In light of Guillermo del Toro stepping down from directing THE HOBBIT (which was a complete surprise to everyone), I thought I should address the reasons why I posted the movie was greenlit back on Thursday.
The bottom line is this: My source (one of the best I have ever had) told me flat out that the movie was greenlit. And now I know why. Simply said, EVERY DEPARTMENT WAS GIVEN THEIR BUDGET AND THE CASH TO RAMP UP.
In my books, that IS a greenlight whether it is from a studio head or production company. This particular source is on the inside - not an executive at the top either. When budgets are set and operating cash is distributed that means a greenlight for pre-production.
So now you know where we stand on this. There was clear and deliberate action to ramp up the movie and it did in fact happen. The status as of today is murky with no director and I am still digging for the inside story. The resignation came out of the blue. What I want to know is what will Weta be doing on the project in the short term now that GDT is gone? Obviously this whole thing is Peter Jackson's baby so there will always be leadership present, but what is going on right now?
Weta is in a bit of a pickle too as production for the PLANET OF THE APES prequel is set to pick up soon. In fact they are already creating some CG models and the pipeline for the rigging and such for them. The CG models are looking VERY COOL according to my source.
Movie is set for a June 24, 2011 release.
With James Franco already cast, I have very high hopes for the movie. I have a feeling RISE OF THE APES is going to forever change the franchise. More when I get it!!
Monday, May 31, 2010
In light of Guillermo del Toro stepping down from directing THE HOBBIT (which was a complete surprise to everyone), I thought I should address the reasons why I posted the movie was greenlit back on Thursday.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
EXCLUSIVE: Just What Did Guillermo Del Toro Accomplish Visually While He Was In Charge? We Have Got Some Answers!!
I have the first bit of printable news from one of my inside sources to help paint the picture of what has been going on over in Wellywood, NZ lately - you know, before Guillermo del Toro stepped down...
**Some minor creature SPOILERS**
This is a direct quote (emphasis is mine):
"Things have always been rolling... it was quiet for a little while a few months ago but then it ramped up again with previs pushing forward and getting some great results on animation and camera work, obviously wanting to get out as much as possible to finally sell the product and getting production into full swing.
Workshop sculpted and finished painting a few miniature characters that turned out awesome and they were later scanned in to the computer and ready to be built as a final movie CG model.
One of the bigger ones that were scanned was "Smaug" the dragon and all I can say is that it looked great... but who knows if any of this will ever see daylight again, if someone else will be directing it and thus changing the design there is always a chance for changes in designs. The 3 trolls with all their gear on the backs also looked fantastic in the workshop models. The attention to detail was stunning and later when seen in the previs, one can truly understand how great this film will be, if it ever gets done. :) I say that more in the way of "a joke", it's too good of a film to pass up on, so it will definitely be made. Might just take a little while. Some of the film set crew are still hoping for an October-November start, but who can really tell with the latest news coming to surface."
Those scanned miniatures sound outstanding! Wish I could see what has been accomplished already. What a situation - the only true hand-off that would make sense now is for Peter Jackson to pick up the reins. We'll see!! Still digging for more - stay tuned...
Wow! In a stunning turn of events tied to the delay of THE HOBBIT getting made and GDT's commitment to living in New Zealand, Guillermo del Toro has stepped away from the project, save for co-writing the screenplays.
I knew Peter Jackson would be the director and it would be in 3D, but this sure is a long about way of doing things right? Kidding of course, Jackson has not commented on who would replace del Toro who just stepped down from the helm of the HOBBIT movies.
In an exclusive to TheOneRing.net (these guys deserve these scoops of course with all of their hard work over the years), both Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro chime in:
Guillermo Del Toro announced today that he is no longer directing the two movies based on J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”, but will continue to co-write the screenplays. Out of respect to the legions of loyal Tolkien fans, both Guillermo and Peter Jackson wanted to break the news to The One Ring first. They are both committed to protecting The Hobbit and will do everything in their power to ensure the films are everything that the fans want them to be.
“In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming “The Hobbit,” I am faced with the hardest decision of my life”, says Guillermo. “After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures. I remain grateful to Peter, Fran and Philippa Boyens, New Line and Warner Brothers and to all my crew in New Zealand. I’ve been privileged to work in one of the greatest countries on earth with some of the best people ever in our craft and my life will be forever changed. The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project. Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wlsh the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be first in line to see the finished product. I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director”.
“We feel very sad to see Guillermo leave the Hobbit, but he has kept us fully in the loop and we understand how the protracted development time on these two films, due to reasons beyond anyone’s control – has compromised his commitment to other long term projects”, says Executive Producer Peter Jackson. “The bottom line is that Guillermo just didn’t feel he could commit six years to living in New Zealand, exclusively making these films, when his original commitment was for three years. Guillermo is one of the most remarkable creative spirits I’ve ever encountered and it has been a complete joy working with him. Guillermo’s strong vision is engrained into the scripts and designs of these two films, which are extremely fortunate to be blessed with his creative DNA”.
“Guillermo is co-writing the Hobbit screenplays with Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh and myself, and happily our writing partnership will continue for several more months, until the scripts are fine tuned and polished” says Jackson. “New Line and Warner Bros will sit down with us this week, to ensure a smooth and uneventful transition, as we secure a new director for the Hobbit. We do not anticipate any delay or disruption to ongoing pre-production work”.
The Hobbit is planned as two motion pictures, co-produced by New Line Cinema and MGM. They are scheduled for release in Dec 2012 and Dec 2013.
Wow. I am on it guys - emails out to my sources as I type. In fact I was informed by one of them about this story not moments ago. More when I get it!!
ComicBookMovie has gotten their paws on the official Warner Bros. synopsis of the upcoming 2011 movie GREEN LANTERN.
