, is on fire. They have four ladders up against the building and there are at least 15 firemen axing, chainsawing and extinguishing the barn doors. This is also the stage Tom Cruise always uses, and I’m sure there is some symbolism there but I am too smoke-logged to think of it.”
ï¿½ “I got out on the lot to find (on my count) seven fire truck clustered around Stages 22 and 28. The trucks were labeled LAFD, Burbank FD, and, in one case, FDNY. (Odd.) No one on the ground knew what was going on, though one guy said he saw them sprayed water with their hoses. Anyway, I found out eventually a welder on Stage 27 set off a fire and burned up an entire door.”
Sure, a welder’s unfortunate error is a completely plausible explanation for the conflagration, but we won’t completely rule out the possibility that God Himself sparked the blaze, hoping that an unanticipated setback of this scale might help the producers of a movie inspired by one of His favorite Bible stories reach their goal of making the most expensive comedy ever told.
Jaws Mech FX Shark “Bruce” Up For Sale
Every quarter, Hollywood auction house Profiles in History makes movie fans and collectors wish they were wealthy.
You may not get the head, the tail or the whole damned thing, but you’ll be just as happy with the “Hero Special Effects Dorsal Fin” from “Jaws” (Lot #775). The fin, from the collection of “Jaws” effects artist Roy Arbogast, is truly an important piece of film history, and one of the few parts that remains from any of Bruce’s on-screen appearances. ($12,000-$15,000)
Another bit of “Jaws” history is being offered as a “‘Bruce’ Mechanical Shark Side View Elevation Technical Drawing” (Lot #778) is set for auction. The original hand-drawn technical drawing was used in the construction of the full mechanical sharks that to this day plague Steven Spielberg’s nightmares. ($6,000-$8,000)
Items from Jurassic Park and Minority Report are also going to auction.
Full article and pics: http://www.spielbergfilms.com/minority/1160
Place your bid: http://www.profilesinhistory.com/
Terror Accused To Call Special Effects Man
(news.com.au) A BRISBANE high school teacher accused of terrorism plans to call an American special effects expert as a witness in a defence he will conduct himself.
John Howard Amundsen, 40, from the northside suburb of Aspley, is charged with using false documents to obtain explosives and preparing to commit an act of terrorism.
He was arrested after police allegedly uncovered 53kg of explosives at his home eight months ago.
Mr Amundsen, who is representing himself after sacking his fourth set of legal representatives, appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court today.
He told Chief Magistrate Marshall Irwin he intended making a Supreme Court bail application in the near future before a committal hearing set down for March 12 next year.
Mr Amundsen said he had numerous complaints about conditions at Brisbane’s Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.
This included problems with his capacity to conduct his own case, including access to a computer, television and video.
Mr Irwin told Amundsen he would contact the Director General of Corrective Services to ensure any prosecution material, including the six-volume prosecution brief, would reach him as quickly as possible.
Mr Amundsen also wanted access to extensive amounts of video material, including security footage that shows him at Indooroopillly Shopping Town, in Brisbane’s west.
Mr Amundsen said he would call at least 10 defence witnesses, including a special effects expert from Los Angeles.
“There is very specific technical evidence which will substantially aid the defeating of the charges…,” Mr Amundsen said in court.
Mr Irwin, at the end of a 90-minute review of the case, asked Mr Amundsen to stop sending him correspondence – so far he has five letters – as he wanted everything to go on record in court.
The case was adjourned until next Monday for further review.
Mr. Frodo Sad About The Hobbit
(MyMovies.net) MyMovies.net caught up with Elijah Wood, who played Frodo in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and asked him his thoughts about New Line telling Jackson they are moving ahead on The Hobbit without him.
“If [Peter] ultimately doesn’t come back because of what New Line has done I think it would be a great tragedy,” said Wood. “I think it’s ultimately quite foolish for New Line to move forward assuming they can create an equally wonderful film without Peter… and I think for that for fans that’s tragic. For a long time I never kind of imagined that these movies would ever be made, so if they do get made I think they should be made by Peter.”
IBM Settles Computer Operator Lawsuit For $65M
(post-gazette.com) International Business Machines Corp. has settled a federal class-action lawsuit, agreeing to pay a total of $65 million to 32,000 technology workers who claimed the company illegally withheld overtime pay.
The suit was filed in January in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of three employees who said they were forced to work more than 40 hours per week and on weekends without additional compensation.
The case involved workers classified as “Technical Services Professional and Information Technology Specialists.” IBM considered them highly skilled professionals exempt from overtime laws detailed in the Fair Labor Standards Act and California labor laws.
Generally, executives, managers and high-level computer operators are exempt from being paid overtime premiums, which is compensated at 90 minutes pay for each additional hour of work.
