Tuesday, May 31, 2005

London Science Museum Exhibition mini website online + Debates at the Dana Centre

The London Science Museum has now a mini website about the Hitchhiker's movie exhibition. The mini website is funny, with a good design, and contains a lot of infos about the exhibition of course, but there are particularly two nice features : a game and online shop.

First, you can try the "42 games" designed as one flash game with 42 very short steps. This is quite addictive. And The player who will make the highest score will win a Hitchhiker's goodie bag including a real movie prop. Good news : you can try it as many times as you want. Bad news : the contest is for UK residents only.

Second, there is a fine online shop where you can find some nice H2G2 movie merchandising. And it seems they ship outside UK (but the shipping fees seem to be nice too!). Anyway you can buy there the Knitted Plush Characters, the action figures, Marvin's gun, the Rotocast Marvin, a special edition of the making of H2G2 movie book, ...

The Science Museum’s Dana Centre is launching a series of debates to explore the fact and fiction behind one of the nation’s best-loved sci-fi classics, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, to coincide with the launch of the Science Museum’s Hitchhiker’s exhibition.
Since the 1950s science fiction has explored the weird and wonderful possibilities of science, including time-travel, teleportation, androids and aliens. But how much of this speculation has become science fact?

The forthcoming events at the Dana Centre – London’s only venue for adults to discuss contemporary and controversial science – feature experts from a variety of fields exploring artificial intelligence, space tourism and the science of Hitchhiker’s during three evenings of informal discussion.
Each event will raise a range of perplexing questions, such as: Which ideas in science fiction have been developed further by true scientific research and development? Could a robot eventually have human feelings and emotions? Should scientific developments like these be encouraged or suppressed? What would it feel like to be a space tourist?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Exhibition opens at the Science Museum on 28 May. The exhibition - specially created by the Museum and makers of the new movie – explores the fantastic voyage of Arthur Dent and some of the science which shapes our lives, the universe and everything.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to…Science… Space Tourism… and Artificial Intelligence Date: Thursday 2 June, Tuesday 7 June and Tuesday 14 June Time: 19.00-20.30 Venue: Science Museum’s Dana Centre, 165 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5HE Events are FREE but must be pre-booked on 020 7942 4040 or email HERE

- Hitchhiker’s Guide to Science - Thursday 2 June
Could The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy inspire future scientific inventions? Which science-fiction creations could become science fact, and which are far-fetched fantasy?
Scientists are investigating the possibilities of interstellar travel, colonising other planets and to develop theories for concepts such as time travel, teleportation and alternate realities – all of which are alluded to in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Michael Hanlon, author of The Science of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will be joined by a panel of experts to discuss with the audience the possibilities of such future technological developments.

- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Space Tourism, Tuesday 7 June
In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent was quite unprepared for his experiences of space travel, yet commercial space travel is fast becoming a viable possibility.
But what would it feel like to be a space tourist? Travelling into space can push the human body to its limits, making space tourism more like an expedition than a holiday. How dangerous are the physical effects of space travel and how does your body cope with them?
Mark Shuttleworth, the second tourist into space, will share his own experiences of space travel, Natasha Loder, The Economist aerospace journalist, will discuss the recent developments in commercial space travel and the expectations of future space tourists and Andrew Smith author of Moondust will provide an insight into the life-changing experiences of lunar astronauts and question whether space tourism would feel the same.

- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence, Tuesday 14 June

For more than 30 years, science fiction has predicted the existence of artificially intelligent machines that can think and feel like humans. Most of us use limited forms of artificial intelligence in our computer games, car navigation systems and internet search engines.

Now scientists are trying to develop computers and robots that seem to show human intelligence and emotion. But will science ever be able to create machines like Marvin the paranoid android in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? What roles would such machines have in our society and how should they be treated? Could machines ever use their intelligence to rebel against their human creators, as in films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Terminator and The Matrix?