Minor spoilers involved!
'Bringing the enduringly popular superhero to the big screen for the first time, “Green Lantern” stars Ryan Reynolds (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) in the title role, under the direction of Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale”).
In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan.
Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. But Hal is clearly the missing piece to the puzzle, and along with his determination and willpower, he has one thing no member of the Corps has ever had: humanity. With the encouragement of fellow pilot and childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), if Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he may prove to be not only the key to defeating Parallax…he will become the greatest Green Lantern of all.
Campbell directs “Green Lantern” from a screenplay by Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg, story by Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim, based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics.
The film also stars Blake Lively (upcoming “The Town,” TV’s “Gossip Girl”) as the spirited Carol Ferris, a test pilot and the heir apparent to her father’s aviation company; Peter Sarsgaard (“An Education,” “Flightplan”) as scientist Dr. Hector Hammond; Mark Strong (“Sherlock Holmes”) as Sinestro, Jordan’s powerful mentor in the Green Lantern Corps; Jay O. Sanders (“Revolutionary Road”) as Carl Ferris, Carol’s aircraft designer dad; Temuera Morrison (“Star Wars” Episodes II and III) as Abin Sur, Jordan’s alien predecessor; Taika Waititi (TV’s “The Flight of the Conchords”) as flight navigator Tom Kalmaku, Hal’s good friend and confidante; Academy Award® nominee Angela Bassett (“What’s Love Got to Do with It”) as enigmatic government scientist Amanda Waller; and Academy Award® winner Tim Robbins (“Mystic River”) as Hector’s influential father, Senator Robert Hammond.
The film is being produced by Donald De Line (“The Italian Job”) and Greg Berlanti (upcoming “Life As We Know It”). Herbert W. Gains and Andrew Haas serve as executive producers. Geoff Johns and Lucienne Papon are co-producing.
The film’s behind-the-scenes creative team is led by a number of Academy Award® winners, including director of photography Dion Beebe (“Memoirs of a Geisha”), production designer Grant Major (“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”), and costume designer Ngila Dickson (“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”), as well as Oscar®-nominated editor and longtime Campbell collaborator, Stuart Baird (“Gorillas in the Mist,” “Superman”). The film’s visual effects are being overseen by Oscar®-nominee Kent Houston (“The Adventures of Baron Von Munchausen,” “Casino Royale”).
The film is currently scheduled for release in 3D and 2D on June 17, 2011. “Green Lantern” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. '
Can't wait guys! Might as well back up the Brink's truck right now - I think this thing is going to make some green!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Got a list of Warner Bros upcoming movies that are definitely going 3D in 2011 so let's talk about those first:
- SUCKER PUNCH (March 25): Directed by Zack Snyder. Starring Vanessa Hudgens and Scott Glenn. A young girl is institutionalized by her wicked stepfather. Retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, she envisions a plan which will help her escape from the facility.
- GREEN LANTERN (June 17): Directed by Martin Campbell. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Peter Sarsgaard and Blake Lively. A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.
- HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART II (July 15): Directed by David Yates. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, John Hurt, Bill Nighy, Robbie Coltrane, Tom Felton and Helena Bonham Carter. The end is near as Harry, Ron, and Hermione go back to Hogwarts to find and destroy Voldemort's final horcruxes, but when Voldemort finds out about their mission, the biggest battle begins and life as they know it will never be the same again.
- FINAL DESTINATION 5 (Aug 26): Little is known about the fifth installment of the franchise but Eric Heisserer wrote the screenplay.
- JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 2 (Sep 23): Directed by Brad Peyton. Starring Josh Hutcherson (so far). Little is known about the project's storyline.
- CONTAGION (Oct 21): Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Marion Cotillard. Deadly worldwide outbreak of a virus.
- HAPPY FEET 2 (Nov 18): Directed by George Miller. Voices by Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Elijah Wood and Hank Azaria. No storyline is known as of yet.
And the probables?
- THE HANGOVER 2 (May 26): Starring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms. I asked Director Todd Phillips about it personally and he said that he would love to shoot it in 3D. This is a safe bet guys. The original movie hit the jackpot with $470m worldwide! Rumors are abound that Miami (according to Robin Leach) will be the location for the next HANGOVER - what do you think?
- SHERLOCK HOLMES 2 (Mid December 2011): Directed by Guy Ritchie. Starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. The LATimes spoke with the writers for the movie who said: "Sherlock would be great in 3-D".
Thursday, May 27, 2010
EXCLUSIVE! THE HOBBIT Is Greenlit!!! Full Pre-production Underway And You Can Expect A S3D Experience!!!
**UPDATE - May 28: I have now heard from another top source embedded in New Zealand - 3D is definitely going to happen as all the animatics are being geared that way. If you want to believe what the official company line is - go ahead. This info is straight from my top sources. This source is less gung-ho about the green light announcement happening soon however. I will stay where I am though and that is touting that THE HOBBIT is greenlit and it is full steam ahead for November.
**SAME DAY UPDATE: Strike a nerve have we? This post seems to have upset a "Hobbit focused" website a tad! They checked with their own sources and came up with a resounding "no" for the greenlight and even for the 3D, yet again. Sorry guys - no dice. My intel comes straight from the source that gave me the world's first glimpse of a Na'vi. So you can indeed take it to the bank. Do I sound confident? Good. I suspect official word will be coming down the pipe sometime soon.
YES! Finally. One of my top sources has confirmed with me that THE HOBBIT has now been greenlit!!
Full pre-production is now underway!!
There is still no official word that THE HOBBIT will be in stereoscopic 3D, but my source reiterates: "the usual 3D technical suspects have been rounded up... so I would bank on it."
