Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Gretchen Mol Is "The Notorious Bettie Page"

Starring Gretchen Mol as 1950's pin-up sensation 'Bettie Page', "The Notorious Bettie Page", directed by Mary Harron is a Picturehouse/HBO Films production, opening in limited release, April 14, 2006.

Must Be The Season Of The "Witchblade"

Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media, David Lee and Steven Squillante, partners of IDG Films, Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, chairman of Platinum Studios, and Arclight Films have arranged financing to bring the Top Cow Productions' "Witchblade" comic book character to the big screen.

Production will begin in 2006 on two feature films, to be shot back-to-back, based on the best-selling action/fantasy comic book, which also earned a loyal following as a Toronto-shot, TNT television series.

"Witchblade" will be produced through IDG Films, Relativity Media and Platinum Studios, in association with Top Cow Productions. Arclight Films will handle foreign sales.

Producers are Relativity principals Ryan Kavanaugh and Lynwood Spinks, Platinum Studios chairman Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, and IDG Films general partners Steven Squillante and David Lee.

Executive producing is Top Cow founder Marc Silvestri and Arclight Films' Gary Hamilton/Harrison Kordestani. Co-producers are Top Cow president Matt Hawkins and Platinum executives Jay Burns and Aaron Severson.

"Witchblade" follows the story of a female detective who comes into possession of a mystical and powerful weapon that she uses to fight crime and evil.

Printed in 21 languages and distributed in 55 countries, "Witchblade" is listed among Wizard Magazine's top ten best comic book characters of all time, also winning "Best Female Character in a Comic" at the Wizard Fan Awards for three years.

Milla Shines As "Ultraviolet"

February 1

Milla "Resident Evil" Jovovich stars as the character 'Violet' in writer/director Kurt "Equilibrium" Wimmer's upcoming sci fi feature "Ultraviolet".

Wimmer scripted the role of Violet for Milla after being impressed with her look in "Resident Evil".

Wimmer is noted as the cowriter of both "The Recruit" and the recently updated version of "The Thomas Crown Affair".

Premise of "Ultraviolet", set in the late 21st century, focuses on a subculture of humans who have been modified genetically by a vampire-like disease, giving them enhanced speed, strength and intelligence.Because these new creatures are set apart from ordinary humans, conflicts push the world to the brink of war between the human government and the enhanced populace.

"Ultraviolet" locations included Shanghai, China on a budget estimated at $30 million.

July 2, 2005

The upcoming feature "Ultraviolet", with a premise focusing on a subculture of genetically modified humans, used Sony's e-VTR's enhanced file transfer capabilities and Orbital Data's TotalTransport technology, to speed the backhaul of dailies.

Physical tape assets were transferred as data files, eliminating the delay of moving content from location to production sites.

Sony's e-VTR concept is based on a plug-in board that enables Sony MPEG IMX studio decks to become a device on an IP network.

Once physical videotape assets are ingested into the e-VTR, the content is converted into data files on play-out. These files can be remotely viewed, controlled and transferred on any common networked computer.

In the case of "Ultraviolet", the Internet was used to transfer the content from the Hong Kong set to the Los Angeles production offices. "The days of shipping digital dailies have ended," said Richard Pierce, CEO and Chairman of Orbital Data.

"We are proud that our TotalTransport technology working with Sony's e-VTR has made long-distance media file transfers an economic and practical reality." The e-VTR-based process of daily distribution for "Ultraviolet" began with multi-angle takes being recorded onto several tapes by two Sony HDCAM SR(TM) decks, for playback in 23.976Hz.

The HDCAM SR output (1080/23.976 HD signal) was converted to a 480/59.94 SD signal, and all the takes copied to MPEG IMX tape for ingest into a non-linear editor via SDI connection. Once the scenes to be reviewed as dailies were selected, an edit decision list was sent to an e-VTR deck equipped with the e-VTR Manager Application Software and compiled for transfer.

The compiled dailies were then sent over a wide area network from an e-VTR in Hong Kong to an e-VTR in Los Angeles, where an identical cloned MPEG IMX tape was created.

"Star Wars" Alumni Snag Oscar Noms ...

January 31, 2006

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences have nominated "Revenge of the Sith" for an Oscar in the category 'Achievement in Makeup'.

Lucasfilm Ltd. congratulated Creatures Supervisor Dave Elsey and Makeup Supervisor Nikki Gooley. These are their first Academy Award nominations and the first time a "Star Wars" movie has been nominated in this category.

Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic was also recognized with two nominations in the category of 'Best Visual Effects'.

Scott Farrar of ILM shares a nomination with Dean Wright, Bill Westenhofer and Jim Berney for "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". This is Farrar's fourth nomination.

For their work on "War on the Worlds", ILM's Dennis Muren, Pablo Helman and Randy Dutra, with Daniel Sudick, have been nominated for 'Best Visual Effects'. This is Muren's 15th nomination, and the second for Helman, Dutra and Sudick.

Other Star Wars alumni celebrating nominations include Keira Knightley, nominee for 'Best Actress', "Pride and Prejudice" and composer John Williams receiving his 44th and 45th nomination this year, with nominations for both "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Munich" in the category of 'Best Score'.

Canadian Consulate Comments On LA Production Slowdown ...

Rosalind H. Wolfe is Sr. Officer, Political/Economic & Public Affairs, for the Canadian Consulate General in Los Angeles, CA.

Here is her update/comment on the current LA production scene:

"Both trades, (The Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety), as well as the Los Angeles Times, highlighted the current state of on-line production in Los Angeles last year as slowing after an unusually busy season in 2004, fuelling concerns that the region is continuing to lose production to the lucrative incentives offered by other states and countries.

Film L.A., formerly known as the Entertainment Industry Development Corp., the area's permitting agency, reported an overall 2005 growth rate of 4.1% for film, television, commercials and other projects, well off the 19.1% pace set the year earlier amid a particularly busy pilot season.

Film L.A. president Steve MacDonald said there are early indications that this year's pilot season could be slower, sapping the strength of the only recent bright spot -- television production -- even as the worldwide appetite for programming continues to grow.

"That overall pie is expanding, but we're not getting the share we used to get in the past, and I believe the incentive programs offered by other states have really taken their toll," MacDonald said, referring to Louisiana, New Mexico, New York and others that have aggressively pursued production dollars.

Jack Kyser, chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., echoed MacDonald's concern that competition from other states and countries was eating away at Los Angeles' entertainment economy, which was already threatened by slower DVD sales growth and a lethargic box office.These fears muted enthusiasm for the 9.3% gain in feature film production in the region last year, which has only now returned to the rates seen in 2000. The 9,518 days of film production in the Los Angeles region last year, up from 8,707 in 2004, remain well below the 1996 peak of 13,980.

According to The Hollywood Reporter "the seven-year decline in film production from 1997-2003 largely has been blamed on Canada's incentive programs, which have lost some appeal in the past two or three years because of fluctuations in the exchange rate that made it more favorable to stay in the U.S."

States other than California have jumped in to offer generous tax breaks and other incentives that aim to establish new and permanent production centers far from the industry's traditional base in Los Angeles.

With an estimated 20 U.S. states now offering incentives, California is hoping to catch up via a bill backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.Television production in Los Angeles, which has risen steadily since 1999, saw a severe downturn last year as growth slowed to 2.6% (18,740 days) from about 27% in 2004. Permitting officials also find it worrisome that about 30% of that work is for reality TV series, which tend to have smaller budgets and fewer employees than scripted shows, thus lowering the economic impact for the area.

Commercial production rose 4.1% to 6,983 days last year compared with 2004.The commercials sector has seen steady growth since 2000, when it was heavily affected by a six-month strike by members of SAG. The union's contract with advertisers is up in October, and both sides are hopeful that a new deal can be reached without another strike. Commercials producers also are contending with shrinking ad budgets and emerging technologies such as mobile phones and video downloads, said Steve Caplan, exec vice-president at the Association of Independent Commercial Producers.Los Angeles city officials are considering local incentives like waiving facility fees, but the industry has high hopes that the state's bill will become reality this year after several past failures."



The important point to remember is that film, television and commercial production in Los Angeles set a combined record in 2005 for the second straight year, with TV leading the way and film production continuing to rebound. However, it appears that local film officials, who are pushing for state tax credits to keep productions from moving elsewhere, are downplaying the milestone. They note that growth is slowing, with production still vulnerable to poaching by other states and countries offering financial incentives.

According to the Los Angeles Times, "about 20 states such as Louisiana, Illinois and New Mexico have enacted aggressive tax incentives to lure productions away from Los Angeles. At a meeting with an executive from a major studio, he disclosed that he was analyzing bills from six different states introducing tax incentives to entice film production.