Our panellists discuss what makes us ‘human’ and why these characteristics are so hard to artificially create. Lynn Hamil, University of Surrey will talk about human reaction to and interaction with AI. Professor Noel Sharkey, University of Sheffield, will argue that robots will never be able to express real emotions or human intelligence and Dylan Evans, a lecturer on Intelligent Autonomous Systems at the University of the West of England, will look at the positive side of creating human robots.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hitchhiker's movie has grossed 73 millions worldwide + release dates + science museum exhibition + possible Hitchhiker's movie sequel + Robbie Stamp at the Hay Festival

The Hitchhiker's movie has now a total gross of 72,9 millions dollars including 47 from the US and 25,5 from other countries in the world. In fact in most of the countries, the movie has still not been released. There are a lot of release dates in June, July and August.
Austria - 2nd June Czech Republic - 2nd June Brazil - 3rd june Greece - 3rd June Argentina - 9th June Germany - 9th June Swiss (D CH) - 9th June Poland - 10th June Austria - 16th June Finland - 22nd June Netherlands - 30th June Sweden - 27th July Norway - 29th July Netherlands - 4th August Denmark - 12th August Belgium - 17th August France - 17th August Swiss (F CH) - 17th August Spain - 2nd September Italy - 9th September
If you know other release dates and/or if I made a mistake, or you know about other official international website, please mail me.
Don't forget that the London Museum Exhibition about the H2G2 movie will begin this Saturday 28th May and will close the 27th November. More details here?!
DaveH was one of the lucky ones who was able to go to the press preview of the exhibition today. Garth Jennings, Nick Goldsmith and Robbie Stamp were there. He posted a report of the Hitchhiker's Exhibition on Douglasadams.se forums.

I'll post my own report soon on this website. I'll probably visit the exhibition next week.
DaveH also talked to Robbie Stamp about a possible Hitchhiker's movie sequel : "NO decision made on the sequel yet, but Robbie is hopeful with 50m USD and 10m GBP and most of the rest of the world and DVD etc. to come. It would be a lot of work to sort out script / storyline eise, but he said it was the sort of problem he would like to wrestle with. In view of that IF it does go ahead we would be looking at summer 2007 rather than Christmas 2006."


Executive Producer Robbie Stamp will be speaking at the Hay Festival in UK this Sunday AND revealing some never seen before behind the scenes stuff! More details here : http://www.hayfestival.com/2005/index.html he’s on at 11am.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Box Office in US + Details about the DVD and the upcoming Science Museum exhibition in London

The last week-end has been a difficult one for the Hitchhiker's movie in US. According to this week-end box office published by Box Office Mojo, H2G2 is now 7th (last week he was 3rd). But it is not surprising and too disappointing if you compare H2G2 to other movies. Last week Number One, Kingdom Of Heaven, has lost 51% of his gross, and it's now only fourth."House of wax" (with Paris Hilton) is now 6th after just two weeks. And I won't ever say a word about XXX2 which is one of the biggest flop of this incredibly bad year.

The Hitchhiker's movie has now grossed 43 millions dollars after its third week end. And it should gross around 60 millions dollars in the US box office. Really a good score in this context.
Next week-end will be a big one with the release of the last Star Wars movie. And maybe it will be the end of a very bad begining for the 2005 US box office.


Great news about the upcoming DVD. MTV published a good article on their website about the upcoming DVD : "We shot a lot of stuff for the DVD, like, 'Now we're doing a DVD moment,' " producer Nick Goldsmith said. No deleted scenes ("Of course they're deleted, they're awful!" director Garth Jennings laughed). We'll see instead a lot of scenes made especially for the DVD like the one when the Vogon guard tries to throw Arthur and Ford out of the spaceship, a cooking TV show made by the Dentrassis,...

Bill Nighy and John Malkovich made some quite bizzare stuff (Bill plays an evil Slartibartfast and John sings the famous religious Hymn about noses). Of course, Grant Gee has been commmisioned to create a making of piece for the DVD = "It's a weird little film, and hopefully it'll get a release of its own. It would be a shame not to" (according Garth Jennings).

There is also on MTV an in-depth feature on the movie HERE.


Peter Bowles from the Science Museum sent us details about the upcoming Science Museum Exhibition which will open in London on Saturday May 28th : "Since we announced that we were building the world’s first and only Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Exhibition we’ve had hundreds of emails from H2G2 fans and sci-fi enthusiasts alike asking for more information. So, breaking with tradition, we thought we’d pull back the covers early and show you how the exhibition is coming together and give you a sneak preview of some of the object’s we’ll be getting.

