10 items from 2007
NEW YORK -- HarperCollins Publishers is forging its first partnership to develop and produce films based on its large collection of properties.
The publisher is forming a multiyear alliance with Hart Sharp Entertainment offshoot Sharp Independent called Sharp Independent at HarperCollins. The division will acquire film rights to existing and future HarperCollins adult titles to create new films, housed in HarperCollins offices and overseen by Harper/Morrow president and group publisher Michael Morrison.
The move makes sense for HarperCollins, which has had big success with film adaptations from such titles as The Chronicles of Narnia series and The Pursuit of Happyness. But SI head Jeff Sharp's screen adaptations in recent years have been disappointments at the boxoffice.
Sharp's reported $13 million all-star adaptation of the novel Evening earned $12.5 million this year. His reported $20 million adaptation of the Broadway hit Proof took in $7.5 million in 2005, his $6.5 million adaptation of A Home at the End of the World earned just $1 million in 2004 and his reported $10 million 2002 adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby grossed $1.6 million. »
Disney and Walden Media have postponed the start of production on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third Narnia movie, from January until summer 2008.
The companies blamed the delay on "the challenging schedules for our young actors."
Michael Apted is helming Dawn Treader.
The second film in the franchise, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, is scheduled to open May 16. Caspian originally was set for release in December, but the companies postponed its original release date by five months after Sony decided to release The Water Horse, in which Walden is also involved, in that month.
G-Force is a blend of live action and CG characters and marks the directorial debut of visual effects innovator Hoyt Yeatman. The story follows a team of guinea pigs that are highly trained elite agents on a dangerous mission. »
Beyond his enthusiasm for Cyrus and her hot-selling albums, Iger praised Disneyland's new Finding Nemo submarine ride, gushed over the company's Club Penguin acquisition and predicted long-term success for Ratatouille even though the movie hasn't performed as well as other Disney/Pixar films.
He also promised that a High School Musical 2 back-to-school marketing tie-in with Wal-Mart will be "the biggest we've ever seen."
Disney posted fiscal third-quarter income of $1.18 billion, up from $1.13 billion a year ago, as revenue rose 7% to $9.05 billion.
Operating income rose 12% at consumer products and 13% at parks and resorts. At minus 20%, studio entertainment was the laggard because of tough comparisons with last year's big-selling DVD The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
As for revenue, the once-ailing consumer products division was the star, garnering $549 million in sales, 23% more than last year. »
Consumers spent a projected $10.7 billion on home video in the first six months of the year, down 2% when compared with the midway point of 2006, according to studio estimates and Home Media Magazine market research.
Rental spending was projected to remain flat at $3.9 billion, while DVD sales were pegged at $6.8 billion, down 3%.
One reason for the decline in consumer spending could be the overall weaker boxoffice value of first-half DVD releases, off about 9% year-over-year.
Warner Home Video's Happy Feet was the top-selling DVD released in the first six months with sales of 8.6 million units.
The top-selling DVD in first-half 2006, Buena Vista Home Entertainment's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, sold 11.8 million units, while the top seller at the halfway mark of 2005, Buena Vista's The Incredibles, sold about 16.1 million. Happy Feet and The Incredibles were March releases, while Narnia came out in April.
With a U.S. boxoffice gross of $291.7 million, Narnia was the biggest theatrical release of the three. »
Enigma filmmaker Michael Apted is taking over from Andrew Adamson to direct the third installment in The Chronicles Of Narnia series. Disney Pictures and Walden Media announced on Wednesday that Apted, 66, will direct The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, which is scheduled for release in 2009. Adamson is currently filming Prince Caspian in New Zealand - which is set for release next year, following the success of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe in 2005. In chronological order, The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader and Prince Caspian are the fifth and fourth books respectively in C.S. Lewis' seven book series, but filmmakers have chosen the order so the first movie's child actors can continue to play their characters before they are too old. »
Michael Apted has signed on to direct Walt Disney Pictures/Walden Media's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
This is the third installment in the series that includes the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the upcoming 2008 release of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will begin filming in January and it is set for a May 1, 2009, release date.
