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'Solomon Kane,' 'X2,' 'Blake & Mortimer,' 'American Splendor' and 'Spider-Man 2': Comics2Film wrap for May 18, 2003

SOLOMON KANE

Varietyreports French producer/distributor Samuel Hadida has come on board the previouslyannounced "Solomon Kane" movie. 

Hadida's Davis Films is joining Paul and Michael Berrow's Wandering Star inthe $55 million movie based on "Conan" creator Robert E. Howard'searly American hero.

Like Conan, the pulp hero enjoyed a run in various comic books with the bulkof his run being with Marvel. The character made its comic book debut inMarvel's horror mag "Monsters Unleashed" #1. He went on to faceDracula in "Dracula Lives" and appeared in numerous other comics. Mostrecently Wandering Star Press published "The Savage Tales of SolomonKane," reprinting the pulp novels with illustrations by Gary Gianni("The Monstermen").

"Conan was a hero of the '80s and '90s," Hadida told Variety."Today there is a new dimension because of special effects. Solomon King,an avenger who fights the forces of evil, fits in with this world."

David Jung and Steve Dandois are writing the script, set in the 1700s."We want to make this a rip roaring, epic story," the producer said.

Hadida's distribution company Metropolitan, which circulated "Lord ofthe Rings" in France, will also distribute "Kane" in thatcountry.

The producer is said to be seeking a director for the project and looks to gointo production next year for a 2005 release.

X2 BOX OFFICE

Record numbers of moviegoers re-entered "The Matrix" this weekend,propelling the sequel to record numbers according to analysis based on weekendestimates at BoxOffice Mojo.

The highly anticipated "The Matrix: Reloaded" opened on over 8500screens ringing up over $135 million on the five-day weekend shattering recordsset by "Spider-Man" last year. Discounting the massive numbers fromWednesday and Thursday, "Spider-Man" retains the record for thethree-day weekend opening with its $114 million-plus, with "Reloaded"coming in second place with $93.26 million.

"X2: X-Men United" dropped to the #3 spot on the charts, losinganother 57% of its audience in its third week of release. That movie now carriesa whopping domestic tally of $174 million. 

Overseas ticket sales on "X2" remain strong.

M, LA MARQUE JAUNE OR THE YELLOW MARK

A Varietyarticle detailing the expanding efforts of UK studio Spice Factory indicatesthat the comic-based "M" or "La Marque Jaune" will go intoproduction this August.

Sorting through the various titles of the film, and the comics that it'sbased on gets confusing. Edgar Pierre Jacobs created "Blake &Mortimer" in 1946 as a feature for the "Tintin" weekly magazine.The movie would be based on the strip's 1954 storyline "La Marque Jaune"or, translated to English, "The Yellow Mark." 

Variety's write-up simply refers to the movie as "M." While theletter M is the yellow mark referred to in the story's title, it may createconfusion with Fritz Lang's classic movie.

Whatever the title, "M," will shoot in August as aU.K.-Canadian-French co-production. The movie has a $30 million. Gong Li starsin the movie, with Rufus Sewell and Hugh Bonneville playing Blake & Mortimer.James Huth is set to direct.

AMERICAN SPLENDOR

Harvey Pekar's "American Splendor" is set to screen at the sixthNewport Intl. Film Festival next month according to Variety.The festival runs June 10-15.

"American Splendor," a blend of fictional film footage, animationand videotape of Pekar took, home the Grand Jury Prize for best drama at thisyear's Sundance Film Festival.

Fine Line Films subsequently picked up the HBO production for theatricaldistribution. The movie is due in theaters on August 15th.

SPIDER-MAN 2

Remember when Peter Parker and Johnny Storm teamed up for a monster garagesession way back in "The Amazing Spider-Man" #130? The result was TheSpider-Mobile: a clean-burning, web-shooting, urban dune buggy that Spidey drovein the comics for almost a year. Then the car went evil and chased him up awall.

Now, Sony has developed its own Spider-Mobile for the"Spider-Man 2" movie and Ain't-it-Cool-Newshas pictures of it!

No, this quirky bit of Spidey technology won't show up in themovie. Apparently it's a suped-up golf cart for whisking Sony execs around thestudio lot when their legs get tired from carrying all the bags of Spidey-moneyto the bank.

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