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March 2003

Peter Jackson to remake 'King Kong'
Posted Monday, March 31, 2003, 5:19AM CST by Franklin Harris
Director Peter Jackson's next project after "The Lord of the Rings" looks to be his long-proposed remake of "King Kong." Universal Studios has given Jackson the greenlight to remake the 1933 RKO Radio Pictures classic and hopes to release the new film in 2005.

Jackson's remake will be set during the 1930s.

Source: Cinescape

'Batman', 'Spider-Man' and other movie updates
Posted Friday, March 28, 2003, 12:23PM CST by Franklin Harris
Here is a brief roundup of recent news relating to several comic-book-based movie projects:

  • BLADE III: David Goyer has turned in a script for "Blade III," and the studio executives at New Line seem pleased. The cameras could roll later this year. Source: Comics2Film

  • BATMAN: According to Variety, Goyer will next write a script for the "Batman" film project currently set to be helmed by Christopher Nolan ("Memento").

  • SPIDER-MAN: The release date for "The Amazing Spider-Man" has been pushed back to July 2, 2004, which should give star Toby Maguire time to recover from his back problems before shooting starts. The film was originally set to open on May 7, 2004. In response, Universal has pushed up the release date of its Hugh Jackman horror flick, "Van Helsing," to May 7. Source: Cinescape

  • SUPERMAN: It's still a mess.

'Spirited Away' to open wide on Friday
Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2003, 7:55AM CST by Franklin Harris
Following its Oscar win for best animated feature, "Spirited Away" will finally open in wide release on Friday, according to a press release issued by Disney:

BURBANK, Calif., March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- "Spirited Away," the 2003 Academy Award(R) winning animated feature from acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, is set to open in theaters across the country on Friday March 28th, it was announced today (3/25) by Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. The film, which claimed top honors in its category at the Sunday night Oscar(R) ceremonies, was one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2002 and was selected by many leading journalists as one of their "top ten" films of last year. "Spirited Away" has previously received the Annie Award (from ASIFA-Hollywood), the Golden Bear Award (from the Berlin Film Festival), and was honored as the year's best animated film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Broadcast Film Critics Association, and National Board of Review.

Commenting on the announcement, Cook said, "We're thrilled that the Academy has chosen to honor 'Spirited Away' for its incredible achievement in storytelling and artistry and we're proud to be associated with legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki in bringing his masterpiece to moviegoers across the country. The film is far and away the most successful film to ever play in Japan and it has always been our desire to share this film with the widest possible audience here in the U.S. With this important Oscar(R) recognition, the film will have the additional awareness and appeal needed to find a welcome reception. All of us at Disney are extremely proud to have had three of this year's nominees in the Best Animated Feature category and to have played a part in bringing the award-winning 'Spirited Away' to moviegoers.

"Spirited Away" follows the fanciful adventures of a ten-year-old girl named Chihiro, who discovers a secret world when she and her family get lost and venture through a hillside tunnel. When her parents undergo a mysterious transformation, Chihiro must fend for herself as she encounters strange spirits, assorted creatures and a grumpy sorceress who seeks to prevent her from returning to the human world.

New Line hires 'Shazam!' screenwriter
Posted Monday, March 24, 2003, 5:25AM CST by Franklin Harris
Cinescape reports that Oscar-winning screenwriter William Goldman win pen the script for "Shazam!" New Line is prepping the superhero feature, based on the DC Comics character Captain Marvel, for a 2004 or early 2005 release.

'Two Towers' wins SFX Oscar
Posted Sunday, March 23, 2003, 8:10PM CST by Franklin Harris
"The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" beat out "Spider-Man" and "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" to win the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

'Spirited Away' wins animation Oscar
Posted Sunday, March 23, 2003, 8:01PM CST by Franklin Harris
Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" became the first anime to win an Academy Award, winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. This is only the second year for the category, which was won last year by "Shrek."

Ratner officially off 'Superman' movie
Posted Friday, March 21, 2003, 5:37AM CST by Franklin Harris
The never-ending battle to bring Superman to the big screen has claimed another casualty. Director Brett Ratner ("Red Dragon") is officially off the project. Instead, he will develop "Rush House 3."

Source: Cinescape

Nintendo to resume Pokemon card game
Posted Thursday, March 20, 2003, 6:33AM CST by Franklin Harris
Following the news that Wizards of the Coast will no longer publish the English-language version of the Pokemon trading card game, Nintendo announced that it is forming a division to keep the game alive. Nintendo's Pokemon game will pick up where the Wizards game leaves off, with a North American edition of the Ruby and Sapphire expansion set.