I find it quite interesting that when other sites (*ahem* Deadline) mention the fact that the commence shoot date is slated for November, they think they are the ones breaking the news. You all know I broke that exclusive story back in March (with photos of the new sound stages). Sometimes you just want to reach out and... Well you know :-)
And don't even get me started on these sites talking THE HOBBIT in 3D as being a new concept!
So everyone - a collective sigh of relief: THE HOBBIT is definitely moving forward and November is the goal to roll cameras. Rest assured it will be in 3D just like I have been saying for years. I love it when a plan comes together!!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
ALICE IN WONDERLAND is poised to enter the realm of $1 billion blockbusters! Disney has hit the jackpot with Tim Burton's 2D to 3D conversion and will have raked in 10 figures as of this week (most likely Thursday).
As of today, AIW has gathered $332m domestically and $665m overseas to bring about a near tidy sum of $997m! Its widest release was 3739 theaters and it still remains in 411.
Only AVATAR ($2.73b), TITANIC ($1.8b), THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING ($1.1b), PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST ($1.1b) and THE DARK KNIGHT ($1b) have hit the $1b plateau - so it is indeed quite a feat.
Of course, 3D played another huge role in this success story and ALICE is the second highest grossing 3D movie of all time (Fox's ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS is third with $887m and Pixar's UP is in fourth with $731m).
This one tiptoed up on me! I knew it was doing very well, but what a pleasant surprise to see it top $1 billion. When 3D conversion is done right, it can be very appealing. It may be some time before we see near native 3D quality, but ALICE IN WONDERLAND was done right given today's abilities. Congratulations Disney!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Got the new ALPHA AND OMEGA trailer for you from Lionsgate. With Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Dennis Hopper, Christina Ricci, Christine Lakin and Danny Glover lending their voices, I give this movie a fairly good chance of making a nice return at the box office.
Look for the release on September 17!
I think the premise is a good one, however it remains to be seen if they can be as successful as other non-Pixar projects like Fox's ICE AGE. Let me know what you think of the trailer if you feel so inclined...
Brendan Fraser may not be making that trip after all. According to Deadline, Fraser is closer to leaving JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 2 than returning, as the project will be going forward with a different director than Fraser would prefer. Eric Brevig (Fraser's choice) is still engaged with YOGI BEAR and is not available for the sequel and which has prompted New Line / Walden to set up Brad Peyton (CATS & DOGS: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE; a conversion btw) for the director's chair. JOURNEY will be shot in native 3D, just like the original.
It doesn't matter who is at the helm for actor Josh Hutcherson (Fraser's nephew in the original) - he is returning for the sequel.
I see Fraser returning. Personally I think the two parties will meet somewhere in the middle and get him back in the driver's seat. Fraser has a HUGE worldwide following and is needed to ensure a successful second crack at the franchise. Just a hunch. What do you think?
Huge news here guys from New York magazine if it comes to fruition! Sir Ridley Scott is apparently in deep negotiations to become partners with Symphony 3D which happens to be the parent company of MasterImage. If you will remember, I am very bullish on MasterImage and love their 3D projection solution and products.
Seems Scott will be renaming the venture Scott Three Productions (his current shingle is called Scott Free Productions) so it seems he will be taking a very active role - perhaps owning it outright! Now there is an obvious difference between running a 3D projection company and a production house, so I have a well placed email in to a person in the know to get the lowdown on how it all looks.
The combination of a strategically placed 3D company in the hands of one of the masters of our time is a perfect combination for this new generation of filmmaking! I can feel the energy and excitement pulsing within the Scott camp lately - can you feel it? 3D is playing a huge role in this renaissance; I am ecstatic that Ridley Scott is front and center!!
MasterImage is a sponsor of MarketSaw
Monday, May 24, 2010
I am amazed at the number of media outlets blasting SHREK FOREVER AFTER for under performing at the box office this weekend. Over $70 million is a nice opening! Remember - this is the fourth franchise movie and Dreamworks Animation knew that it would be very hard to keep besting themselves at the box office every time around. Especially after Shrek 2 made $108m and Shrek 3 grabbed $121m - both setting records.
$70m is hardly a failure. While it may be true that less than half as many moviegoers as SHREK 3 (which was not a great movie - another mitigating factor to huge box office) went to see SHREK 4, we always have to look at the international market where SHREK really shines. It made $20m in Russia this weekend, which topped even AVATAR's opening.
Again, 3D is playing a HUGE role. Over 60% of the revenues were from 3D screens with the 3D premiums adding $13m to the tally. And don't forget that HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON had plenty of legs - SHREK 4 could stay awhile in theaters.
The lesson to be learned here, if any, is that some franchises peter out earlier than others. SHREK FOREVER AFTER's opening performance is a good one for just about any other franchise, except, well SHREK. Will DWA continue on with the franchise then? I highly doubt it with the announced sequels to HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON and KUNG FU PANDA - both in 3D of course. Legacy? Well, a generation of kids have plenty to look back on and smile at. And so does DWA.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Wow - could it be what I think it is? Judging by this recent FCC filing photo (entitled: "Nintendo CTR Target Board") Nintendo has given us a look at a testing board that is potentially used for their upcoming 3DS. It seems the company is trying to get approval for use of the Wi-Fi card in the US.
Things to note:
- It seems to be a DS with its two screens stretched out to facilitate testing.
- The top screen is now a widescreen with the lower one still being a 4:3 ratio.
- Sharp's autostereoscopic 3D technology (that's right - no glasses) seems to be included with the top widescreen (and not the bottom screen).
- Stereo speakers, DS cartridge slot and SD card port are still present. Yes - it will have full backwards compatibility with existing DS games.
- Mark June 15 on your calendars - Nintendo is expected to reveal the unit to the masses along with its official name.
- I have been hearing about a release window between October 2010 and March 2011. The former seems most likely as no manufacturer wants to miss the holiday gift giving season.
I know this will be on our family's wish list this year if it is available so, yes, I am very interested to learn more! This product will be a sure fire barn burner especially with NO 3D glasses required. No doubt about it!! :-)
You read that right! Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, spoke the company line during a conference call this week and said that he expects 15-20% of gaming titles will adopt 3D in 2011 and 50% in 2012!
Personally I believe he is bang on. With Sony's Playstation going 3D (looks like KILLZONE 3 will be S3D!), Nintendo coming out with their "no 3D glasses required" 3DS by March 2011 (more info here) and NVIDIA excelling with their 3D Vision technology for the PC, we are witnessing a 3D gaming renaissance.
I can't get enough of it really. I run NVIDIA's setup here in my office and it rocks! Every new title seems to better the previous one as developers master new techniques and start to envision in 3D what will happen on screen for gamers. You have got to try it!!
Got the new DESPICABLE ME featurette for you, courtesy of Universal and GRU-Tube :-)
In a happy suburban neighborhood surrounded by white picket fences with flowering rose bushes, sits a black house with a dead lawn. Unbeknownst to the neighbors, hidden deep beneath this home is a vast secret hideout. Surrounded by an army of tireless, little yellow minions, we discover Gru (Steve Carell) planning the biggest heist in the history of the world. He is going to steal the moon (Yes, the moon!) in Universals new 3-D CGI feature, Despicable Me.
Gru delights in all things wicked. Armed with his arsenal of shrink rays, freeze rays and battle-ready vehicles for land and air, he vanquishes all who stand in his way. Until the day he encounters the immense will of three little orphaned girls who look at him and see something that no one else has ever seen: a potential Dad.
One of the worlds greatest super-villains has just met his greatest challenge: three little girls named Margo, Edith and Agnes.
Sounds like fun for the family - although I must admit I have not been very excited about this project. Something is missing and I am not sure what just yet. So far the quality seems to be on par though. We'll see!
DESPICABLE ME opens July 9.
First thing you will probably notice is that there are no roman numerals on the Spanish version poster for Lionsgate's upcoming SAW VII.
The story picks up of course at the end of SAW VI and it is written again by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan. Should be more of the same plot gyrations!
As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw's brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen, a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror.
The SAW movies are traditionally quite dark so it will be interesting to see how director Kevin Greutert deals with that issue. SAW VII opens October 22.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Love this bit of casting. James Franco has confirmed he is in RISE OF THE APES which is the prequel to PLANET OF THE APES.
Apparently many A list actors were vying for the role of a "young, driven scientist who becomes a crucial figure in the war between humans and apes".
RISE OF THE APES starts shooting July 5.
Can't wait for this one! I think the franchise needs a prequel and so far all signs are positive for this effort. Franco is a quality and proven talent.
Got a huge 3D animation update for you!
First up let's take a look at Pixar's short entitled DAY & NIGHT. I had the pleasure of seeing this whole thing at Showest this year and it is definitely something to anticipate guys. I love the tradition that Pixar has in setting these up before their tentpoles - DAY & NIGHT will be screening before TOY STORY 3 this summer.
Pixar allows their junior staff to create these pieces of magic and that in turn gives them more experience before tackling the major projects. But these shorts are amazing. Nothing minor about them other than their running time. DAY & NIGHT is a simply wonderful experience!
DAY & NIGHT along with TOY STORY 3 open June 18, 2010.
Have a look at a short clip from the... short. :-)
Next up we have a new trailer for Fox's 3D animation RIO. Anne Hathaway, Neil Patrick Harris, Rodrigo Santoro, George Lopez and Jake T. Austin lend their voices for the project with Carlos Saldanha directing.
RIO tells the story of a nerdy macaw who leaves the comforts of his cage in small town Minnesota and heads to Rio de Janeiro. He embarks on the adventure of a lifetime, learning to open himself up to all that life has to offer along the way.
RIO will hit 3D screens April 8, 2011.
Finally we have a look at a new trailer for Dreamworks Animation's MEGAMIND starring Will Ferrell.
Here is the synopsis: Megamind is the most brilliant supervillain the world has ever known. And the least successful. Over the years, he has tried to conquer Metro City in every imaginable way. Each attempt, a colossal failure thanks to the caped superhero known as 'Metro Man,' an invincible hero until the day Megamind actually kills him in the throes of one of his botched evil plans. Suddenly, Megamind has no purpose. A supervillain without a superhero. He realizes that achieving his life's ambition is the worst thing that ever happened to him. Megamind decides that the only way out of his rut is to create a new hero opponent called 'Titan,' who promises to be bigger, better and stronger than Metro Man ever was. Pretty quickly Titan starts to think it's much more fun to be a villain than a good guy. Except Titan doesn't just want to rule the world, he wants to destroy it. Now, Megamind must decide: can he defeat his own diabolical creation? Can the world's smartest man make the smart decision for once? Can the evil genius become the unlikely hero of his own story?
DWA has a hard act to follow after HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON which I loved. MEGAMIND opens November 5, 2010.
Have a look:
What do you think? S3D animation is certainly the standard now and every year we should see nice improvements in the way they are presented for audiences. What animation has you marking your calendar?
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Some very exciting news in the 2D to 3D conversion business as a major first step has been undertaken toward legacy changeovers in three dimensions. I am not talking about a single project like ALICE IN WONDERLAND, but rather 500 films, TV shows and documentaries will be converted to 3D!