Mark Johnson returns once again as producer. Andrew Adamson, who directed the first two films in the series, will continue his involvement by also serving as a producer on the project.
"We're thrilled that (Apted) will be directing 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' and feel that he brings his own unique sensibilities, filmmaking experience, and vision to the project," said Oren Aviv, president of production for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. »
BRUSSELS -- European cinema chain Kinepolis Group on Friday reported a 6% drop in attendance for the first quarter of this year, blaming it on "the mediocre range of films on offer during this period."
The group said that the top five movies from the January to March period -- Night at the Museum, Taxi 4, Blood Diamond, The Departed and La Mome -- compared poorly with the boxoffice hits from the same period last year. Those films included The Chronicles of Narnia, King Kong, Munich, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and Les Bronzes 3.
The three-month period saw the group sell 5.7 million tickets to its cinema complexes, off 4% from the 6.1 million that walked through the turnstiles from January to March 2006. However, the latest figures include new complexes in Bruges and Poland so, on a comparative basis, the numbers are down 6%.
The results come a month after Kinepolis reported net profits of 14.6 million ($19.1 million) in 2006, up 80% from its 8.1 million ($10.6 million) profit in 2005.
Kinepolis, launched in 1997, has more than 300 screens in 22 cinema complexes in Belgium, France, Spain, Poland and Switzerland and employs more than 1,900 people. »
The Hulk is getting a makeover.
Rhythm & Hues Studios said that it has been named the lead visual effects house on "The Incredible Hulk" from Marvel Studios, which is scheduled to start production in June in Toronto. Louis Leterrier will direct.
Rhythm & Hues was selected after several months of R&D that included the creation of a CG Hulk.
The company is well known for its character animation. For "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the studio's work included the film's well-received CG lion Aslan. Earlier character work included "Babe", which won an Academy Award for achievement in visual effects.
Pointing to the company's history with creating animals, Rhythm & Hues film division president Lee Berger sees "Hulk" as a great next project. "It's the first time Rhythm & Hues has been able to take a human-like character to its full exposition," he said. »
Talking automobiles, quirky swashbucklers and singing teenagers kept the Walt Disney Co. firing on all cylinders during its first quarter, allowing the firm to post net income that more than doubled compared with the same frame a year ago.
Disney's report, which came after Wall Street's closing bell, validated investors' enthusiasm for the company, shares of which rose during the regular session and then pushed their way to a 52-week high in after-hours trading.
Net income rose from $734 million in the first quarter last year to $1.7 billion. Revenue grew 10% to $9.7 billion.
Disney posted "outperformance by nearly all segments," Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto said, driven primarily by the film studio.
While the studio entertainment division grew revenue 29% to $2.6 billion, operating income soared from $128 million a year ago to $604 million, mostly because of massive DVD sales of "Cars", "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and "The Little Mermaid Platinum Edition."
Strength in DVDs offset a bit of theatrical weakness, Disney executives said, where "Deja Vu" and "Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" competed unsuccessfully against last year's "The Chronicle of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."
Disney's first quarter also benefited from the sale of its stakes in Us Weekly magazine and E! Entertainment, which brought in sales of $1.1 billion and helped the company beat analysts' revenue and profit expectations by a wide margin. »
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Homegrown films kept the New Zealand boxoffice buoyant in the first half of 2006, helping it to notch up NZ$146.4 million ($101 million) for the year.
That figure was down marginally from 2005's NZ$146.8 million ($101.3 million) but reported as a "particularly impressive" result by the Motion Picture Distributors Association of New Zealand, which cited the lack of big hits with Kiwi links like the previous year's King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The World's Fastest Indian.
However, independent New Zealand movies contributed about 10% of the boxoffice total in the first six months, MPDA president Andrew Cornwell said in an interview. "They kept it at a good level relative to other markets around the world," he said.
Among them was Sione's Wedding, which grossed NZ$4.1 million ($3.2 million) to finish in fifth place. The top four grossers were Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with NZ$7 million ($4.8 million), The Da Vinci Code ($3.6 million), Ice Age 2 ($3.3 million) and Casino Royale ($2.8 million). »
10 items from 2007
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