In Other News...Wallace & Gromit Up at Box Office, Down in Flames

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Only a day after "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" topped the box office in its stateside debut, a roaring warehouse blaze is feared to have destroyed most, if not all, props and awards from the animated duo's entire cinematic history. The memorabilia was housed in Aardman Animation's warehouse in Bristol, England and is thought to include every plasticine model, production set, and archive material from the production of "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit," in addition to materials and awards from the first three Oscar-winning Wallace & Gromit short films. The fire hit early Monday morning and is still under investigation.

You may recall the international crisis that erupted in 1997, when creator Nick Park lost the original Wallace and Gromit figurines while on a press tour for "Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave (1995)." During a two-day media appeal pleading for their safe return (he'd left them in his luggage in the trunk of a New York taxi cab), Park threatened to never make another Wallace & Gromit film again until the models were safe; the precious statuettes were recovered promptly. Park went on to make the award-winning "Chicken Run (2000)" before turning back to his beloved duo with "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit," currently in release.

Worried fans can relax; studio officials insist that Monday's fire will not affect the status of any future projects, ensuring the possibility of many more Wallace and Gromit features to come.

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