With Nicole Kidman on board as its seductively evil star, the $150 million film adaptation of The Golden Compass — the first book of Philip Pullman’s acclaimed fantasy series His Dark Materials — will finally begin shooting in early September.

It’s the first piece of good news in years for New Line’s next potential trilogy, which the company hopes will be as lucrative as that hobbit franchise. Marvels producer Deborah Forte: ”This has been a 10-year odyssey.” Compass was first published in the U.S. in 1996, but it took a studio six years to bite. New Line’s writer-director was an odd choice: Chris Weitz (Oscar nominated for About a Boy), who had never worked with substantial special effects or a budget above $30 million. Overwhelmed by the scope of the production, he dropped out in 2004. In his place, the studio tapped Shopgirl’s Anand Tucker, only to lose him because of creative differences.

Vancouver-based animator and cartoonist Paul Boyd was shot and killed in a confrontation with the police last week . The police stated that they were responding to a 911 call of a man carrying a potentially dangerous weapon, and shot in self-defense after two officers were injured by Boyd, who was swinging a chain with a padlock at the end of it. Boyd suffered from bipolar disorder for several years, although many of his friends and colleagues in the Vancouver animation community expressed surprise over the nature of his death. Boyd was a director on Ed, Edd, ‘n Eddy and The Mr. Hell Show, and also provided animation on Mucha Lucha! and Gary Larson’s Tales from the Far Side special.

Director Michael Bay’s Transformers has already reached $633.9 million worldwide in tickets sales (on a budget of $150 million), but we’re thinking fans will want to head back to theaters when his “Giant F**king Robots” will live up to that title even more.

ComingSoon.net/SuperheroHype.com has learned that Paramount Pictures will rerelease the summer blockbuster in IMAX theaters on September 21 with more footage than you saw in the conventional theatrical version.

What? We don’t know, but we can’t wait to hear Optimus Prime’s voice in IMAX’s digital.

(Source: ComingSoon.net)

Microsoft sent out an embargoed release this morning announcing the fact it has licensed some of its “graphics technologies” to Weta Digital, Peter Jackson’s visual effects house.

What has Microsoft got that Weta hasn’t? Well, it’s hard to tell because Microsoft can’t divulge what technology Weta has taken a shine to.

“Because of Weta’s confidentiality and competitive interests, we are not publicly discussing the specific technologies Weta is licensing. However, these technologies are in the public domain and are available to anyone in the industry interested in licensing them,” a Microsoft spokesman said.

Question: I’m being told that Electronic Arts Inc. has great prospects, but its stock hasn’t been all that great. What do you think?


Answer: It reigns as the world’s largest game publisher by sales.

Yet many of its sales involve popular game sequels, such as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and annual versions of Madden NFL, rather than innovative new titles.

Shares of Electronic Arts are up 4 percent this year following declines of 4 percent last year and 15 percent in 2005. Although the company has a strong balance sheet and plenty of cash, in its recent first fiscal quarter it had a net loss of $132 million and revenue declined 4 percent.

 It hasn’t quite bubbled up to the surface yet, but there’s a fair amount of subterranean angst in Hollywood these days.

Within the next few months, the studios’ contracts with the unions representing writers, actors and directors will all expire. The Writers Guild of America agreement ends this fall; those with the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America are up early next year. And very few people involved in the negotiations believe that a work stoppage by all three unions next spring can be avoided.

In another instance of damaged Apple hardware from this past weekend, the following MacBook Pro was run over by a truck but still works (aside from the cracked screen and the SuperDrive). Unfortunately, Apple will not be replacing this of this MBP for free. But the owner says that, hooked up to an external monitor, it works fine. (more pics after the break)

I can’t even begin to count the number of conversations I’ve had with non-iPhone owners who are dubious at best about the sturdiness of the iPhone. I’ve found it futile to describe the multitude of videos I’ve watched of people deliberately attempting to damage the iPhone to no avail. Non-iPhone owners still think the screen is gonna scratch or that its going to fall apart the first time they drop it. The following is the very first account I’ve seen of an iPhone being physically damaged (aside from “Will It Blend“) and it’s pretty extreme. In case you don’t read the account very carefully, the phone still worked after all this damage. And Apple still replaced the iPhone for free:

[courtesy of Clowdy]

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And don’t forget, you can buy them by the pound too!

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There has been an exciting amount of progress made lately in the area of hacking into the iPhone. Full access to the file system has been achieved, a terminal/shell is available (see the ‘Terminal’ icon in the first image), ssh, a voice recorder, the Nintendo emulator (NES) is up and running (bottom image), there’s a version of MAME on the way, you can change around your home ‘Desktop’ screen including altering icons, and now a ’skinner’ to change the entire appearance of your iPhone (second image).



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