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ITEM! Fox heard ka-ching when the animated HORTON HEARS A WHO slew at the box office this weekend. It’s $45.1 million opening weekend was the biggest this year thus far and restored studio faith in both G-rated CGI films and Dr. Suess. The movie was produced by Blue Sky.

Jim Sturgess 1 Oct07ITEM! Will Jim Sturgess, an English actor who starred in Julie Taymor’s ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, reunite with the director to play Spider-Man in the upcoming stage show? That’s the rumor..

“I haven’t spoken to Julie about it but we did do a two-week workshop for it over in New York, and it was just a real chance to hang out with Julie again,” the British actor told us. “I love Julie, she’s like a mentor to me, and Evan’s just a great friend, and the three of us are just so bound by the experience we had doing ‘Across the Universe.’ It was a lot of fun. I was just playing music with Bono and Edge from U2, singing songs about Spider-Man. The project is definitely happening. Julie will definitely make this piece of theater. Whether I’ll be in it or not, I have no idea at this point.”

Sturgess seems like a sprightly lad. He gets the Beat seal of approval if its true.

ITEM! Frank Miller has been blogging about The Spirit movie but it’s in Flash so we can’t link to it or quote it. Luckily, Cinematical has more patience than we do, and quotes his comments on Ellen Dolan:

“I love writing tough, powerful women.” And he has set out to do just that with one chick specifically — Ellen Dolan, love interest of the title character. The character has proved to be a challenge, a weak stereotype of the age in which she was created. Miller calls her “a lousy character” and complains, “[The Spirit] even tossed her over his knee and spanked her. And she took it. Ellen Dolan made Donna Reed look like Angelina Jolie.”

More in both links.

§ ITEM! Andy Serkis VERY BRIEFLY comments on working on the TINTIN movies with Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg.


§ ITEM! A new Speed Racer trailer is up and it’s even more TRON-tastic than the last one. Prediction: This will be the love it or loathe it film of the summer.

ITEM! Long-banished director Alex Cox has been getting a lot of press lately for the comics-only sequel to REPO MAN. The AV Club has a much more extensive interview with him:

AVC: Several of your recent films haven’t had much theatrical distribution in the States. Does that bother you, or do you just consider it a byproduct of the kind of films you make? AC: What can you do, you know? Distribution is controlled by the studios, and I’ve been on the blacklist of the studios for the last 20 years. It’s not very likely that I’m going to get New Line to come along and distribute one of my films.

ITEM! Longtime Disney Watcher Jim Hill digs up some rumors and info about Pixar’s upcoming JOHN CARTER OF MARS movies. Among the speculations: the film will be live-action.

According to what Mouse House insiders recently told me, Mark Andrews (i.e. the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of “Ratatouille”) has allegedly already completed a first pass on a screenplay for the first film in the proposed “Mars” series. And given that both Pixar and Disney execs have reportedly responded very enthusiastically to Andrews’ script … Well, both companies are now anxious to put this project in the development pipeline ASAP. “So what sort of timetable are we talking about here?,” you ask. Well, really serious work on the first “Mars” movie can’t get underway ’til this Fall. Which is when Stanton will finally be through with all of his “WALL * E” -related promotional obligations

Hill also mentions that Disney might be cooling on the idea of making all seven Narnia movies, especially if PRINCE CASPIAN isn’t a monster hit. That bums us out because the next two movies DAWN TREADER and THE SILVER CHAIR are the best books, but apparently DAWN TREADER will get made regardless.