We worked with the film’s executive producer Robbie Stamp to take visitors on a journey through 10 different zones which tells the story of Arthur Dent, the destruction of the Planet Earth and the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. Having originally built a 3-D digital fly-through to map things out which you can see at http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/corporate_commercial/press/hitchhikers/3dexhibition.asp, the museum’s team of designers, fabricators, electricians and builders are now working at an intergalactic pace to turn these ideas into reality. All the main structures are in place, including Arthur’s house (in pre-demolition mode), the world of the Vogons, The heart of Gold Spacecraft, Viltvodle Zone and Slartibartfast’s planet factory - complete with Earth II.

We’ll have around 200 props from the film on show and we’re delighted to announce that that we’ll also have The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book, as used in the film, on display. Vogon Calculators will be with us next week along with the Infinite Improbability Drive.

Deep Thought’s giant microphone is also on its way, and we have something special in mind for it: visitors will be able to ask Deep Thought their version of the ultimate question – they’ll have to wait to see if the ultimate answer is what they expect…!

The exhibition launches on Saturday May 28th, but please remind your web users that tickets are selling fast. To book tickets please call 0870 870 4868 with more details on http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/hitchhikers

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Hitchhiker's movie has probably covered its budget + Shynola interviewed + H&T site hitched

The Hitchhiker's movie has a decend second week but has lost the first rank in UK and US. In US H2G2 is third behind "Kingdom of Heaven" and "House of wax". Anyway it seems that after less than two weeks after its opening, H2G2 already earned 37 millions dollars in US plus 17,9 millions overseas (UK, Australia and New Zealand). It has already covered its budget estimated between 45 & 55 millions dollars. It's good news because H2G2 is not a typical US movie and noone could say if was going to be a success or not. And don't forget that the US box office is quite weak right now (in fact "Kindgdom of heaven" which costed three times more than Hitchhikers had a less good opening week end).


Chris Harding, one of the great guys from Shynola who made the wonderful Guide entries for the Hitchhiker's movie have been interviewed by Iain Failes from Vfxblog+. You can read the interview here.


Nick and Garth have made a new version of their Hammer & Tongs website called "The Hitchhiker's Guide to Tongs". A lot of great links and still some good content from their old website. Don't forget to visit Tong City (it's been updated with some great hitchhiker's stuff)


Wednesday, May 4, 2005

The Hitchhiker's movie props on Ebay / Hitchhiker's movie also first in UK, Australia and New Zeland

Some original props from the film including Arthur’s towel are now up for sale on ebay with all proceeds split between Save The Rhino International and The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund… Click on this link to have a look and a bid if you fancy it!! http://cgi3.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=hitchhikers_charity 


In UK, the film zooms also to top box office. And it has grossed £4.2m in its opening weekend. According to the Guardian, a spokesman for Buena Vista said the £4.2m figure was "a delightfully improbable coincidence" (and you can also notice that the US box office result for the first week end 21 millions dollars is also half of 42)!!

Reuters spoke of "2.8 million pounds over the weekend in Britain" but maybe for Reuters and Guardian the week end didn't end at the same time! Far better anyway than XXX2 (less than 1 million pounds in the week end).

It seems that Antipodeans share Britons' sense of humor and lapped up Hitchhikers. In Australia audiences handed over $2.1 million, more than double "XXX's" $920,000 (No. 2). In New Zealand director Garth Jennings' absurdist outer space comedy made $450,000, more than double "XXX" in the third spot.

Simon Jones and Geoffrey Mc Guivern and Simon Jones chat + Simon Jones interviewed

To celebrate the broadcasting of Hitchhiker's radio series last installment, Simon Jones and Geoffrey Mc Guivern (Arthur and Ford in the radio series) joined the BBC radio 4 website for a live webchat. And of course it was a nice chat because these guys (that I had the pleasure to meet during the recording of these last radio series in january) are incredibly froody.

You can read the full transcript of the webchat here. Simon Jones was also interviewed by Julia Hankin on BBC radio Newcastle the 29th April about returning to his famous role as Arthur Dent. You can listen to the interview online here.

Don't forget you can still listen to the latest episode on the web during one week after the broadcasting on the Hitchhiker's radio 4 website.