Grizzly Adams is a woodsman during the frontier era who flees into the mountains after he is wrongly accused of murder. While struggling to survive, Adams discovers an orphaned grizzly bear cub whom he takes in and calls Ben. The bear, despite his huge adult size, becomes Adams's closest companion. Adams proves to have an uncanny link to most of the indigenous wildlife of the region, who have no fear of him. In return, he resolves never to harm another animal whenever possible. In the television series, Adams had two human companions, an old trader named Mad Jack the Mountain Man and his mule named "Number Seven", and a native American named Nakoma. Together, they helped various visitors while protecting the wildlife.
Here is the press release (emphasis is mine):
San Diego-based multi-media 3D production studio PassmoreLab announced today that it has signed an agreement with legendary production company Grizzly Adams® Productions has to convert 500 of its feature films, television series, and documentaries to 3D.
According to Charles E. Sellier, CEO of Grizzly Adams Productions, when completed, the estimated seven-year, $200 million project “will create the largest 3D library in the entertainment industry.”
In addition to converting its existing 2D library to 3D, PassmoreLab will convert Grizzly Adams’ new productions to be completed — 18 new feature films and 78 television series episodes — over the seven-year term of the agreement.
Named after its long-running NBC Network TV series The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, Grizzly Adams Productions has been a leading producer of family friendly and faith-based independent movies, documentaries, television specials and series for the past three decades.
David Balsiger, vice-president at Grizzly Adams, notes, “To the best of our knowledge, we’re the first production company to initiate converting a major film library to 3D.”
San Diego-based PassmoreLab is a state of the art multi-media 3D production studio specializing in the conversion of 2D motion pictures into 3D entertainment experiences. The company’s proprietary technology for 2D to 3D video and film conversion is unmatched in the industry, in both turnaround times and conversion costs. Their existing library of 3D content is already considered to be the largest in the world, with hundreds of television shows, films, documentaries, videos and animation titles.
“At the end of the seven-year agreement with PassmoreLab, we project that we will have the largest 3D library available for retail, the most 3D TV programs available for licensing, and, we will have captured major shares of both the family and faith 3D markets,” explains Balsiger. Approximately 20 percent of the Grizzly Adams library is described as faith-based.
According to Greg Passmore, president of PassmoreLab, his company has arranged funding for the $200 million conversion project and has ramped up capacity to convert up to 100 Grizzly Adams titles per year.
Passmore observes, “Grizzly Adams has completely embraced 3D technology. There are other studios with large libraries, but they face many hurdles to convert even a few titles to 3D. For example, since the industry considers any resulting 3D title as a derivative product, there are contractual restrictions regarding director approvals, talent and music residuals, plus complex financing issues. All of this adds up to a disincentive to convert back list titles into 3D.”
“We own all of our films and television series outright,” explains Balsiger. “Our library is ideal for converting shows and filling the retail pipeline quickly while demand is high and supply is extremely low.”
Passmore adds, “Internationally, there’s every indication that 3D will be the standard from this point forward in movie theaters, on broadcast television, and across all video delivery systems. Our strategy is to be completely ready to take full advantage of that by having a large 3D-ready library available for licensing.”
If there ever was any doubt that 3D is the future of the home video market, those arguments were laid to rest recently when electronics giant, Panasonic, reported that its stock of 3D HDTVs selling at about $3,300 each had completely sold out within days of the products hitting retail outlets.
According to U.K.-based research firm Futuresource Consulting, the portion of U.S. households that will have a 3D television set in four years will rise to 45 percent from four percent this year.
Although box office blockbuster, Avatar, was shot in 3D, converting a 2D film to a 3D film appeals to leading filmmakers. For example, Tim Burton shot the recently released Disney remake of Alice in Wonderland with traditional 2D digital cameras and then converted the footage to 3D.
The masters are already available for the 3D Blu-Ray and VOD versions of The Fabric of Time, Grizzly Adams’ award winning television special about the Shroud of Turin, long believed to be the burial cloth of Christ. This is Grizzly Adams’ first 3D evergreen entry into the faith market which will crossover onto secular retail shelves for Easter sales.
Within the next six weeks, the highly acclaimed feature film, Friends for Life, will be released in 3D. This family friendly movie, complete with wolves and a bad grizzly bear, has received 30 awards for production excellence.
The first new 3D television series for the joint Grizzly Adams-PassmoreLab production pact will be a fifty-two episode series about George Washington, culminating with a feature length theatrical picture.
Among the new 3D feature film projects slated for production over the term of the alliance are two Grizzly Adams family-oriented feature films currently in pre-production: The Super Heroic Life of Edward Hinkleberry; and the newest franchise installment to the Grizzly Adams legend, Grizzly Adams Begins.
Grizzly Adams will oversee all worldwide television broadcast/DVD licensing for the 3D productions. PassmoreLab will take the lead role in theatrical distribution.
I am 100% behind this project!! I grew up watching GRIZZLY ADAMS and to see that whole series converted to 3D will be such a treat. And a new film too! I will be first in line for GRIZZLY ADAMS BEGINS. It is a very unique property they have there - completely family safe to view, a western feel, exciting drama to interest adults, survivalist elements, character development is outstanding and of course nature plays a huge role.
It will definitely be VERY hard to fill the shoes of Grizzly Adams (Dan Haggerty), Mad Jack (Denver Pyle) and Nakoma (Don Shanks) for the new movie - good luck with it guys.
Congratulations to all involved!!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Walt Disney Pictures has announced that PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES will in fact be shot in native 3D. Disney Digital 3D to use the Mouse House's vernacular.
Johnny Depp is returning as Captain Jack Sparrow and the new film will be somewhat based on the Tim Powers book "On Stranger Tides." Geoffrey Rush will once again play Barbossa and Ian McShane will suit up as Blackbeard with Penelope Cruz as his daughter. Captain Jack continues his search for the Fountain of Youth.
The Jerry Bruckheimer produced, Rob Marshall directed mega-project is slated for release on May 20, 2011.
