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18 items from 2003

7 cookin' in effects bake-off

21 December 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

The 2003 visual effects Oscar race began Friday with the announcement of seven films that made the first cut. New Line Cinema's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Universal Studios' The Hulk and Peter Pan, 20th Century Fox's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and X2, Buena Vista Pictures' Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and Warner Bros. Pictures' Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines will compete Jan. 21. The seven will go head-to-head at a "bake-off" Jan. 21 when 15-minute clip reels will be shown and each film's respective supervisors will make their case before an audience of their peers at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The final three nominations will be announced Jan. 29. Most noteworthy in this year's race is the range of effects -- from one of the most massive CG battles in movie history to more than an hour of unidentifiable visual effects on the open sea. "Visual effects nominations don't have to go to the big, so-called 'visual-effects movies'," said Richard Edlund, visual effects branch governor. "Master and Commander is a very mature decision by the committee. It could not have been done without extensive and sophisticated visual effects work." The bigger surprise, however, is that Warners' The Matrix Revolutions is missing from the 2003 race. The original Matrix won the visual effects Oscar for 1999. »

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Parent, Stuber get vice chairmen posts at Uni

14 December 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Mary Parent and Scott Stuber, the two executives who head production at Universal Pictures, have been promoted to the newly created position of vice chairman, worldwide production at Universal Pictures. Universal Pictures chairman Stacey Snider, to whom the two executives report, announced the new appointments Friday. The move recognizes the success of the team assembled by Snider and Ron Meyer, Vivendi Universal Entertainment president and CEO. The promotions come just as Universal Pictures has crossed the $1 billion domestic boxoffice mark for 2003 and is set to become the first studio in history to have six films each gross more than $100 million in one year -- Bruce Almighty, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Hulk, Seabiscuit, American Wedding, and the current release Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat. It also signals that the Universal team will not undergo any radical changes once VUE's merger with General Electric's NBC is completed sometime in the first quarter of the year. »

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Lee saddles up for Focus' 'Brokeback'

21 November 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

NEW YORK -- To follow up on his Universal Pictures summer special effects extravaganza The Hulk, Ang Lee is circling a big-screen adaptation of the epic love story Brokeback Mountain for Focus Features. The project is based on a short story by E. Annie Proulx and is being adapted by Proulx and Lonesome Dove author Larry McMurtry. The project is an epic love story set against the sweeping vistas of Wyoming and Texas and centering on two young men -- a ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy -- who meet in the summer of 1961. Unexpectedly, the two forge a lifelong connection, with complications, joys and tragedies that provide a testament to the endurance and power of love. »

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UIP agrees more German rental fees

12 November 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

MILAN -- United International Pictures (UIP) has achieved a temporary ceasefire with German exhibitors group IG 47.7 that will see the distributor agree to hold off raising its film rental fees until April of next year. Another exhibitors group, IG Nord, settled with UIP last week. The new agreement will keep rental prices at or below 50% for upcoming UIP releases. Fees for high profile UIP films such as The Cat in the Hat, John Woo's Paycheck and Ben Stiller comedy Along Came Polly will start at 50% and drop 2.5% weekly. Only UIP's German-language animated feature Derrick -- Duty Calls will be fixed at 50% for four weeks. IG 47.7, whose members operate a total of 536 screens across Germany, had boycotted UIP films to protest UIP's plan to raise minimum rental fees for exhibitors outside major urban areas in Germany from 47.5% to 52.5% starting with UIP's summer release of The Hulk. UIP planned to increase rates for its upcoming blockbusters and charge up to 55% for Stephen Sommers' monster-hunter film Van Helsing, which the group will release next year. Smaller exhibitors, saying the raised fees would cripple them, boycotted The Hulk in Germany, a move that helped contribute to the film's poor performance in the territory. Exhibitors formed two associations -- IG 47.7 and IG Nord -- to pressure UIP to back down. »

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Buyers back as MIPCOM opens

13 October 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

CANNES -- It fell on a weekend, the sun shone, and everybody bitched about having to work. But the fact was that the MIPCOM television market looks like it's turning out to have been a solid place for business as the promise of a little optimism returning to the marketplace was largely fulfilled. The message from everywhere is that purse strings are under tight control, which was borne out by the scarcity along the Croisette of billboard ads for programming. But companies were still prepared, however, to splash some cash on entertaining, and the early pace of cocktails and dinners was intense. A bash Wednesday night to launch DIC Entertainment's new animated series Stan Lee's Super 7 took on the feel of a comic book convention as international execs swarmed guest of honor Stan Lee, asking for autographs from the legendary creator of Spider-Man, The Hulk, X-Men and Daredevil. »

