Hitchhiker Thumbs to Theaters

A ton of digital effects by Cinesite (Europe) combine with superb rubber and animatronic work by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to bring author Douglas Adam’s sci-fi cult favorite to the big screen in Buena Vista’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The far-out comedy takes on fellow newcomer XXX: State of the Union from Sony/Revolution Studios for a shot at the top spot, currently held by Universal’s political thriller, The Interpreter.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy stars Martin Freeman (Love Actually, BBC’s The Office) as Arthur Dent, a man who learns that Earth is about to be exploded to make room for an intergalactic highway. At the same time, he discovers that his best friend, Ford Perfect (Mos Def), is an alien and the two hitch a ride that sends them on a series of wacky adventures throughout the galaxy. The pic also stars Zooey Deschanel, John Malkovich, Sam Rockwell and Bill Nighy. Alan Rickman also shows up as the voice of Marvin the robot.

In addition to the main action, the film features hilarious animated vignettes that illustrate chapters of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a book that Arthur is given to help him cope with the challenges of intergalactic travel. British animation house Shynola provided the 2D toon work. There is even a brief but humorous stop-motion animation sequence created by Mal Woolbridge, Digna Migoumi and Jay Mallot.

ILM provided the visual effects for XXX: State of the Union, a sequel to the 2002 Vin Diesel secret agent actioner. This time around, Ice Cube takes over as Darius Stone, a new agent in the XXX program, who must track a dangerous military splinter group that is conspiring to overthrow the U.S. Government in the nation’s capital. Samuel L. Jackson returns as spy recruiter Agustus Gibbons and Willem Dafoe plays renegade general George Octavius Deckert.