I think this is a VERY wise decision from Disney and Bruckheimer's team. While Jerry's last 3D effort, G-FORCE, was a well done conversion; Warner's CLASH OF THE TITANS 3D blunder (despite its massive Box Office) gave the industry a bit of a black eye. It's time to ante up with quality projects and you can push this one to the top of the list now!
Here is the teaser sheet from THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER!
**Click photo to enlarge**
Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship The Dawn Treader. Along the way they encounter dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world.
Majestic shot or what? No wonder this franchise has been a worldwide phenomenon; wonderful and fantastic characters. Let's face it - C.S. Lewis was no slouch! VOTDT hits 3D screens this December 10.
Monday, May 17, 2010
I am really shocked to hear that at this point the COWBOYS AND ALIENS production shoot will be in 2D! According to Deadline, Favreau is planning on a June 2D start in New Mexico for a July 29, 2011 release. So does this mean he is avoiding 3D altogether, aiming for conversion or just plain chickening out for this project? :-)
We know Jon is interested in 3D. He has said so many, many times and he was impressed with James Cameron's AVATAR. So what is with the delay? The aliens will clearly be a SciFi element to this western and 3D is a match in heaven for that genre. It would look gorgeous and make the scenes all the more believable. We all have to suspend disbelief and quite frankly to have cowboys have any chance against technically superior aliens is a stretch. In my mind, 3D is a REQUIREMENT here.
In more related news, Paul Dano and Clancy Brown are also joining the COWBOYS AND ALIENS cast as cowboys and Keith Carradine is saddling up to play the town sheriff.
In the end though, I think Favreau knows what he is doing. IRON MAN 2 was awesome. Would have been better in 3D, but still awesome. I feel the same for C&A. I am really hoping that the project goes 3D and native 3D at that. Pull the trigger Jon!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Soderbergh's CONTAGION Goes Airborne In 3D!! Release Dates Set For FINAL DESTINATION 5 And JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 2!
It is time for Warner Bros. to show off some of their upcoming 3D goods! And what a nice lineup!!
Warner has announced that Steven Soderbergh's CONTAGION will be released in 3D. CONTAGION stars Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Marion Cotillard and is set to be released October 21, 2011. The story is an action-thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak. CONTAGION's screenplay? Written by THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM's Scott Z. Burns.
If you'll remember, Soderbergh is a huge fan of 3D and an especially huge fan of what AVATAR accomplished. I am 100% positive that you can expect a magnificent native 3D effort from him for both CONTAGION and his other 3D upcoming release CLEO (slated for a 2011 release). Soderbergh also loves shooting with RED digital cameras of which I am a rabid fan.
New Line has said that FINAL DESTINATION 5 will be screened August 26, 2011 - still no notables to mention, but I am fairly sure we will be seeing "Death" work in 3D again.
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 2 will be hitting our 3D screens on September 23, 2011! Rumors have Brendan Frasier (a good bet) and Josh Hutcherson returning, although the director's chair is still unoccupied at the moment.
I am loving these announcements, especially CONTAGION. Remember these projects will ALL be shot in native 3D. We can fully expect to see wonderful results as far as 3D is concerned and hopefully the story delivers!
Can't wait to hear more from Warner's...
Friday, May 14, 2010
**UPDATE May 15: There is a six part video of his visit here! Thanks stormko for the headsup.
James Cameron is making quite an impact on his latest visit to South Korea! A couple of things to talk about but lets go over the surprising first:
How about Cameron working with SM Entertainment (A Korean talent agency) to create 3D music videos and concerts together? A bit of a departure if I do say so myself, but it is 3D related and he is probably taking a very light role.
SME handles such talent as Girl's Generation (the link is for a large fansite) and Super Junior. I can certainly see a synergy through a strong female connection (Cameron places women in lead roles in most of his films). It is quite a coop for SME to land him to work with them. Congratulations.
Next up, Cameron dropped by Samsung Electronic's headquarters in Suwon, Gyeonggi with his technology partner Vince Pace (pointing in photo). Cameron talked about how the manufacturers have gone ahead and provided the hardware for 3D home entertainment before the quantity of 3D content was there.
“The consumer electronics companies have set the pace by making 3-D TVs and Blu-ray players available before there is a lot of content, and this has created a content gap,” Cameron said.
“Technology will not be the pacing factor, but the creation of content will be the limiting factor.”
Cameron believes in 2D to 3D conversions for only high value classic titles like TITANIC, STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES. (I don't know if he specifically mentioned INDIANA JONES as being considered for conversion, but it would not surprise me - we know the other two are.)
Cameron also places a bit of a cap on the next big thing for media technology, saying that 3D is something that should be improved upon through higher framerates and resolution before other advances are made in different areas. Holography comes to mind for example.
James Cameron also gave the keynote speech at the Seoul Digital Forum in the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill hotel.
Nice swath cut by Cameron in Korea! His agenda must be packed to the rafters for the next oh, 20 years. Nice to see his wife coming along for the trips. More when I get it! Thanks to Jaime for the heads up on the SME story.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Susan Hill's novel THE WOMAN IN BLACK is getting the big 3D screen treatment. James Watkins will direct and Simon Oakes is producing. Alliance is distributing in Canada, Spain and the UK. Alex Walton of Exclusive Film Distribution is handling worldwide sales at Cannes.
Jane Goldman (KICK-ASS) is writing the screenplay.
THE WOMAN IN BLACK follows a young lawyer, Arthur Kipps, who is ordered to travel to a remote village and sort out a recently deceased client's papers. As he works alone in the client's isolated house, Kipps begins to uncover tragic secrets, and his unease grows when he glimpses a mysterious woman dressed only in black.
