The Chronicles Continue—No big surprise here, but after the large opening of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Disney is rushing ahead with a sequel. Disney was hoping for a $60 million opening weekend, and wound up with even more than that. Plans for a Harry Potter-sized franchise are all but assured. (Just like Harry Potter, the Narnia books have seven volumes.) Seems that Disney is hoping to get The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian into theaters by December 2007.
Watchmen Maybe?—Variety recently reported that the long-promised big-screen adaptation of DC's watershed comic book series Watchmen is back in the production pipeline. Talk of a Watchmen film first surfaced way back in 1989 when director Terry Gilliam (Brazil) and writer Sam Hamm (Batman) were attached. Most recently, Paramount had hoped to begin filming a version in London this summer with Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy) and David Hayter (X-Men) attached as director and writer. Budgetary concerns eventually knocked it out of the water. Now Warner Brothers has apparently locked on to the project. A new director and screenwriter have not been named.
Earthsea Goes Overseas—Japan's celebrated Studio Ghibli (Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro) has announced its next project. The studio will be making an animated adaptation of The Wizard of Earthsea, the first novel in author Ursula K. Le Guin's award-winning Earthsea cycle. The fantasy film is scheduled for a July 2006 release in Japan and will be directed by studio founder Hayao Miyazaki's son Goro. No matter what, it's gotta be better than the Sci-Fi Channel's recent, chintzy miniseries adaptation.
Snakes Strike!—Though New Line has done no publicity and the film is still eight months away from release, buzz for the ludicrous horror-thriller Snakes on a Plane has reached epic proportions, reports Variety. The moderately budgeted film, currently in post-production, stars Samuel L. Jackson as an FBI agent bringing a key witness from Hawaii to Los Angeles only to discover a mob boss has loaded the cargo hold with all kinds of venomous snakes. The title alone has already inspired songs, merchandise and growing use of the titular phrase, defined by the online Urban Dictionary as, “a simple existential observation that has the same meaning as ’whattya gonna do?' or ’shit happens.'” A Google search of “Snakes on a Plane” yielded 102,000 hits.