Catwoman and Bourne Ready to Prowl

The latest entry in the superhero sub-genre prowls into theaters today as Warner Bros. releases Catwoman nationwide. The film may attract diehard comic book fans and anyone interested in seeing Halle Berry scantily clad in leather, but negative reviews and weak buzz may keep moviegoers from making it the cat’s pajamas this weekend.

Directed by French helmer Pitof (vfx director of Alien: Resurrection, The City of Lost Children) Catwoman stars Oscar winner Berry (Monster’s Ball, X-Men, X2: X-Men United) as Patience Phillips, a timid graphic artist who discovers a dark secret about the major cosmetics company she works for. Entangled in a corporate conspiracy, Patience is transformed into an avenging angel with the speed, agility and keen senses of a cat. Benjamin Bratt (Miss Congeniality) co-stars as the cop assigned to investigate a rash of crimes believed to be linked to the feline femme fatal, while Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct) plays her adversary.

The Batman spin-off features 850 visual effects shots including scenes involving 100% virtual environments with a completely digital Catwoman and CG cats. ESC handled the lion’s share of the work, with Tippett Studio, Matte World, Circle F, Meteor, Frantic, Pac Title and The Farm West all contributing to the project. Read more about the film’s digital enhancements in the upcoming September issue of Animation Magazine.

In addition to competing with fellow superhero flick Spider-Man 2 from Sony and reigning box office champ I, Robot from 20th Century Fox, Catwoman has to get her claws out against Universal’s espionage sequel, The Bourne Supremacy, starring Matt Damon, which also opens today. If you live in Los Angeles or New York City, you can also catch the U.S. theatrical debut of the Japanese horror sensation, Ju-On (The Grudge), before Sony Pictures and Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures release their Hollywood version starring Sarah Michelle Gellar in October.