It is interesting to note that neither trade publication highlighted how conditions in Los Angeles, such as high union wages are a contributing factor to declining productions. A recent study by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. found that the average wage of a film, television and video production worker in 2003 was almost $105,000, more than double the $39,000 average for all industries in Los Angeles.

It’s also higher than the year’s second highest-paid employment sector – management executives – by nearly $30,000.

The study cited pay as a significant reason for high production costs that are causing studios to move productions elsewhere in exchange for monetary incentives.

“The studios have started to pull their horns in, and loyalty to the local market isn’t a factor,” said Jack Kyser, the LAEDC’s chief economist and a co-author of the study. These levels of wages have prompted localities all over the world to provide economic incentives of various kinds.

Drafted : Roz Wolfe
Approved: Eric Pelletier


Paramount Closes Acquisition of DreamWorks SKG ...

Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc. today announced it has closed its acquisition of DreamWorks SKG for $1.6 billion in cash and assumption of debt.

The announcement was made by Paramount Chairman & CEO Brad Grey.

The company also noted it is well along in its process to sell the DreamWorks live action film library.

Under the agreement, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen of DreamWorks will remain in their respective roles as producer/director and Chairman. In addition, the company has entered into an exclusive 7-year agreement to distribute films from DreamWorks Animation, led by Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Paramount Pictures is part of the entertainment operations of Viacom Inc., one of the leading global entertainment content companies, with prominent and respected brands in focused demographics across virtually all media.

Viacom is one of the leading global entertainment content companies, with prominent and respected brands in focused demographics across virtually all media. Offering programming and content for television, motion pictures and digital platforms, Viacom's world-class brands include MTV Networks (MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Comedy Central, CMT: Country Music Television, Spike TV, TV Land, Logo and more than 100 networks around the world), BET,Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, DreamWorks SKG and Famous Music.

Stern Gets Sirius In Canada ...

Sirius Canada has announced that US celebrity 'shock jock' Howard Stern, the toilet-humoured, self-described 'king of all media' will be added to their Canadian radio lineup.

Starting February 6, the date Conservative leader Stephen Harper is sworn in as Canada's next prime minister, subscribers to the Sirius Canada satellite radio service will have access to Stern on his 'Howard 100' channel.

Stern debuted on Sirius in the United States Jan. 9.Sirius Canada is owned by Sirius Satellite Radio (US) and Canadian partners CBC and Standard Radio.

The 52 year old Stern had previously run 'afoul' of the US Federal Communications Commission, fining him and commercial radio stations carrying his syndicated interview show for indecency/obscenity violations.

The New York-based talk host was previously available in Toronto and Montreal beginning in 1997, but after a flood of complaints to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and the CRTC, regarding Stern's attitude towards French Canadians, the show was dropped in Montreal. In 2001, following 9/11 and Stern's comments about Canadians in general, his show was dropped from Toronto rock station Q-107.

Subscriber-based satellite radio, along with cable television, is so far, not subject to federal indecency regulations.

In January, debt-ridden Sirius rewarded Stern with 34 million shares of its stock, currently valued at $220 million US, for helping it to reach subscriber targets.

Beatty Holding Onto His "Dick Tracy" ...

Click image to enlarge...

In the wake of the noir villains in the Frank Miller/Robert Rodriguez feature "Sin City", actor Warren "Bugsy" Beatty, director/star of the 1990 feature "DICK TRACY", based on Chester Gould's 1930's newspaper comic strip, is seeking a court ruling for the continuation of his film rights to the 'Dick Tracy' proprietary character.

Co-starring Al Pacino as 'Big Boy Caprice' and Madonna as 'Breathless Mahoney', domestic box office of Beatty's "DICK TRACY" was $100 million.

According to Beatty's reps, the Tribune Co. had assigned film, television and other rights in the 'Dick Tracy' character, to their client in a 1985 agreement. The assignment was reportedly subject to a complex, 'reversion' process, should Tribune want to recapture those rights.

Producer Lorenzo "Constantine" Di Bonaventura in association with Outlaw Productions' Bobby Newmyer/Scott Strauss has also partnered in a deal with the Tribune Co. for "Dick Tracy" to be developed into a contemporary, live-action TV series.

Di Bonaventura and company plan to approach the studios with an updated, "Smallville"-type take on the character. If the series works, they also intend to exploit the brand as a feature.

The "Dick Tracy" newspaper comic strip by Chester Gould, debuted in the Detroit Mirror in 1931 and soon appeared in the New York Daily News and Chicago Tribune. By 1937, the comic strip had an audited circulation of more than 700 newspapers.

