The most recent Disney Pixar project, Monsters University, debuted this weekend to $82 million at the box office. The animated 3D sequel was the second largest Pixar opening ever, after Toy Story 3 (2010) which grossed $110.3 mil at its opening. The family film has been receiving positive audience reviews. Paramount's World War Z also opened this weekend to $66 million, a long shot from covering the rumored $200 mil spent on the film, but still the biggest opening for a Brad Pitt film to date. Read more box office numbers here.
Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air) and Daniel Huttleson (Les Miserables) are in talks to join the cast of Disney's adaptation of the Broadway musical Into the Woods. In this slightly twisted fairy tale, Kendrick would play the role of Cinderella, opposite Chris Pine (best known for the recent Star Trek movies). You may remember Huttleston as the fiery young Gavroche in Les Mis. Though he is well acquainted with the stage, Into the Woods would be the 13-year-old's second film role. Read more casting news here.
The largest short film festival in North America wraps today, after six days of screenings and awards. The Palm Springs International Shortfest often foreshadows short film Oscar-nominees. This year's highlights include Delicate Gravity, directed by Philippe Andre and recipient of Best of the Festival Award; Stranger Brothers, directed by Lucas Delangle and winner of the Grand Jury Award; and A Girl Named Elastika, the audience favorite animated short, directed by Guillaume Blanchet. Read more about the festival here.
An upcoming indie film to watch for is Very Semi-Serious, a documentary in the works exploring the stories and personalities behind the cartoons of The New Yorker magazine. Directed by Leah Wolchok, the film works closely with Bob Mankoff, The New Yorker's cartoon editor, to get a glimpse inside the lives of cartoonists, explore the changing faces of humor over the years, and understand the way these iconic animations have been a part of the social and political landscape for decades. The project has been in the works for six years, and is fundraising to begin post-production. Watch their Kickstarter here.