Chicken Run
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8 items from 2005


Aardman mobile deals have Wallace on the go

31 October 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

LONDON -- Aardman Animations, creator of the hit feature film Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, said Monday it has signed several international mobile phone deals to distribute its library of content to mobile phone users. Aardman has signed a deal with Orange U.K., for an exclusive deal to promote Curse, which includes movie downloads, wallpapers, voice tones and screensavers. Aardman is also leveraging its extensive archive, including Wallace and Gromit classic The Wrong Trousers, as well as Chicken Run and Creature Comforts, to create a range of video clips, wallpapers, screensavers and ringtones across U.K. mobile telephone platforms Orange UK, Vodafone, O2 and Three UK. Additionally, it has put into place mobile content licensing deals with agents across a global distribution network, including mobile partner Minick for Latin America and Northern and Eastern European territories, Starcut for SE Asia, Player X for Scandinavia, and Buongiorno for France, Italy, Brazil, Greece, Morocco, Portugal, Australia and New Zealand. »

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'Gromit' keeps leash on int'l boxoffice

17 October 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

SYDNEY -- Cracking result, Gromit. United International Pictures' Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit continued to dominate the international boxoffice over the weekend, which was otherwise sprinkled with holdovers and a few strong openings. Nick Park's latest installment of the Wallace & Gromit franchise took in an estimated $26.4 million internationally (including non-UIP territories), giving a cumulative total of more than $40 million. The DreamWorks Animation/Aardman Animations production opened at No. 1 in the U.K. with an estimated $11.3 million from 502 locations -- almost 100% more than Park's earlier effort, Chicken Run -- to garner a national cume, including previews, of $16.2 million. It also opened at the top spots in Germany, with an estimated $2.3 million from 680 screens, and Austria, with $225,000 from 94 sites, while holding on to its top place in France. With school holidays about to start in many European countries, UIP is expecting to see excellent returns over coming weeks. »

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'Gromit' keeps leash on int'l boxoffice

17 October 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

SYDNEY -- Cracking result, Gromit. United International Pictures' Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit continued to dominate the international boxoffice over the weekend, which was otherwise sprinkled with holdovers and a few strong openings. Nick Park's latest installment of the Wallace & Gromit franchise took in an estimated $26.4 million internationally (including non-UIP territories), giving a cumulative total of more than $40 million. The DreamWorks Animation/Aardman Animations production opened at No. 1 in the U.K. with an estimated $11.3 million from 502 locations -- almost 100% more than Park's earlier effort, Chicken Run -- to garner a national cume, including previews, of $16.2 million. It also opened at the top spots in Germany, with an estimated $2.3 million from 680 screens, and Austria, with $225,000 from 94 sites, while holding on to its top place in France. With school holidays about to start in many European countries, UIP is expecting to see excellent returns over coming weeks. »

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Park Unfazed by Wallace & Gromit Fire

13 October 2005 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Oscar-winning animator Nick Park is unfazed by the fire which destroyed many of his past creations on Monday, because he is determined to concentrate on future projects. Park's discovered his latest movie Wallace And Gromit And The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit is currently at the top the US box office moments before hearing his Aardman Animations site in Bristol, England, had been gutted by flames. But he is taking the disaster as a sign to build on his ever-growing success, rather than lament the loss of past creations including the cast of hit movie Chicken Run. Park says, "We have to look forward and keep filming new films and not get stuck in the past. I am always thinking up new Wallace and Gromit ideas and I always want to keep doing them." »

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The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

17 September 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

TORONTO -- After breaking in their act in several hilarious shorts -- two won Oscars -- and a TV series, Wallace and Gromit get their very own feature film in “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.” Wallace, of course, is that cheerful but daft inventor extraordinaire and Gromit is his silent though sage canine, who quietly cleans up his master’s disasters. Most fans of the U.K.-based Aardman Animations’ magical claymation technique think of these two as the studio’s best creations. They certainly live up to that reputation in “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.”

Aardman’s first feature for DreamWorks, “Chicken Run” in 2000, didn’t completely manage the trick of maintaining the laughs and stylish glee of its shorts in a film nearly three times their length. The studio now hits its stride in a second outing, displaying the same technical flair, wonderful British wit and a sharper story sense. Since “Curse” is both a family movie and a date movie, DreamWorks should enjoy a long theatrical run followed by a lively ancillary afterlife.