During the 1940's, Republic Pictures produced 60 live-action, 'serial' episodes of the character, changing Tracy's profession from a police detective to an FBI agent.


Production of a UPA animated series began in 1960. ' Tracy' was voiced by Everett Sloane. Other voice actors included Paul Frees and Mel Blanc. Memorable cop characters included 'Hemlock Holmes', ''Jo Jitsu' and 'Go Go Gomez'. Villains included 'Sketch Paree' & the 'Mole', 'Flattop' & 'B. B. Eyes', 'Stooge Villa' & 'Mumbles', 'The Brow' & 'Noodles' and 'Pruneface' & 'Itchy'.

Warners Cuts A New Deal With "Conan" ...

Warner Bros. Production President Jeff Robinov says a new "Conan" live action feature film is in the works and that the studio "is committed to producing the film within the next year."

Warners, having revived franchises with "Batman Begins" and the upcoming "Superman Returns", intends to produce "Conan" with a big budget.

According to sources, Robinov is going back to the original Robert E. Howard stories for inspiration.

"I love the character," he said.

"You have to get to the core of who the Conan character was."

The 'Conan' brand currently includes numerous tie-in products ranging from early Marvel Comics to the recent Dark Horse series, new editions of the original stories from Del Ray and video games.

The animated 2D/3D feature "Conan: Red Nails" is due to be released early next year.

Warners 'Emerald Warrior' Waits For A Green Light

Development continues at Warner Bros on the big screen "GREEN LANTERN" feature film, based on DC Comics classic superhero.

Supervisors on the project are Tony Ludwig and Alan Riche for Eagle Cove Entertainment ("Starsky and Hutch").

The 'Green Lantern' character has been published by DC Comics since 1940, deriving his super-abilities from the use of a green ring that can tansmute green energy into physical matter.The first Green Lantern ring was magical, while other rings originated from the 'Guardians' of the planet 'Oa'.

Premise of the screenplay will focus on the thousand-member interplanetary police force, 'Green Lantern Corps', run by the aliens of Oa, with Earth's new 'space cop', given a ring by a dying alien, designating him intergalactic law enforcer.


The first comic book "GREEN LANTERN" was 'Alan Wellington Scott', debuting during the 'golden age' of comic books in "All-American Comics" #16 (July 1940).

In the story, Scott is riding in a train, when a sabotaged bridge causes a derailment. Scott saves himself by hanging onto a green metal lantern. In the wreckage the lantern 'speaks' to Scott, revealing it is a 'Starheart' meteor that crashed into the China mainland hundreds of years earlier, then shaped into a green chinese lantern by 'Chang'.The lantern orders Scott to fashion a ring from its metal, then to touch the ring to the lantern for a 'charge' of mystical power.

Obeying the lantern, Scott becomes a powerful superhero, creating a vigilante costume and calling himself the "Green Lantern". With the use of his power ring, he is able to transmute green-tinted energy into solid shapes, with an ability to fly by defying gravity.


The 'silver age' "Green Lantern" was 'Hal Jordan', debuting in DC's "Showcase" #22 (October 1959).

Jordan worked as a test pilot in 'Coast City', when approached by dying alien 'Abin Sur' to wear a power ring. Sur was one of 3600 members of the peace-keeping 'Green Lantern Corps', supervised by the 'Guardians of the Universe', providers of the ring's 'main battery' power source on the planet 'Oa'.

The Guardians order Jordan to capture 'Sinestro', a renegade Green Lantern who violated his oath, by using his ring for selfish gain. Jordan defeats Sinestro and becomes a popular superhero in 'Coast City', joining 'Justice League of America' and teaming up with 'Oliver Queen', the archer known as "Green Arrow", whose teenage crime-fighting ward 'Speedy' becomes a junkie.

In "Superman" #80, 7 million people die when Coast City is destroyed by 'Mongul' and the 'Superman' imposter 'Cyborg'.

On the verge of a breakdown, Jordan asks for more power from the Guardians, but they refuse and order him to surrender his ring. An enraged Jordan flies to Oa, killing numerous Green Lanterns along the way.

On Oa, the Guardians release Sinestro, but Jordan kills him too, absorbing his power from the now drained battery which destroys all the Guardians except for 'Ganthet'.

Lusting for more power, Jordan calls himself 'Parallax', but is stopped by a group of superheroes forfeiting his ring to 'Kyle Rayner', the new Green Lantern.