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Loud Nolte in Trouble Again

26 August 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hell-raising actor Nick Nolte has been in trouble with the police again after they received complaints about the volume of the star's electric guitar. The 62-year-old Hulk star, who has an extensive history of drink and drug abuse, was informed of his offensive musical outpourings by his teenage son, when the police knocked on his Malibu, California, home. Young Brawley Nolte answered the door to the angry officers, before apologizing on his father's behalf and assuring them he'd ask the Cape Fear star to turn the volume down. Nolte says, "All of a sudden, he tapped me on the shoulder and scared me out of my skin. I said, 'What, what, what, what Son?' And he said, 'You're too noisy.'" »

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July heat wave takes toll of U.K. movie admissions

22 August 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

LONDON -- In the face of sweltering heat, U.K. boxoffice admission figures for July took a sharp drop from the same period last year, according to figures released Thursday by the Cinema Advertising Assn. Admissions in July hit 12.4 million, a fall of just more than 17% from last year's record-breaking July monthly total of 15 million, despite strong performances from a trio of blockbuster titles. According to the CAA, the top boxoffice draw in July was Bruce Almighty, which brought in £13.8 million ($21.7 million) despite being released in June. Second up was Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, which took in £11.5 million ($18.1 million) in July, while The Hulk took the third spot, barging its way to £7.5 million ($11.8 million). »

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Dominik hits 'Demolished' at Paramount

4 August 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Andrew Dominik, who directed the Australian hit feature Chopper, is poised to invade the American studio system. The helmer has come aboard to develop and direct Paramount Pictures' The Demolished Man. Demolished, based on the late science-fiction author Alfred Bester's best-selling book of the same name, is about a future society where telepaths are a recognized group of society and often used to detect crimes before they happen. Because of their existence, crime is at an all-time low, and there hasn't been a murder in more than 70 years. When a wealthy businessman decides to murder his rival, bribing a high-ranking telepath to help him cover his tracks, a telepathic cop is brought in to investigate. Figuring out who committed the crime is easy, proving the businessman's guilt is more problematic and a battle of wits ensues between the two. No writers or producers are attached to the project as of yet. Dominik will oversee the development of the script. The helmer is repped by Endeavor. Dominik's 2000 feature Chopper, which he also wrote, starred Australian actor Eric Bana. The film is credited with putting the young actor on the map and paving the way for him to star in such American fare as the ensemble feature Black Hawk Down, and in the title role of this summer's current feature The Hulk. »

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Nolte Speaks Out About Addiction Hell

17 July 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Actor Nick Nolte has revealed the personal hell behind his infamous arrest last year. Soon after shooting ended on blockbuster The Hulk, the 62-year-old was caught driving erratically by Malibu, California, police. His blood was found to contain traces of illegal drug GHB. He was handed a three-year parole sentence - and a self-imposed stint in rehab. Now on his way back to recovery, the star admits his fight against addiction of all kinds has been hellish - but he knows he has a problem, and may be able to fight it. Nolte says, "I'd tried going back to my old AA meetings, even that morning. And I could have taken the back road home as I always do but I went on the highway instead and then I saw the cops' lights go off." He explains, "There's no hiding. I've always said I have had an addiction problem. It's something you deal with and you take care of it, and you can keep it under control. Now the trick is not to relapse and that's just a matter of daily vigilance. It's like having a cancer. If you had a cancer on your skin and had it burned off you'd wash it and clean it. I got sober when I was 48 and I'd stayed sober for 10 years but then hadn't been sober for three years. And I just didn't know how to get out from under it... so I went to rehab and got out from under it." »

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'Hulk' Stars Smash Into London

4 July 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hulk co-stars Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly and Josh Lucas joined over a thousand of British fans at the London premiere of their blockbuster film last night. Connelly, who is eight months pregnant, was accompanied by her husband Paul Bettany. The couple are staying in England at the moment while Bettany completes filming on his romantic comedy Wimbledon. Bana - who arrived in fresh from filming Troy in Malta - was flanked by fellow Australian Holly Valance and made jokes about his charcoal colored suit. He told reporters, "I looked everywhere for a green suit but I couldn't find a nice one so I've had to make do with this." »

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'Angels' sequel debut less than heavenly

29 June 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Sony's Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle started its domestic run at the boxoffice this weekend with something less than the pedal to the metal as the broadly marketed sequel pulled in an estimated $38 million. It was far from a heavenly debut and viewed largely as a disappointment as it was on the low side of where pre-release tracking indicated it would land. Universal's The Hulk took a huge 70% drop on its sophomore frame, taking in an estimated $18.4 million and placing second. The Ang Lee-directed picture nevertheless has crossed the $100 million mark in 10 days, the 10th release this year to do so, as its cume reached an estimated $102 million. But Buena Vista's Finding Nemo seems to keep finding more business as the Pixar film netted an estimated $13.9 million in its fifth weekend to take third, slipping 34% -- the second best hold in the top 10. The cume to date is an estimated $253.9 million, topping Toy Story 2 ($245.8 million) and with the expectation that it will surpass Monsters, Inc. ($255.9 million) in the next few days to become the highest grossing Pixar film ever. The McG helmed sequel, starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu, failed to match the opening of the first Charlie's Angels, which debuted with $40.1 million, and went on to a domestic gross of $125.3 million. Most industry observers expected the film to open better than the original, as has been the case for many high-profile sequels of late. »

