The divorce is final. The custody battle is over. They're both ready to move on. That's right: DreamWorks and Paramount finalized the details of their split over the weekend. They claim it's amicable and that they're going to remain friends and all of that, but we'll just see about that. As part of the deal, Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks will take the lead on 15-20 projects, and Paramount will have the option to co-finance. There are another 15-20 that Paramount will take the lead on, giving DreamWorks the option to co-finance. About 200 projects developed by DreamWorks will stay at Paramount, without DreamWorks financing or support.
So apparently, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, which has inspired countless knockoff films, was actually based on a short story from 1942. And while most of those knockoffs flew under the radar, apparently 2007's Disturbia, with Shia LaBeouf in an ankle bracelet standing in for Jimmy Stewart in a wheelchair, has not, and the company that represents the deceased author's estate has filed a lawsuit against Dreamworks, according to Reuters. Apparently, they were waiting for Disturbia to make it to Blu-ray? And for Blu-ray to be declared the next generation of media player? And for all of the Disturbia HD-DVDs to go on closeout?
DreamWorks has just acquired the rights to the Anime franchise Ghost in the Shell. Having made the jump from the pages of manga (Japanese comic books) to several animated films, television series, and video games, Ghost is now jumping even farther into reality, as DreamWorks plans to adapt the work as a 3-D live-action feature film.
The story, as it's been presented in the past, involves a futuristic task force known as Section 9, which fights technology-related crimes. At its center is Major Motoko Kusanagi, herself cybernetically enhanced and engineered. No word on whether she will figure into the new movie or not.
Of interest is DreamWorks' plan to humanize the franchise with flesh-and-blood actors (no doubt framed by state of the art CGI) while adding an element of surreality with the 3-D aspect. 3-D could be said to make something seem more realistic, but the "wow factor" often overwhelms the intended result. Plus, can anyone ever truly forget that they're wearing a pear of special glasses at the move theater? If you already wear glasses (from reading too much manga by the dim glow of a flashlight under the bedsheets) the result is doubly cumbersome.
There's also the lingering stigma of cheesetastic 3-D films of the past, as has been mentioned here just recently. New technology aims to bring 3-D into the digital age, although this time giving you the option of forty-dollar glasses instead of the flimsy disposables. (It's either that or wait until cybernetics advances to the stage where your eyes can simply be reprogrammed.) Will the new Ghost be a technological marvel, or a technological crime, deserving of Section 9's special attention?
Thinking outside the box is not a new concept in Hollywood. I mean, this is the town that said, "I know! Talking, dancing Chihuahuas!" and then actually made a bunch of money. So, it may come as little surprise that they're doing the same thing with The Trial of the Chicago 7, an upcoming DreamWorks project about the 1968 riots at the Democratic convention and the events that followed. And by "same thing" I don't mean talking, dancing Chihuahuas. Praise be. Written by Aaron Sorkin, the political drama has had a few directors who've come in for talks about attaching themselves to the film, including Steven Spielberg, Paul Greengrass, and Ben Stiller. No, you totally read that right. Stiller is the latest in a line of helmers that have been in discussions to work on the film, even though this project is decidedly different in tone from the rest of the director's oeuvre. Not that a guy can't change direction or want to work on something a little bit different, but it seems an interesting choice.
...or 39 of them. Spielberg's DreamWorks has acquired the rights to The 39 Clues, what Variety describes as "a multiplatform adventure series." As yet The 39 Clues is a 10-book series, the first of which, The Maze of Bones, will be released on September 9th of this year by Scholastic. The "multiplatform" part seems to include a set of collectible cards, an online game where young readers can try to solve a mystery for a $10,000 grand prize, and obviously, the Spielberg flick. Which, according to DreamWorks' co-chair, may not be the only one coming to the big screen. "There is enough material here for three or four movies," Stacey Snider told Variety, adding, "Steven is very involved and passionate. This excites me as an executive but also as a mother. It is an educational, challenging interactive experience that hits kids where they live." Ouch.
There are a whole lotta sequels going on. Particularly for the animated animals of the Dreamworks slate. Jeffery Katzenberg, head of Dreamworks, was at a preview for the upcoming Madagascar sequel, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and said that they were planning not just an additional sequel in the Madagascar series, but a sequel to this summer's Kung Fu Panda as well. Having enjoyed both originals and also being always on the lookout for new movies to keep my nephews entertained on long car rides, I'm okay with it. I mean, there are only so many times my poor sister can listen to Cars.
Everybody loves monsters and aliens. After all, they've been making movies about monsters since movies were invented, and aliens since aliens were invented! So it's about time that someone decided to make them fight. In 3-D, no less! The Super Gallaga Bros. have released their latest trailer review, this time of Dreamworks' Monsters vs. Aliens, and it's almost as funny as the trailer makes the movie look. Almost. They nearly put themselves over with "happy eye boogers," but we'll let you be the judge. See the newest episode of "Trailers Without Pity" after the jump!
Film industry relationships are complicated. Most relationships are, but at least with marriages and dating, we at least have some frame of reference. Our friends or family members have been through the same things we have, and can share their experiences with us. And if not, we can always watch the wack-jobs on Maury to make ourselves feel better. Let's look at the relationship troubles between DreamWorks SKG and Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures, as reported by Zap2it, in terms we might be able to relate to.
Clint Eastwood is in talks to direct Hereafter for DreamWorks, reports Variety. The movie, described as a "supernatural thriller", was one of the properties Steven Spielberg took with him as part of the divorce settlement from Paramount Pictures, and it could end up with all the right ingredients for something great. First, of course, there's Eastwood as a possible director. Then there's the spec script by Peter Morgan, who also penned the screenplay for Frost/Nixon, which is racking up the critical praise before it's even released. Finally there's the subject matter -- who doesn't love a good psychological thriller? Here's where it gets a little iffy, though: Although "[p]lot details are being kept under wraps," it's being compared to The Sixth Sense. What are they thinking?