After absorbing Ganthet's energy and destroying Cyborg, Jordan agrees to help Rayner stop the solar-consuming 'Sun-Eater' but dies in the attempt, his last words being the noble oath of the Green Lanterns, as he sacrifices himself attempting to rekindle the sun ...

Paramount Sees A Future In "John Carter Of Mars" ?

January 2006

Jon Favreau has talked about directing Paramount's upcoming fantasy adventure "John Carter of Mars".

"It was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs close to a hundred years ago," said Favreau.

"It’s actually been a bit of a creative well spring that influenced 'Star Wars' a great deal ... and 'Superman'...

"Basically any science fiction goes back to the grandfather, which is 'John Carter'.''It’s about a civil war veteran – a cavalry captain – who finds himself transported to Mars and finds himself in the nexus of all these warring tribes on this dying planet ..."

Fall 2005

Paramount has hired director Jon Favreau to helm "JOHN CARTER OF MARS", the film adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs pulp magazine series.

Premise focuses on Civil War veteran 'John Carter', whose retreat into a cave to avoid capture by Apache Indians takes an otherworldly turn as he's transported via time portal to the planet of 'Barsoom' (Mars) where he is taken prisoner by 12-foot-tall Martians, meets the princess of his dreams, becomes a king, raises Martian rug-rats and lives happily ever after.

Author Burroughs wrote 11 volumes of Carter's adventures and Paramount is looking forward to launching a "STAR WARS" type franchise.

Ehren Kruger is developing a screenplay by Mark Protosevich.


Amazing Stories - March 1941 ...

"... John Carter is the most famous space traveler ever to spring from the pages of science fiction. Twenty years ago, when he first staggered into a weird cave in the Arizona desert and experienced what seemed to him to be death, he was "born" as the most romantic, swashbuckling Martian hero of all time.

In that weird cavern filled with eerie whispers and ghostly manifestations, John Carter experienced a strange paralysis. With a mighty effort of will he snapped the invisible bonds that bound him and leaped to his feet--to stand as naked as the day he was born beside his own "dead" body. And in a few moments he stood staring up at the stars--at Mars, winking redly on the horizon. A mighty longing shook him.

Then, in an unthinkable moment of utter cold, he spanned the gulf, and found himself lying in hot sunshine on the deserts of Mars.

Since that day, he has returned many times to tell Edgar Rice Burroughs of his adventures.

You have just read the latest--and there'll be more! ..."

Big Game Hunter ...

January 24, 2006

Sam "Spider-Man" Raimi and Rob "Xena" Tapert, of Ghost House Pictures have acquired feature film rights to Japanese video game "Siren" from SCE Worldwide Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment's game development studios for PlayStation platforms.

Michael "300" Gordon will write the screenplay, working with "Siren" game director Keiichiro Toyama.

Ghost House's Raimi and Tapert will produce with Vertigo Entertainment's Roy Lee and Doug Davison. Vertigo brought the project to Mandate Pictures' Nathan Kahane. Ted Adams of IDW and Rick Privman of JEA will exec produce.

Shooting is expected later this year.

"Siren" is a best selling game in Japan with an upcoming sequel.

The film will focus on an American med school student searching for her missing sister in Japan. She begins her investigation in the remote mountain village of 'Hanuda', finding herself trapped by an unspeakable evil.


January 23, 2006

Games publisher THQ have announced the company's exclusive worldwide rights to develop/publish video games based on the upcoming spy movie "Stormbreaker".

Following award-winning author Anthony Horowitz's series of best-selling 'Alex Rider' books, the movie's cast includes Mickey Rourke, Alicia Silverstone, Bill Nighy, Sophie Okonedo, Robbie Coltrane and Ewan McGregor.

The video games, developed by Altron for Nintendo DS(TM) and Razorback Developments for Game Boy(R) Advance, are scheduled for a simultaneous worldwide launch with the movie Summer 2006.

"Alex Rider has a huge worldwide following, having sold over nine million books to date," said Jennifer Wyatt-Ambler, senior global brand manager, THQ Inc.

"Our decision to work with THQ to bring the Stormbreaker video game to market was based on the company's vast expertise with leading global licenses," said Peter Samuelson, producer of the film along with his brother Marc Samuelson, Steve Christian and Andreas Grosch.

"We look forward to seeing the brand extended into the video game market and allowing consumers the opportunity to be the martial arts, parachuting, scuba diving, 14-year-old action spy who is Alex Rider."

