Walt Disney has struck a deal with Imax to release a giant-screen version of its animated feature Fantasia 2000, marking the first 15/70 format release ever for a full-length Hollywood feature film. Buena Vista Pictures has agreed to distribute the movie exclusively to Imax theaters for four months starting in January 2000.
Disney recently entered pre-production on the live-action sequel 102 Dalmations, signing on the writing team currently scripting Disney’s Carmen Sandiego. John Hughes, writer/producer of the original 101 Dalmations, returns as producer, but original Cruella DeVil Glenn Close is waiting to see a completed script before
* Gullane Pictures and Destination Films Distribution are bringing Thomas and the Magic Railroad to the big screen next year. Based on Britt Allcroft’s series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, the production will begin filming in June in the U.K. and Canada. Budgeted at roughly US$15 million, it will be the first feature based on the 15-year-old property.
* Live-action French film Asterix and Obelix Against Julius Caesar, the most expensive French-language film ever made, shattered box office records when it opened last month with more than 446,000 admissions on its first day. Based on the popular comic books by Alberto Uderzo and Rene Goscinny, the film was budgeted at US$49 million, with most of the financing coming from subsidiaries of French media group Pathe.
* Nelvana animation feature Babar: King of Elephants was released in 50 Quebec, Canada theaters just in time for the annual February mid-winter school break. The movie’s release in other Canadian provinces will also coincide with the holiday, which occurs on or around March 12 outside Quebec.