This adventure is scripted by the two co-directors, Steve Box and Nick Park, along with Bob Baker and Mark Burton. Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) & Gromit run a humane extermination company called Anti-Pesto, which collects rabbits savaging vegetable patches in a comfy British suburb and brings them back to the house. (The basement is getting rather overrun by rabbits, the truth be told.)

Anti-Pesto faces its greatest challenge when a monster rabbit devours patch after patch in the days leading up to the annual Giant Vegetable Competition, sponsored by Lady Tottington (an aristocratically bubbly Helena Bonham Carter). The team must also outwit the blustery Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes in a delightfully over-the-top caricature), who means to kill the monster rabbit with a gold bullet, a 24-carat one. (The Aardman crew is truly addicted to puns.)

Then the unthinkable happens: Wallace & Gromit meet the enemy and it is … Wallace? Yes, in a foolish attempt to rehab rabbits from their desire for veggies in his laboratory, things went horribly wrong. Now, when the moon comes out, Wallace transforms into the Were-Rabbit in a delightful sequence that captures the best of claymation.

Park and Box can now spoof all the old monster movies, everything from werewolves to King Kong himself. From here on the movie rolls merrily along with slapstick action and whimsical characters. And always there’s Gromit working feverishly to prevent disaster after disaster.

Julian Nott’s jolly music with its mock epic swells just barely keeps up with the breakneck pace, one-liners and jokey signs that fly by too fast for the eye to catch every one.

WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT

DreamWorks Pictures

DreamWorks Animation presents an Aardman Animations production

Credits: Directors: Nick Park, Steve Box; Writers: Steve Box, Nick Park, Bob Baker, Mark Burton; Producers: Claire Jennings, Carla Shelley, Peter Lord, David Sporxton, Nick Park; Executive producers: Michael Rose, Cecil Kramer; Director of photography: Tristan Oliver, Dave Alex-Riddett; Production designer: Phil Lewis; Music: Julian Nott; Editor: Dave McCormick, Greg Perler.

Cast: Wallace: Peter Sallis; Victor Quatermaine: Ralph Fiennes; Lady Tottington: Helena Bonham Carter; Rev.Hedges: Nicholas Smith; PC McIntosh: Peter Kay; Mrs. Mulch: Liz Smith.

MPAA rating G, running time 80 minutes.

»

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

6 June 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Opens Friday

Arthur Dent fans need not panic.

After succeeding splendidly first as a BBC Radio series, then as a five-book "trilogy" and a subsequent TV series, Douglas Adams' beloved The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has taken that tricky leap to the cinema with largely pleasing results.

While the long-awaited movie version has some trouble sustaining the blissfully ironic, witty irreverence that was the Adams sensibility, the fact that it hits the nail on the head to the extent it does should come as great relief to the legions of fans who had reason to be dubious following the author's death in 2001.

That Monty Python-esque target demographic, the one also responsible for making Spamalot a big, fat Broadway hit, should reward the Touchstone Pictures release with stellar though less than astronomical boxoffice, followed by some very smart DVD business.

Using Adams' own second draft as a blueprint, screenwriter Karey Kirkpatrick (Chicken Run) and innovative music video director Garth Jennings remain true to the highly distinct brand of sci-fi satire that would go on to influence the likes of Men in Black and Ghostbusters.

For those unfamiliar with the Babel Fish, Vogons and Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters that occupy the Hitchhiker galaxy, the movie actually begins back on Earth, where everyman Arthur Dent (perfectly cast everyman Martin Freeman, late of The Office) is fighting a losing war with a bulldozer that's about to raze his home.

Coincidentally planet Earth also happens to be minutes away from total annihilation in order to make way for a hyperspace freeway, and Dent, still wearing his pajamas, is rescued in the nick of time by his best friend Ford Prefect (Mos Def) who's really an alien who has just been posing as an out-of-work actor.

The two briefly stow away on a spacecraft belonging to the highly bureaucratic, bad-poetry-reading Vogons, before ending up on the Heart of Gold spaceship, which was stolen by the energetic but rather dim President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell channeling George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and assorted rock stars).