Production for this ghost story is looking to get underway this fall. With a talented writer on board and a strong original novel, I have high expectations for this project. More when I get it.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Are we going to be getting S3DHD cameras built into our new phones soon? Could be if Sharp has anything to do with it. Sharp is tooting their own horn about producing a phone camera module that manufacturers could integrate into their designs, allowing stereoscopic 3D images at 1280x720p resolution.
Everything seems to be in order although the camera's size may put off some manufacturers. The module comes with two cameras and electronics to merge the color palette, brightness and contrast of the two "eyes".
I love how Sharp is getting deeply involved in portable S3D electronics. They also have developed their AS3D autostereoscopic (glasses-free 3D) screens.
Thanks to Matthew for the heads up!
Anyone else think this is a bad idea? Deadline reports that Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren are suiting up again for UNIVERSAL SOLDIER
4 IV (I will need an IV to sit through it) in stereoscopic 3D. Shooting is supposedly starting this October.
Mark Damon's Foresight is shopping the pic. John Hyams is returning as director once again (he did UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION).
I love the old Van Damme movies. And JCVD was a great look at the man too. But isn't it time to bury this franchise - or at least reboot it with other talent? I love BLOODSPORT as much as the next guy, but this is not a good thing in my mind.
I don't know whether this is a native 3D shoot or not, but one can imagine a shoddy attempt being made. Perhaps I am wrong, but I think not. I can't see it getting theatrical distribution so will this be a direct to Blu-ray 3D release? Interesting.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
JUDGE DREDD is going 3D (via Deadline). This time without Sylvester Stallone I am betting :-) For those unaware, Judge Dredd is a UK comic character who is empowered to act as judge, jury and executioner.
Pete Travis (VANTAGE POINT) is directing the $50 million futuristic actioner written by Alex Garland (28 DAYS LATER) and financed by Reliance Big Entertainment and IM Global. Apparently it is sticking very close to the original comic intent and this should make quite a ride.
VANTAGE POINT was really well written in my opinion. The big pieces are already in place on this one - talent is next! Wonder who they will get to fill Judge Dredd's boots?
Remember that story about THE THREE MUSKETEERS coming to 3D screens with a more contemporary feel? Well I have new developments to share with you on the project...
Director Paul W.S. Anderson has been busy casting! Logan Lerman is in deep talks to play D'Artagnan, a young man who joins the King's guard after leaving his home.
Already cast are: Ray Stevenson (THE BOOK OF ELI), Luke Evans (CLASH OF THE TITANS) and Matthew Macfadyen (ROBIN HOOD) playing Porthos, Athos and Aramis respectively. Christoph Waltz (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS) will play villain Cardinal Richelieu and Mads Mikkelsen (CASINO ROYALE) is set for Rochefort. Anderson's wife, Milla Jovovich is cast as Milady de Winter who is a former love of Athos and is described as being a 17th century Bond girl.
Apparently an offer is out to Orlando Bloom to play the Duke of Buckingham.
Anderson and Andrew Davies wrote the script. Summit is the distributor.
THE THREE MUSKETEERS is looking to begin lensing in September of this year. Not sure what to make of the project yet with that 'contemporary feel' label on it, but it must be good or they would not be able to negotiate such talent. The budget must be sky high for this with Bloom and company under consideration. More when I get it!
Monday, May 10, 2010
Jim here. When I was at ShoWest this year, I had the pleasure of meeting the executive team of MasterImage who showed me their new 3D projection technology and it was simply amazing. And affordable! I love their business model and I believe the industry needs this solution to open doors for all theater players and situations. They are a serious player in this space and their product is very, very good. If you are a theater owner investigating options, definitely consider this company.
Here is their press release about their new offices at Pinewood Studios in the UK (emphasis is mine):
3D company MasterImage 3D, LLC has expanded its operations with the opening today of its European office. Located in the UKs legendary Pinewood Studios, the new office serves the fast-growing number of theaters adopting MasterImages 3D digital cinema systems across Europe and will help drive adoption of its auto-stereoscopic 3D display systems. Cinema technology veterans Brian Kercher, newly named managing director of 3D cinema, MasterImage 3D Europe, and Andrew Lee, director of sales engineering, are leading the companys European operations.
MasterImage provides 3D solutions for cinemas, flat panel displays for televisions and mobile devices, and cameras. In the past six months MasterImage has doubled its theatrical market share, with more than 1,600 systems installed worldwide (over 500 of them in Europe). All six major Hollywood studios, along with independent distributors, support the MasterImage format for their 3D features. In 2009 the company also commercialized the world's first glasses-free 3D mobile device, the Hitachi Wooo.
"When I encountered MasterImages technology I was struck by the opportunity", said Kercher. "The company had an incredibly strong offering and a significant opportunity for growth in Europe. The quality of the MasterImage 3D presentation is unrivaled, and it has a cost of ownership that cannot be matched by 3D technology that uses expensive glasses or an endless seat tax business model. Plus, MasterImage works through local integrators that cinemas already know and trust. With our full support and service organization now based in Europe together with our local integration partners, MasterImage is well positioned to bring beautiful 3D digital images to audiences in every corner of the region."
Kercher joins MasterImage from Eastman Kodak, where he was general manager of the companys digital cinema business. In his fifteen-year tenure with Kodak Kercher held executive and sales roles, most recently developing the companys digital cinema business in EMEAR. Kercher also developed new market customer bases for Quantel and Hi-Q Systems, and has been a member of the Board of Directors of Cinesite Europe since 2004.
Andrew Lee heads technical operations of MasterImage 3D Europe. He has been with the company since 2009 and was most recently vice president of cinema technology. Lee relocates to the UK from Toronto. A twenty year veteran of the 3D motion picture presentation industry, Lee built his expertise at IMAX, where he spent fourteen years developing 3D glasses and 3D camera and presentation technology. He is recognized as an industry expert in 3D screen technology and manufacturing techniques. Lee has also held senior level R&D roles at MDI and Franklin Designs International.