"Stormbreaker" is scheduled for release in the UK July 21 by Entertainment Film Distributors and in North America August 18 by The Weinstein Company.

In the "Stormbreaker" game, players become 'Alex Rider', as they out-spy evil, featuring third-person 'stealth' game play, racing action, intense fighting and gadget-based mini-games.

For the "Stormbreaker" movie, the first of Anthony Horowitz's six novels about schoolboy special agent Alex Rider, the book was named in a nationwide poll of children as the book they most wanted to see turned into a movie.

"Stormbreaker" is directed by Geoffrey Sax from a screenplay by Anthony Horowitz.


January 23, 2006

According to David Wanetick of the Wall Street Transcript, "Due to the soaring costs of developing video games, the tremendous reach of video games, extended exposure to ads when playing video games, and integration with on-line commerce, 'advergaming' will be a common fixture in video games."

While consumers try to block advertising with spam filters, pop-up blockers, mute buttons and digital recorders, Wanetick said there are sound reasons for consumers' receptivity to advergaming.

One reason is that the appearance of corporate logos makes video games appear more realistic, with gamers driving through virtual towns in which signs for Coca-Cola and Nike appear.

Another driver of advergaming is its tight integration with commerce. Some advergaming companies have arranged agreements with pizza chains whereby gamers can simply click on a banner to have their favorite pizza delivered to them without interrupting game play.

"Advergaming is clearly on a rapid growth trajectory," said Wanetick, projected to generate $4 billion in revenues by the end of 2008.


January 17, 2006

A new "Star Trek" video game is in the works, with Mad Doc Software developing "Star Trek: Legacy" for the PC and the Xbox 360.

"We've always wanted to do a Star Trek game that captures the core Star Trek fantasy," Mad Doc CEO Ian Lane Davis said.

"When you look at the history of Star Trek games, there have been some good games, but we felt we haven't had the chance to make the game the Star Trek fans want until now."

Concentrating primarily on 'space combat', the new game will enable the player to take charge of the 'Enterprise NX-01' before graduating to take control of two main ships.

Players will be able to upgrade via 'Command Points' accrued in battle, adding power to the 'shield' and 'photon torpedoes'.

An eight player online mode for PC/Xbox Live is also being discussed, evolving over three generations commencing with the original 'Kirk/Spock' TV series.


January 10, 2006

4Kids Entertainment, Inc. and The Mirage Group have signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Montreal-based Ubisoft for new games based on the upcoming CGI feature-length "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" film being produced by Imagi Animation Studios, to be distributed domestically by Warner Bros. Pictures and The Weinstein Company.

Under the Ubisoft agreement, the video games will be available for gaming consoles in conjunction with the film's planned release, early 2007.

The new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie will be the first all CG animated movie in the history of the franchise, deriving its PG-tone from the original comic-book series, expected to be 'grittier' than the previous live action pictures.

"We are excited that the Turtles are returning to the big screen in 2007 and pleased to partner with Ubisoft for the creation of a new movie-based ''Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' video game," said Alfred R. Kahn, Chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" has been an international phenomenon for more than twenty years. The property began as an underground comic book and is now one of the most popular licenses.

The "4Kids" TV show is broadcast in 90 international territories.

"Ubisoft has demonstrated its strong commitment to making quality license-based games and truly understands the spirit of one of the world's most famous children's brands," said Christian Salomon, director of licensing at Ubisoft.

"Ubisoft is thrilled to be bringing the Turtles back in an exciting new adventure that will attract both the first generation of enthusiasts all the way through to the current and future generations of fans."


November 29, 2005

Activision, Inc. has signed an agreement with Spider-Man Merchandising L.P., a limited partnership between Marvel Entertainment, Inc. and Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc., to extend its exclusive worldwide publishing rights to the "Spider-Man" motion pictures through 2017.

The license grants Activision the right to publish entertainment software products based on subsequent "Spider-Man" movie sequels or new television series.

Under its current agreement with Spider-Man(R) Merchandising, Activision will develop and publish interactive entertainment games based on Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment, Inc.'s upcoming feature film "Spider-Man 3", set for release May 2007.

To date, Activision has published games based on "Spider-Man" and "Spider-Man 2".

For calendar 2004, "Spider-Man 2" was the #1 movie-based videogame according to NPD Funworld.

"This agreement allows Activision to continue bringing our own brand of interactive magic and vision to this unique, 'evergreen' prroperty ...", said Mike Griffith, President and CEO, Activision Publishing, Inc.