Source: ICv2.com

Maguire may pull out of 'Spider-Man' sequel
Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2003, 8:08AM CST by Franklin Harris
Ananova reports that Tobey Maguire may drop out of the "Spider-Man" sequel. A spokesman for Maguire said the actor was experiencing problems with his back and may not be up to performing difficult stunts. According to Variety, "The Good Girl" star Jake Gyllenhaal has been lined-up as a possible replacement.

Three seasons of 'Earth: Final Conflict' come to DVD
Posted Monday, March 17, 2003, 7:49PM CST by Franklin Harris
PRESS RELEASE: HOUSTON, March 14, 2003-ADV Films today announced the acquisition of the home-video rights to three seasons of the acclaimed Tribune Entertainment science-fiction television series "Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict." Telling the story of a conflicted Resistance movement on an Earth where alien Taelon "Companions" are either working to improve the lot of man, or plotting to take control of the Earth for their own devices, "Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict" is a gripping drama, combining intrigue with realistic studies of human weakness and foible, determination and heroism.

After a successful five-year run in syndication, "Gene Roddenberry's Earth Final Conflict" is currently being broadcast on the SCI FI channel. "Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict" has proved an enduring fan favorite, with viewers following the series' elaborate plot twists through numerous fan sites, as well as through Tribune's extensive official site, http://www.efc.com.

ADV Films leadership is pleased at the acquisition and its potential for strong home-video sales. "Gene Roddenberry's association with a title is a proven driver for strong viewership and sales," said ADV Films President, Founder and CEO John Ledford. "We've seen this with 'Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda,' which has been a strong seller on DVD and VHS; the ongoing successful broadcast run of 'Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict' is a sign of more of the same to come."

ADV Films has not yet made public the release schedule for "Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict," but the firm has indicated that it plans a 2003 DVD release, and individual volumes will likely include extensive extras, including such exclusive content as commentary tracks from stars and staff, outtakes and bloopers and much more.

Halle Berry to star in 'Catwoman'
Posted Friday, March 14, 2003, 2:37PM CST by Franklin Harris
First it was going to be Michelle Pfeiffer, reprising her role from "Batman Returns." Then Ashley Judd was a lock. Then it was going to be Halley Berry. But then Nicole Kidman was ready to sign up. And now, finally, it looks like Berry (again) is going to star in "Catwoman," a feature film based (very) loosely on the DC Comics femme fatale. French director Pitof will helm the project.

Source: Variety

'Black Lagoon' remake gets writer
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2003, 6:50AM CST by Franklin Harris
Universal's long-in-development remake of "Creature from the Black Lagoon" has a screenwriter, Tedi Sarafian, reports Variety. Sarafian also wrote the upcoming "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines."

Marvel's 'Gargoyle' heads to big screen, sort of
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2003, 6:44AM CST by Franklin Harris
Columbia Pictures has purchased the movie rights to fourth-string Marvel Comics character The Gargoyle, but the movie Columbia plans to make seems to have little to do with Marvel's character, according to Variety. So, given the rather generic nature of gargoyles (Disney had an animated series starring some of them), it begs the question, "Why did Columbia need to pay Marvel to make a movie it could have made regardless?" I guess Marvel properties are so hot that Marvel can sell anything. For more, see Sci-Fi Wire.

No more Pokemon cards after 2003
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2003, 6:34AM CST by Franklin Harris
Wizards of the Coast will no longer produce Pokemon CCG cards after 2003, reports ICv2.com. The company failed to reach an agreement with the Japanese publisher to produce an English-language version of the "Ruby & Sapphire" expansion set. As a result, Wizards will publish three final expansion sets this year and then no more.

Wizards of the Coast will continue to support Pokemon League tournament play for a time, but that too will be phased out.

Fred Freiberger dead at age 88
Posted Tuesday, March 11, 2003, 7:18PM CST by Franklin Harris
Fred Freiberger, who produced the third season of the original "Star Trek" and the second season of "Space: 1999," died March 2 at age 88.

Source: Satellite News

Sequel to American 'Ring' moves ahead
Posted Thursday, March 6, 2003, 10:54AM CST by Franklin Harris
RingWorld reports that a sequel to "The Ring" is moving ahead at DreamWorks. But while "The Ring" is an American remake of the Japanese film "Ringu," the sequel will be an original story, not a remake of the Japanese film's sequel or prequel.

DreamWorks is shooting for an October 2004 release date. Naomi Watts is in negotiations to reprise her role from the first film, but director Gore Verbinski may not return. Steven Spielberg, Wes Craven and Sam Mendes are mentioned as possible replacements for Verbinski.


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