Said MasterImage CEO Younghoon Lee, "We have been quietly developing and delivering 3D solutions since 2004 for an emerging 3D market, to the point where we are now providing the highest quality 3D experience from cinemas to cell phones. With Brians and Andrews experience and leadership, our European operation will help us to meet the demands of our growing customer base and deliver 3D images to a worldwide market hungry for 3D content and the means to view it."
About MasterImage 3D, LLC
MasterImage 3D, LLC is a stereoscopic 3D technology company that provides pioneering 3D solutions for theaters, television and handheld devices. With more than 1,600 theatre systems installed worldwide, MasterImage offers audiences the best 3D image experience, while providing exhibitors with a compelling ownership-based pricing model. The companys auto-stereoscopic (glasses-free), 3D LCD technology for mobile and electronic devices are the first commercial displays of their kind, and the companys 3D camera ASIC empowers dual camera-equipped devices that enable users to create and share 3D content. The company is gearing up to deploy millions of auto-stereoscopic units with multiple manufactures worldwide. Founded in 2004, MasterImage was recently acquired and capitalized by US-based Symphony 3D Holdings and is headquartered in Burbank, California.
I had the opportunity to try out the Hitachi Wooo H001 and let me tell you it was impressive. It has a 3.1 inch with an outstanding 854x480p resolution and is autostereoscopic! I was skeptical until I saw it. It has quite a wide range of viewing angles without losing 3D too. It is worth the time to check it out!
Looking forward to seeing more from this company as they continue their rapid 3D theatrical projection growth around the world.
Saturday, May 08, 2010
Jim here. Disney has released new images for TRON: LEGACY including some impressive vehicles.
Click to enlarge.
I expect the photo onslaught to continue throughout the summer with some massive marketing hitting us at Comic-Con. Even 2009's Comic-Con had Flynn's Arcade powered up with the lightcycle on display.
Can't wait for the trailers to hit!
Friday, May 07, 2010
Jim here. If you are in the New York (DirecTV) or Seattle (FSN Northwest) areas, have a new S3DHD TV and love baseball, mark July 10 and 11 on your calendar! The YES Network is producing back to back MLB games in 3D between the Yankees and the Mariners.
Further, Fox Sports and DirecTV will be carrying the MLB All-Star Game in 3D with ESPN covering the home run derby in 3D.
Ed Delaney, YES’s vice president for operations, agreed that 3-D had worked best so far when the cameras were lowest and closest to the action. But, he said, he was pleased that the Anaheim rehearsal showed that the distant center-field camera “showed the depth of the guy on second, the pitcher and the batter.” He said the traditional high home-plate camera would have to shoot through netting, which he did not think would be a serious distraction.
Great news for you new S3DHD TV owners! The more 3D sporting events the better and after having The Masters and an NHL hockey game broadcast in 3D recently, it is great to see it being applied to multiple sports.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Jim here. Wow. Big news here: Fox is investing in their PLANET OF THE APES franchise with a prequel entitled RISE OF THE APES (tentative title). Variety reports that 20th Century Fox will release the scifi thriller June 24, 2011.
Here is the kicker! Peter Jackson's Weta has partnered with Fox to deliver the effects for the movie which promise photo real apes for the first time ever.
From Variety: RISE OF THE APES is an origins story set in present-day San Francisco. The film is a reality-based cautionary tale, where man's own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of war for supremacy.
Rupert Wyatt is directing, Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa writing with Peter Chermin and Dylan Clark producing.
Stunning isn't it? Many of Fox's tentpoles are going to be 3D in the coming years and, coupled with Weta's involvement, this points rather hopefully toward three dimensions for RISE OF THE APES. Sounds completely up my alley and with the Weta team behind the ape project, I am totally stoked. Who is with me? :-)
Jim here. Variety says that 20th Century Fox will release ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT on July 13, 2012 and that it will be in stereoscopic 3D.
Who didn't see this one coming with ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAUR taking in an astounding $884,784,626 last year? What was truly interesting was that 78% of the take was overseas. This franchise prints its own money.
I really enjoyed IA:DD in 3D so I expect much more of the same with IA:CD! Who didn't like the squirrels??
Jim here. ContentFilm International has secured rights to a new family project. The director of FLUBBER, Les Mayfield, will be shooting THE DOG SQUAD 3D this summer in Canada. Refreshingly, it is a live action 3D family movie (plenty of animation going on lately). Steve Carpenter wrote with Rick Bennatar producing.
Starring an overweight and lazy Bulldog (Donut), a disgraced former Police Dog (Clint), a sassy Lady Mutt (Samantha), an overly timid Guide-Dog (Bert) and a shameless womanizing Chihuahua (Hector), comes a hilarious and outrageously entertaining live-action adventure that’s fun for all the family.
When a motley crew of stray dogs are thrown into the dog pound, they have to hatch an escape plan fast. Catching an advert for a K9 Police Dog recruitment scheme on the TV, it’s not long before the wild bunch are out of jail and being trained by the bullish Drill Sergeant Pike, where they have just 42 days to be whipped into shape or it’s all over…
Putting their deep rooted trouble making instincts to the test on a daily basis, hilarity ensues at every corner. Donut can’t help but chase all things edible, Hector reminisces about his cross-dressing past and then there’s the small matter of Bert leading a blind man into a manhole. But, working together, the dogs manage to push their lingering insecurities aside, whilst warding off two determined dogcatchers along the way.
The movie will be laden with CG effects.
I am hoping they have Clint Eastwood lined up for the voice of Clint - too much to ask for I am guessing! More when we get it.