Spider-Man(R) Merchandising L.P. is a limited partnership between Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc. and Marvel Entertainment, Inc.

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision, Inc. is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products.

Founded in 1979, Activision posted net revenues of $1.4 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2005, maintaining operations in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, Scandinavia, Spain and the Netherlands.


November 19, 2005

Video Game winners were announced during the 3rd annual SPIKE TV VIDEO GAME AWARDS 2005 ceremony held at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, CA.

Hosted by Samuel L. "Pulp Fiction" Jackson, the two-hour 'game vs. game' extravaganza premieres on Spike TV Saturday, December 10 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT).
"Resident Evil 4" (Capcom) took away the 'Vector Monkey' trophy for 'Game of the Year' and 'Best Graphics'.

Peter Jackson's "King Kong" (Ubisoft) won three awards including, 'Best Performance by a Human -- Male' for Jack Black, 'Best Game Based on a Movie' and 'Best Cast'.

"World of Warcraft" (Blizzard Entertainment) won four awards including 'Best Multiplayer Game' and 'Best PC Game'.

The Spike TV ceremony featured musical performances by 50 Cent, Def Leppard and Missy Elliott and show appearances by Charlize Theron, Kiefer Sutherland, Jack Black, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Rock, Vin Diesel, Carson Daly, Donald Faison, Jaime Pressly, Josie Maran, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Carmen Electra, Natasha Bedinfield and Dane Cook, among others.

The show also featured the Television World Premieres of "24: The Game" (2K Games), "Spyhunter: Nowhere to Run" (Midway Games), "Star Wars: Empire of War" (Lucas Arts), "Scarface" (Vivendi Universal) and a 25th anniversary comic tribute to Pac Man (Namco).

The official sponsors of the Spike TV Video Game Awards 2005 are AOL, Burger King Corporation®, Circuit City, Mountain Dew, New Dentyne® Fire Mints, Pontiac, U.S. Air Force and Verizon Wireless V Cast(TM).

Albie Hecht and Casey Patterson are Executive Producers of the show, Greg Sills, Supervising Producer, Magda Liolis, Producer, Scott Fishman, Executive in Charge of Production and Julia Knowles, director.


November 15, 2005

The Majesco Entertainment Company, a provider of digital entertainment products/content, has announced that "Aeon Flux" the video game has shipped for the Xbox(R) and PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment systems.

The game links Peter Chung's MTV 1992-97 animated series with the upcoming feature film opening December 2nd starring Oscar(R) winner Charlize "Monster" Theron.

"We are excited to be partnering with MTV and Terminal Reality to create the first-ever interactive journey into the world of 'Aeon Flux'," said Ken Gold, vice president of Marketing for Majesco.

"With an exciting combination of stealth, speed, beauty, and acrobatic combat, 'Aeon Flux' is the ideal character for a video game," adds Tony Calandra, senior director, MTV Games.

"By creating a compelling story that bridges the ground-breaking animated series to the highly-anticipated upcoming film, we believe we will offer a thrilling experience for gamers and all 'Aeon Flux' fans old and new."

Set in the distant future, "Aeon Flux" the game features a blend of stealth, speed and acrobatic combat.

Assuming the character role of 'Aeon Flux', players employ lethal abilities to disrupt the tyranny that pervades the walled city-state of 'Bregna', ruled by a congress of scientists.

Aeon faithfully serves the 'Monican' rebellion in their efforts to overthrow the 'Breen', while rivals oppose her at every turn and powerful lusts test her loyalties.

Game play features include the voice and likeness of Theron.

'Dark Phoenix' Resurrected for "X-Men: The Last Stand" ...

January 21, 2006

The novel "X-MEN: THE LAST STAND", timed to be released with the upcoming Vancouver-shot Marvel feature, is now scheduled for release May 16 from Del Rey Publishers.

"X-MEN: THE LAST STAND" movie opens May 26.

Written by Chris Claremont, based on the screenplay by Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg, the 352-page book is described as:

"The X-Men, mutant heroes sworn to defend a world that hates and fears them, are back! This time, with the help of new recruits The Beast and Angel, they must face evolution itself in the form of their former teammate, Jean Grey!

"Possessed with the cosmic power of the Dark Phoenix, the resurrected Jean Grey has become a danger to herself, her mutant comrades, and the entire planet! To stave off this imminent threat to humanity, a potential cure is discovered and processed to treat -- and ultimately eliminate -- genetic mutations, once and for all!