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Jersey man admits guilt over 'Hulk' bootleg

26 June 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

The Hulk struck back in a Manhattan federal court Wednesday as a New Jersey man who uploaded a bootlegged copy of the movie to the Web two weeks in advance of the movie's opening plead guilty to felony charges. Kerry Gonzalez faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 after copping to a felony charge of making an unauthorized digital copy of The Hulk and uploading it onto an Internet chat site. According to documents released by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, an unfinished "work print" version of the film, which did not include final special effects and graphics, was sent to a print advertising agency in Manhattan 2 1/2 weeks before the film's opening Friday. »

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Connelly Considered Quitting

25 June 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Connelly nearly gave up show business after a string of humiliating Hollywood mistakes. The brunette beauty is riding high on international screens with new release The Hulk, but admits she once seriously considered quitting acting because she couldn't find any decent roles. Higher Learning star Jennifer explains, "My college professor told me he saw a poster for the movie Career Opportunities showing me in a tank top and Eighties hair, riding on a mechanical rocking horse. I was mortified because that person has nothing to do with who I am and is no way a reflection of my taste. These movies I'd been making in no way reflect my taste as a moviegoer. It got to a point where I didn't want to work in movies anymore because it became too embarrassing and humiliating. So I thought, 'I can either do something else or see what happens if I really invest myself in what I'm doing and take responsibility for what I'm doing.'" »

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'Hulk' Sequel To Go Ahead?

25 June 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

A sequel is already planned for Hollywood blockbuster The Hulk according to the film's star Eric Bana - even though the first movie has just been released. The Australian star does not know any details of the sequel to the green monster movie, which writer James Schamus is said to have already started work on, because he's too busy filming the epic Troy with hunky Brad Pitt in Malta. Bana says, "I guess we will do one. It might sound silly, but I really haven't thought about it. It's hard to think Hulk when you're in the middle of The Iliad!" It is thought The Hulk sequel will see the green-skinned giant return to his original color of gray, and the two main villains could well be popular comic book characters The Leader and The Abomination. »

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Artisan, Marvel put Jane into 'Punisher' role

4 April 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Artisan Pictures and Marvel Studios have tapped Dreamcatcher star Thomas Jane as the lead in the big-screen version of the Marvel comic book The Punisher. Punisher follows FBI undercover agent Frank Castle, whose family is executed as a repercussion of his law-enforcement work. With unparalleled intensity, intelligence and fearlessness, Castle sets out to punish the killers, unexpectedly finding redemption in the process. The project is being produced by Marvel Studios CEO Avi Arad and producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator, The Hulk). Jonathan Hensleigh is the writer-director on the picture, which goes in front of the cameras in early July for a summer 2004 release. »

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'X2' Director Not Worried About 'Matrix' Competition

1 April 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

X2 director Bryan Singer isn't worried about the Matrix sequels stealing his thunder - as he believes the two movies are operating on different levels. The sequel to 2000's mega-hit movie X-Men is being released on May 2 and just two weeks later, the first of two follow-ups to 1999's The Matrix hits screens. But Singer says, "I think we're in a different world than The Matrix, and we're exciting in a different way, and we have different characters and a different tone. We operate in our own universe. We don't worry about Superman and Spider-Man and The Matrix and The Hulk." »

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Jennifer & Paul Celebrate Baby News

10 February 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Newlyweds Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany are expecting their first baby together. The A Beautiful Mind co-stars, who wed in private at the beginning of the year, are said to be ecstatic about the news. Connelly already has a five-year-old son, Kai, who she had with photographer David Dugan. The Oscar-winning actress will next be seen in the long-awaited film version of The Hulk, co-starring Eric Bana, due out this summer. »

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Bettany and Connelly Wed

14 January 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Sexy actress Jennifer Connelly has finally wed her A Beautiful Mind co- star Paul Bettany. After months of speculation about when the ceremony would take place, the pair tied the knot over the recent Christmas holidays in Scotland in a private ceremony, according to reports. Connelly, who won an Oscar for her role in the Russell Crowe-starring flick and will be seen in the upcoming Ang Lee version of The Hulk, met British actor Bettany on the set of the 2001. It's a first marriage for both screen stars. »

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