Much to Dent's surprise, Beeblebrox is accompanied by comely astrophysicist Trillian (Zooey Deschanel), who went by the name of Trish McMillan back when he met her at a costume party.

And that's just for starters.

Also along for the metaphysical mash-up is Marvin, a chronically depressed robot (ideally voiced by Alan Rickman), rather crazed intergalactic missionary Humma Kavula (John Malkovich) and Magrathean planetary construction engineer Slartibartfast (Bill Nighy), who has overseen the building of a back-up planet Earth.

Jennings, creatively blending bits of CGI with old school FX and Jim Henson's Creature Shop, gets the tone down cold, but like a number of other novice feature directors who cut their teeth on videos, the inspired sequences don't always effectively link together to form a cohesive, involving whole.

Still, there is much to appreciate here, from the terrific casting (heard but not seen are Helen Mirren as the voice of the Deep Thought computer and Stephen Fry providing the amiably glib narration) to production designer Joel Collins' fanciful sets and especially the rousing musical number, "So Long & Thanks For All the Fish," performed by some very wise dolphins who manage to get out while the going's good.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Buena Vista

Touchstone Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment present a Barber/Birnbaum prodn./A Hammer and Tongs prodn./An Everyman Pictures prodn.

Credits:

Director: Garth Jennings

Screenwriters: Douglas Adams and Karey Kirkpatrick

Based on the book by Douglas Adams

Producers: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Nick Goldsmith, Jay Roach, Jonathan Glickman

Executive producers: Douglas Adams, Robbie Stamp, Derek Evans

Director of photography: Igor Jadue-Lillo

Production designer: Joel Collins

Editor: Niven Howie

Costume designer: Sammy Sheldon

Music: Joby Talbot

Cast:

Zaphod Beeblebrox: Sam Rockwell

Ford Prefect: Mos Def

Trish McMillan/Trillian: Zooey Deschanel

Arthur Dent: Martin Freeman

Slartibartfast: Bill Nighy

Marvin: Warwick Davis

Questular: Anna Chancellor

Voice of Marvin: Alan Rickman

Voice of Deep Thought: Helen Mirren

Narrator: Stephen Fry

Humma Kavula: John Malkovich

MPAA Rating: PG

Running time: 108 minutes

»

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

23 May 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Opens Friday

Arthur Dent fans need not panic.

After succeeding splendidly first as a BBC Radio series, then as a five-book "trilogy" and a subsequent TV series, Douglas Adams' beloved The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has taken that tricky leap to the cinema with largely pleasing results.

While the long-awaited movie version has some trouble sustaining the blissfully ironic, witty irreverence that was the Adams sensibility, the fact that it hits the nail on the head to the extent it does should come as great relief to the legions of fans who had reason to be dubious following the author's death in 2001.

That Monty Python-esque target demographic, the one also responsible for making Spamalot a big, fat Broadway hit, should reward the Touchstone Pictures release with stellar though less than astronomical boxoffice, followed by some very smart DVD business.

Using Adams' own second draft as a blueprint, screenwriter Karey Kirkpatrick (Chicken Run) and innovative music video director Garth Jennings remain true to the highly distinct brand of sci-fi satire that would go on to influence the likes of Men in Black and Ghostbusters.

For those unfamiliar with the Babel Fish, Vogons and Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters that occupy the Hitchhiker galaxy, the movie actually begins back on Earth, where everyman Arthur Dent (perfectly cast everyman Martin Freeman, late of The Office) is fighting a losing war with a bulldozer that's about to raze his home.

Coincidentally planet Earth also happens to be minutes away from total annihilation in order to make way for a hyperspace freeway, and Dent, still wearing his pajamas, is rescued in the nick of time by his best friend Ford Prefect (Mos Def) who's really an alien who has just been posing as an out-of-work actor.

The two briefly stow away on a spacecraft belonging to the highly bureaucratic, bad-poetry-reading Vogons, before ending up on the Heart of Gold spaceship, which was stolen by the energetic but rather dim President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell channeling George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and assorted rock stars).

Much to Dent's surprise, Beeblebrox is accompanied by comely astrophysicist Trillian (Zooey Deschanel), who went by the name of Trish McMillan back when he met her at a costume party.