But the IBM workers were by no means the decision makers or creative types typically ineligible for overtime, said James M. Finberg, who represented the class for Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP.
‘Tintin’ Film Series Still In Works
(spielbergfilms.com) At a luncheon hosted by the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences held in New York City this afternoon, Steven Spielberg talked about a number of upcoming television projects he’s working on at DreamWorks. He also mentioned an unassociated, non-television project long in development, one that fans around the world have been waiting for for literally decades!
A few years back, news of Amblin Entertainment’s reacquisition to the rights for the famous “Tintin” comic series created quite a stir online, yet recently, news of plans for the series had grown absolutely cold. While he didn’t have anything specific to say about the proposed film franchises’ development, Spielberg did mention that the series is indeed still in the works. This alone should give many “Tintin” fans much to celebrate since the silence created a bit of concern that Spielberg may have passed for a second time since the 1980s.
VFX Artists Trick The Press With “Unborn Elephant”
(guardian.co.uk) It was an extraordinary picture of an unborn baby elephant from inside its mother’s womb, making front page news in London and around the world. Except it wasn’t real – it was a model.
The image of the 20-month-old elephant foetus, along with pictures of an unborn dolphin and golden retriever, will feature in a Channel 4 documentary due to be broadcast over the Christmas period.
But what both the newspaper reports and Channel 4 omitted to mention was that the image of the elephant was a silicon model.
The models were created using a mixture of ultrasound scans and computer graphics and were moulded by special effects company Artem, whose other credits include the BBC’s digital monkey campaign and Terry Gilliam movie, The Brothers Grimm.
The story broke in the London Evening Standard last Wednesday, under the headline “Elephant in the womb … The first remarkable close-up pictures of animals in the womb”.
The Standard said the picture had been created using an “array of technology” and a mixture of “ultrasound scans, computer graphics and tiny cameras”. It said one camera had been inserted into the elephant’s womb via its rectum.
The story was followed up in a number of national newspapers the following day.
The Times said the pictures of “live animal foetuses” had been created using “4-D images from inside the wombs of dogs, dolphins and elephants”.
The Mirror said the images were obtained using “highly sophisticated ultrasound techniques and tiny cameras planted in the womb” which were then “graphically manipulated by computer”.
But what readers were looking at was not an image taken directly from the womb but a silicon model created by Artem – as revealed on the gossip website Holy Moly! – based on the results of months of painstaking research using ultrasound technology.
Only the Daily Express made reference to a “specially created model”.
“It was all a bit of a shock,” said Jeremy Dear, the director of development at the programme’s producer, Pioneer TV, who was interviewed in the original Evening Standard story.
“It was great to have those images in the press but there were a couple of inaccuracies, not least the fact I never mentioned tiny cameras and certainly not cameras into the elephant’s womb via the rectum. That’s biologically impossible.”
Square Enix Raises Forecasts
(next-gen.biz) Final Fantasy house Square Enix has revised its fiscal first half forecasts upward thanks to a tax adjustment and the CGI movie Final Fantasy VII Advent Children.
ImageAccording to a company statement, the Tokyo-based game company said that it expects 3.3 billion yen ($27.9 million) in consolidated net income for the six-month period ended September 30, 2006. The revision represents a 32 percent increase from the previous forecast. Sales forecasts were up marginally half a percent to 75.9 billion yen ($642.9 million).
The increase in net income forecasts was due to “an adjustment in the amount of deferred income taxes associated with consolidated accounting,” while higher than expected licensing income for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children drove up net sales expectations.
This most recent revision follows another adjustment Square Enix had made in recent weeks. In late October, the company decreased its net income expectations down nearly 17 percent and its net sales up 11 percent from the prior forecast.
Movieland Wax Museum To Be Demolished
(ocregister.com) For decades, the city’s entertainment corridor on Beach Boulevard was defined by its landmarks ï¿½ Knott’s Berry Farm’s thrill rides, Medieval Times’ interactive dinner shows and Movieland Wax Museum’s kitschy celebrity replicas.
But changing entertainment tastes, declining attendance and competition have spurred city officials to re-evaluate what the E-Zone should look like.
On Tuesday, the City Council voted 3-1 in favor of a development agreement with Burnham USA Equities, which has plans to demolish the former wax museum and several businesses surrounding it, and replace them with a Best Buy, chain restaurants and retail shops.
Councilman Don McCay voted no; Mayor Art Brown was absent.
“We lose something of our identity,” McCay said. “We lose a piece of our history if a Best Buy comes in.”
The project, dubbed the Movieland Plaza, would also bring in restaurants such as Ruby’s Diner, California Pizza Kitchen ASAP, Chipotle and Corner Bakery, as well as a bank.