BREAKING… The Kung Fu Panda director has come aboard Sherlock Gnomes, the 3D animated sequel to last year’s Disney-released Gnomeo & Juliet. Elton John‘s Rocket Pictures is producing again with the first movie’s co-writers Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil also back for the follow-up, which centers on the characters from the first movie enlisting the help of a famous gnome-detective in solving the sinister disappearance of gnomes from the suburban gardens of England. “John has the perfect sensibility for this movie, together with the vision to build on the first film to create a distinctive, fresh and action-packed adventure,” said Rocket CEO and producer Steve Hamilton Shaw. Stevenson is repped by CAA. Elton John is writing original music for the movie, which is now set to begin production early next year. Rocket Pictures, repped by UTA, also said today that it has hired former Walt Disney Animation production head Carolyn Soper to help oversee production on the pic, working alongside Hamilton Shaw as the company ramps up its animation ambitions. Rocket’s David Furnish and Elton John are also producing.
Elton John’s Rocket Pictures And Kelly Asbury Follow ‘Gnomeo’ With ‘Will Gallows And The Snake Bellied Troll’
EXCLUSIVE: Rocket Pictures is re-teaming with Gnomeo & Juliet writer/director Kelly Asbury on Will Gallows and the Snake Bellied Troll, a live-action/CGI-animated feature. Based on the first in a series of books by Derek Keilty, the film tells the story of a young cowboy who seeks justice in a world that mashes together fantasy and the Wild West. Andersen Press published the book last March. Rocket Pictures, which is Sir Elton John’s label formed to make family-themed film and TV projects, acquired the feature rights for a film that, like Gnomeo & Juliet, will have strong musical elements. Rocket Pictures’ Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish will produce, and John will be executive producer.
“It’s a classic cowboy story for kids, set in an amazing world,” John said in a statement. “We think family audiences will love it.” Rocket and Asbury scored a sleeper hit with Gnomeo & Juliet, with James McAvoy and Emily Blunt the lead voices, and new songs by John. The film grossed just shy of $100 million domestically for Disney, and its worldwide gross was just over $190 million. Asbury co-directed with Andrew Adamson Shrek 2 and he also directed Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, both for DreamWorks. Both he and Rocket Pictures are repped by UTA.
‘Gnomes’ No. 1 In Third Week Of Release; ‘Hall Pass’ Drops To #2; ‘Drive Angry’ #9; Oscars Fave ‘King’s Speech’ Doesn’t Stutter
SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Hollywood movies continue to underperform domestically since the start of the new year, including this weak weekend when the film industry honors its best 2010 offerings at Sunday’s Oscars. Talk about a reality check! Here are these Top 10 North American box office numbers:
1. Gnomeo & Juliet 3D (Disney) Week 3 [3,037 Theaters]
Friday $3.1M, Saturday $6.3M, Weekend $14.2M, Cume $75.1M.
Who gnew that in its 3rd week of release, this 3D animated toon would rise to #1 at the domestic box office? Gnoone! Because last night when I updated box office, studios were still saying it was behind Hall Pass. But there’s a dearth of family films at the box office and those Saturday kiddie matinees continue to be great gnews.
2. Hall Pass (New Line/Warner Bros) NEW [2,950 Theaters]
Friday $4.7M, Saturday $5.7M, Weekend $13.4M
Owen Wilson went on Leno accompanied by a clip from his past hit movie Wedding Crashers – and then had to hawk this weekend’s unsuccessful Hall Pass. Interesting how New Line has done well with its string of estrogen rom-coms, but then returns to its old formula of testosterone male-bonding films and falters. Had it stayed in first place by the end of the weekend, it would have been the lowest grossing #1 in two years. Hollywood expected this Farrelly Brothers comedy to pass $20M and instead the pic greatly underperformed. But not for lack of trying. Warner Bros marketing campaign attempted to leverage the R-rated concept and the Farrellys’ past successes and the newbie/vet comedy combo of SNL‘s Jason Sudekis/Owen Wilson — but failed. Challenge was positioning the pic primarily to men but also not turning off women. Trailers were paired with Due …
TUESDAY AM: I’m told that actuals show Dark Castle/Warner Bros’ Unknown won Presidents Day Weekend with $25.450 — but it was very, very close with Disney’s Gnomeo & Juliet which ended with $25.415M. DreamWorks/Touchstone/Disney’s I Am Number Four finished with $22.7M. Sony’s Just Go With It took in $21.5M. New Regency/Fox’s Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son made $18.7M.
Touchstone has a new trailer out for Gnomeo and Juliet, the animated feature that will be released February 11. James McAvoy and Emily Blunt are the title characters, and Jason Statham, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith and Patrick Stewart round out the voice cast.
Disney just released what it’s calling the “first image” for GNOMEO & JULIET, the greatest love story ever told, starring garden gnomes. Adapted from Shakespeare, directed by Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2) with classic and original songs by Elton John, it features the voices of James McAvoy and Emily Blunt: