4 articles


Box Office: ‘Hobbit’ Finale Marching Toward $88 Million

17 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is marching toward a box office victory.

The final installment of Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” trilogy grossed $16.6 million on Friday in the U.S. on its way to hauling almost $54 million this weekend, which would put its five-day total at $88 million. This is far above recent estimates of $80 million.

The fantasy adventure is miles ahead of the other newcomers this pre-Christmas weekend. Another sequel, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” is headed for $19 million, while the reboot of “Annie” trails slightly behind with $18.5 million. The films are in a neck-and-neck race after initial forecasts as late as Friday pegged “Secret of the Tomb” as the clear winner.

Aside from giving a much-needed boost to the U.S. box office, if estimates hold, “Five Armies” will have the year’s eighth highest-grossing opening, behind “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

Despite the strong showing, »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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See Bradley Cooper Play a Reluctant Hero in New 'American Sniper' Clip (Exclusive)

19 December 2014 8:28 PM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

American Sniper is not off to the sort of start that Warner Bros. wanted for its principal Oscar hopeful this season — after landing a spot on the AFI's year-end top 10 list, it was completely excluded from the SAG and Golden Globe nominations and recognized only in the action movie categories of the Critics' Choice noms — but Oscar nomination voting doesn't begin until Dec. 29, and there is still time for Academy members to catch up with and/or come around on Clint Eastwood's drama about the deadliest American sniper of the Iraq War, Chris Kyle, who is

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- Scott Feinberg

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What happened to 'Top Five' at Golden Globes, and can it rebound at Oscars?

19 December 2014 8:00 PM, PST | Gold Derby | See recent Gold Derby news »

"Top Five" is a comeback of sorts for Chris Rock, a celebrated stand-up comic and TV host whose filmic ventures have ranged from successful (the "Madagascar" animated franchise) to not so much ("Pootie Tang," "I Think I Love My Wife," the critically drubbed "Grown Ups" films). But with "Top Five," which he wrote, directed, and stars in, he has gotten the best reviews of his film career. So why were he and the film snubbed at the Golden Globes? -Break- Shocking Golden Globes snubs: Angelina Jolie (twice), Bradley Cooper, ... The film has scored 81 on MetaCritic and 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Manohla Dargis (New York Times) calls it "fast and blisteringly funny … a romantic comedy that’s also an extended riff on art, identity, authenticity and what it means to be a black entertainer." Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) adds that it's Rock's "best movie by a mile … authentica..." »


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'The Hobbit' is as big a hit as 'Lord of the Rings,' so why no Oscars love?

19 December 2014 5:14 PM, PST | Gold Derby | See recent Gold Derby news »

"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the third and final installment in Peter Jackson's trilogy, is already a hit: it opened Wednesday with an impressive $24 million first-day haul. The previous two films in the franchise were also blockbusters – "An Unexpected Journey" (2012) made more than $1 billion worldwide, and "The Desolation of Smaug" (2013) earned nearly that much – but even though the films have made money on par with Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, they have not fared nearly as well with critics and awards voters. -Break- 'Interstellar,' 'Hobbit,' 'Guardians of the Galaxy' on Oscars shortlist for Visual Effects The three "Hobbit" films have averaged a respectable 61 on MetaCritic (58 for "Journey," 66 for "Smaug," and 59 for "Battle") and 67% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes (64% for "Journey," 74% for "Smau..." »


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Academy’s Music Branch Still Wrestles With Rules Change

19 December 2014 4:56 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Last year’s much-talked-about disqualification of a song nominee prompted rule changes for the 2014 Oscars, but they remain controversial for some of the Academy’s 240-member music branch.

Alone Yet Not Alone,” from a little-seen, faith-based film, was yanked from the 2013 competition when word leaked that its composer, former branch governor Bruce Broughton, had emailed fellow composers and songwriters calling attention to the tune (one of 75 eligible from the 2013 batch).

In June, Acad governors amended the campaign regulations to state: “Music branch members may not contact other music branch members to promote the nomination of their own song in any way, including via mail, email, telephone or social media account.”

Composers and songwriters were, and still are, divided over the idea that you can’t inform your friends, who toil in the same business, about your own work.

“Everybody’s working it,” says one Oscar-nominated songwriter who did not want to be identified. »


- Jon Burlingame

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I’m Baaack—On Reelz Channel

4 hours ago | Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy | See recent Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy news »

Yes, I’m back on Reelz for a half-hour holiday movie roundup that begins airing this weekend. With my colorful partner Grae Drake, senior editor of Rotten Tomatoes, we review a handful of new movies opening in theaters and also give our opinions of some 2014 releases you can now find on VOD, DVD, and Blu-ray. Here's a preview of that segment, which we call See It or Skip It. Reelz airs nationally on DirecTV (channel 238) and DISHNet (channel 299), and also appears on a number of cable systems. To see if it’s available where you live, click Here and type in your zip code.Here is a schedule of when our new show is airing. Enjoy! 

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]] »

- Leonard Maltin

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First The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Movie Image Reveals Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in Guy Ritchie’s Spy Series Adaptation

5 hours ago | Collider.com | See recent Collider.com news »

Warner Bros. has unveiled the very first The Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie image from director Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of the popular 1960s TV series.  Steven Soderbergh was initially attached to helm the film for WB before Ritchie came on, after which Tom Cruise came onboard to star alongside Armie Hammer (The Social Network) before leaving to focus on Mission: Impossible 5, with the Man of Steel himself Henry Cavill subsequently filling the vacant role.  This finished iteration of the film takes place in the early 60s at the height of the Cold War, as Cavill’s CIA agent Napoleon Solo is forced to team up with Hammer’s Kgb agent Illya Kuryakin to stop a mysterious criminal organization.  The 1960s aesthetic is on full display in this debut image, and I’m curious to see how Ritchie handles this inherently fun spy set-up.  I imagine a debut trailer isn’t far off. »

- Adam Chitwood

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The Missing Recap: “Concrete”

6 hours ago | Collider.com | See recent Collider.com news »

With every new episode, The Missing proves itself to be an atypical crime series.  "Concrete" showed the grey areas in murkier ways than the show has ever dared before, with not just Tony but Julien being brought into a questionable light.  But Julien asks the right question about it all: "how is justice best served?"  Hit the jump for why the more things change, the more they stay the same. In many ways, I found "Concrete" to be the most harrowing episode of The Missing yet, which is a pretty difficult thing to do at this point.  But whereas other episodes have, visually, had moments of beauty that are punctuated by the dark story, "Concrete" was all dull, grey, and drab.  The darkness is all-encompassing, now. Nowhere was this more viscerally felt than at the beginning of the hour, when we see Tony cleaning up his crime scene.  Tony didn't »

- Allison Keene

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‘Henry & Me’ Director on Yankee Cameos, Cutting Alex Rodriguez

7 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Among the 20 animated films that have qualified to be considered for an Academy Award nomination is the little film “Henry & Me,” a heartwarming story about a young Yankee fan battling a serious illness with the help of a magical friend that’s hoping to make it to the big leagues against some pretty heavy hitters.

The film has scored a voice acting Annie Award nomination for Cyndi Lauper, who has a small, but key role as a nurse. The animated pic boats a treasure trove of Yankees legends, bringing back to life such greats as Babe Ruth, Lefty Gomez, Mickey, Mantle, Thurman Munson and Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, as well as living legends like Yogi Berra (still malapropping strong at 89) and Reggie Jackson, along with current members of the team.

Director Barrett Esposito talked with Variety about the making of the film, the more than 30 charities that are benefiting from it and its production challenges, »


- Terry Flores

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