Release Date: December 25th, 2004 (wide)
Release Date Note: (12/16/02) Paramount was originally aiming for a December 19th, 2003 release, but with the recent production delays, sometime in 2004 is now more likely. (1/14/03) With filming not starting now until sometime this summer, 2004 is a certainty. What isn't known is if Paramount will stick with targeting the holiday season (just a year later), or if they will aim for the summer. (2/20/03) Paramount is now aiming for Christmas Day, 2004.
Title Note: (10/15/02) This film has also been known as 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' or 'Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events', but Paramount is going with just 'Lemony Snicket' to avoid such a long title. (2/20/03) After listing this as just 'Lemony Snicket', Paramount has decided to go with the longer title after all, probably to take advantage of the book series' awareness as much as possible.
Distributor: Paramount Pictures (USA); DreamWorks Pictures (international)
Production Company: Nickelodeon Pictures (Father Knows Best, SpongeBob SquarePants, Where's Waldo?)
Production Company Note: (12/16/02) Scott Rudin Productions (Marci X, The Hours, The Truman Show) had been attached to produce, but he (Rudin) has dropped out of the project. "Variety" quoted Rudin as saying that he was "upset about how he and the other principals on the film were treated by the studio to accomplish [a budget under $100 million]".
Cast: Jim Carrey (Count Olaf); other cast not announced yet.
Director: Brad Silberling (Casper, City of Angels, Moonlight Mile)
Director Notes: (1/14/03) Not long after producer Scott Rudin left, director Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black II, Get Shorty, Wild Wild West, The Addams Family, Big Trouble) has bailed on this project as well, reportedly due to problems with the budget. Considering how much Sonnenfeld, one of the highest-paid directors in the business (his profit participation on the $250 million hit, Men in Black II, for example, was 10%!), was probably asking for, his departure might be a giant step towards solving that problem. (2/20/03) A film that's not that dissimilar from Sonnenfeld's take on The Addams Family is 1995's Casper (visually that is, besides the fact that they both costar Christina Ricci), so it's not surprising that Paramount has hired Brad Silberling who directed that 1995 horror/kids movie. Everything I've heard is that the goal on this film is to capture the same sort of "goth for kids" gloom and doom look of those two movies, so the match is good.
Screenwriter: Daniel Hadler (feature debut)
Based Upon: The "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" series of nine (as of 10/15/02; by the time this movie comes out, there will be at least 13 books) children's books written by Daniel Hadler under the pseudonym of "Lemony Snicket." Specificaly, this movie will be mostly based upon the first book in the series, "The Bad Beginning", which was first published in 1999. Nickelodeon first bought the rights to the franchise in May, 2000, four months before WB started filming of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Paramount is hoping this will be the first of a series of films based on the books.
Video Game Note: (11/3/02) Activision signed on this week to distribute video game versions of the novels in conjunction with the release of this (and future films), with the first game due in late 2003. They are aiming to have versions for both PC and the three major consoles (XBox, Gamecube and PS2).
Premise: This is the story of the Bauedelaires, three young orphans (Violet, Klaus and Sunny) looking for a new home, who are taken in by a series of odd people, including Lemony Snicket, who narrates the film, and starting with the cunning and dastardly Count Olaf (Carrey), who hopes to snatch their inheritance from them. Violet is the oldest of the Baudelaires at 14, and is their brave and fast-thinking leader. The only boy is middle child Klaus, 11, who is intensely intelligent and obsessed with words. The baby is toddler Sunny, who speaks in a language only her siblings can understand, and she has a tendency to... bite.
Filming: Production is scheduled to start in October, 2003 on sets in Los Angeles. There may also be some filming in Wilmington, NC. Production had originally been scheduled to start on December 1st, 2002 on sets in Los Angeles, and at locations in New York City and New York State, but budget concerns scrapped those plans. In an effort to keep the budget (just) under $100 million, the location was then moved to Wilmington, North Carolina (which saved $9 million alone). The additional delay also allows Jim Carrey time to wrap filming of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (and maybe even do another movie besides).
Genre: Based on a Book, Comedy, Eye Candy, Kids