And that's just for starters.

Also along for the metaphysical mash-up is Marvin, a chronically depressed robot (ideally voiced by Alan Rickman), rather crazed intergalactic missionary Humma Kavula (John Malkovich) and Magrathean planetary construction engineer Slartibartfast (Bill Nighy), who has overseen the building of a back-up planet Earth.

Jennings, creatively blending bits of CGI with old school FX and Jim Henson's Creature Shop, gets the tone down cold, but like a number of other novice feature directors who cut their teeth on videos, the inspired sequences don't always effectively link together to form a cohesive, involving whole.

Still, there is much to appreciate here, from the terrific casting (heard but not seen are Helen Mirren as the voice of the Deep Thought computer and Stephen Fry providing the amiably glib narration) to production designer Joel Collins' fanciful sets and especially the rousing musical number, "So Long & Thanks For All the Fish," performed by some very wise dolphins who manage to get out while the going's good.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Buena Vista

Touchstone Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment present a Barber/Birnbaum prodn./A Hammer and Tongs prodn./An Everyman Pictures prodn.

Credits:

Director: Garth Jennings

Screenwriters: Douglas Adams and Karey Kirkpatrick

Based on the book by Douglas Adams

Producers: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Nick Goldsmith, Jay Roach, Jonathan Glickman

Executive producers: Douglas Adams, Robbie Stamp, Derek Evans

Director of photography: Igor Jadue-Lillo

Production designer: Joel Collins

Editor: Niven Howie

Costume designer: Sammy Sheldon

Music: Joby Talbot

Cast:

Zaphod Beeblebrox: Sam Rockwell

Ford Prefect: Mos Def

Trish McMillan/Trillian: Zooey Deschanel

Arthur Dent: Martin Freeman

Slartibartfast: Bill Nighy

Marvin: Warwick Davis

Questular: Anna Chancellor

Voice of Marvin: Alan Rickman

Voice of Deep Thought: Helen Mirren

Narrator: Stephen Fry

Humma Kavula: John Malkovich

MPAA Rating: PG

Running time: 108 minutes

»

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Where the boys are this weekend

28 April 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

It's sure to be a foot race for a fan base this weekend at the movies. Both new wide releases -- Buena Vista Pictures' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Sony Pictures' XXX: State of the Union -- are looking to draw young males, and the winner will be decided by whichever group of fans shows up in greater numbers and how wide that core fan base expands. Suspense is sure to build because industry insiders are hoping these two broad-based pictures will provide the necessary shot in the arm that the recently beleaguered boxoffice needs. The Walt Disney Co.'s Touchstone Pictures might have the upper hand with the first film adaptation of Douglas Adams' uber-popular book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Originally done in 1978 as a BBC radio show about a group of interplanetary travelers and later turned into the widely successful novel and a TV series, the cult satire has a loyal and devoted following. Whether that fan base translates into moviegoers remains to be seen, but sources say tracking puts the film in the mid-$20 million range. The film version is based on a screenplay originally written by Adams. After the author died unexpectedly in 2001, the script was rewritten by Karey Kirkpatrick (Chicken Run, James and the Giant Peach.) Directing the film is Garth Jennings, who along with Nick Goldsmith make up the British commercial and video production and directing team of Hammer & Tongs. Hitchhiker marks Jennings' feature film debut. Spyglass Entertainment is co-producing the PG-rated film. The sci-fi adventure stars Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent, with Mos Def filling the role of Ford Prefect. Also featured are Bill Nighy, Zooey Deschanel, Alan Rickman, Sam Rockwell and John Malkovich. Hitchhiker is sure to play huge on college campuses, but its weekend gross is likely to be more dependent on positive reviews than the other wide opener in the market. The film bows in 3,133 theaters. Sony will open Revolution Studios' XXX: State of the Union on 3,480 screens. A continuation of 2002's high-octane spy actioner XXX, which earned $141 million after opening to $44.5 million, the sequel features neither the original film's star nor its original director. Vin Diesel declined to reprise his role as Xander Cage, an extreme sports athlete-turned-secret agent. And Rob Cohen, who bowed out of directing the sequel, took an executive producing role. Neal Moritz and his Original Film production company produced the movie for Revolution. »

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8 items from 2005


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