"Now, as the battle lines are drawn, the X-Men, led by Professor Charles Xavier, must contend with both Jean Grey's world-consuming powers, as well as the malevolent Brotherhood, a band of powerful mutants organized under Xavier's former ally, Magneto!"


December 28, 2005

The 'evil mutant assassin Psylocke' has joined director Brett Ratner's Vancouver-shoot of "X-Men 3".

The character is being played by Filipina actress Mei Melancon, who previously worked for Ratner in "Rush Hour 2".

Marvel Comics' 'Psylocke' is noted for fighting/telepathic skills as well as an ability to transport herself and others through shadows.

Psylocke will challenge the 'X-Men' team as a member of 'Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants'.

"X-Men 3" opens May 26, 2006.


JUNE 8, 2005

Brett "Rush Hour" Ratner said "It's not going to be easy" directing "X3".

The 36-year-old Ratner proudly declares he has "read comic books my whole life".

"I want to stay true to the franchise and true to the characters, but I think it's elevated ... I don't want to be pompous and say I'm going to take it to the next level. I think the script that Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn wrote gives me a tremendous amount of confidence."

Ratner said you can also expect his 'X-Men' to have an enhanced sense of humor.

"Not jokes for the sake of jokes," he said, "jokes that come from character humor, that come from characters and that come from the situations."


June 6, 2005

More than 700 would-be film performers answered a 'casting call' for the upcoming Fox feature "X3", reporting for a 'go-see' held at Vancouver Film Studios.

"X3" producers placed an ad looking for "ODD & UNUSUAL multi-racial men, women and children of all ages".

"X3" is the third installment of the Fox movie franchise, based on the Marvel Comics super-hero team of 'mutants', first appearing in the 1960's and continuing to publish under various titles today.

"X3" is currently in pre-production, slated for an August Vancouver start , directed by Brett "Rush Hour" Ratner.

Scoop: "Rush Hour" Ratner Directing X3
Vancouver Production Start Date This August ...
June 6th 2005 02:09am | Posted by: Michael Stevens, HNR Senior Editor

Director Brett "Rush Hour" Ratner, will helm Fox' X3, the third big screen franchise installment of Marvel Comics super-hero team of 'mutants'.

Shooting will begin in August for a 2006 (US) Memorial Day weekend opening.

Ratner previously developed Warners Superman Returns, before it was handed over to director Bryan Singer, who dropped out of X3.

Screenplay for X3 is written by Zak Penn/Simon Kinberg.

The original returning stars of the franchise have been signed, with new additional cast including Kelsey "Frasier" Grammer as 'Beast' and Vinnie Jones as 'Juggernaut'.

Ratner directed the first two Rush Hour films, but actor Chris Tucker's unwillingness to sign a $20 million deal for Rush Hour 3 has given Ratner an open window to helm X3.

Source: Sneak Peek
In: X-Men 3


Marvel Entertainment /Twentieth Century Fox have signed actor Kelsey "Frasier" Grammer to play Marvel Comics character , the 'Beast', in the upcoming feature "X-MEN 3", slated to shoot in Vancouver this summer.

Actor Vinnie "Snatch" Jones, a former Brit soccer player, is also confirmed to play 7-foot tall, 900 lb. villain 'Juggernaut', who is half-brother to "X-Men" team leader, 'Professor X'.

"Kelsey was born to play the role (of Beast)", said Marvel topper Avi Arad.

Arad is producing "X-MEN 3" with Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter.

Screenplay is by Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg, with 20th Century Fox president Hutch Parker overseeing the production with senior VP Alex Young. Marvel's Kevin Feige is executive producer.

Scoop: Director Vaughn Exits X-Men 3
June 1st 2005 01:57am | Posted by: Michael Stevens, HNR Senior Editor

With principal photography starting up in 9 weeks on X-Men 3, director Matthew Vaughn has exited the 20th Century Fox project for what is being reported as 'personal' reasons.

In a statement, Fox said UK-based Vaughn had planned to travel between his home and the film's Vancouver locations, but "as the shooting schedule evolved, he realized he would have to move to Los Angeles and Vancouver for at least a year. Not wishing to uproot his family for an extended period, Vaughn opted to depart the production."

The producer of director Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, Vaughn made his directorial debut with Layer Cake.

X-Men 3, based on the Marvel Comics mutant super-hero team, is scheduled for a May 26, 2006 release.

Source: Sneak Peek
In: X-Men 3