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Box Office: Why Moviegoers Are Tired of Zombies and Nicholas Sparks

10 hours ago

Sure, it's hard to guess which movies will be big enough draws to pull people away from their living rooms on Super Bowl weekend. But the studios were wrong about nearly every new offering this weekend, and so were the box office analysts.

The only new release that performed as expected was the Coen Brothers' period Hollywood spoof "Hail, Caesar!", debuting in second place with an estimated $11.4 million. That's pretty weak, even for filmmakers as cultish as the Coens. Yet it was still far better than this weekend's other new wide releases, "The Choice" and "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" -- both of which opened well below expectations. It's enough to make you wonder if moviegoers have lost interest in both Nicholas Sparks and zombies.

Sparks, the novelist whose tearjerking romances have been adapted into such hits as "The Notebook," used to be one of Hollywood's most reliable brands, generating 11 movies over the past 17 years. »

- Gary Susman

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8 Times Oz Was the Best 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Character

16 hours ago

Oz (Seth Green) may have only been around for a little over two seasons of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," but he was by far the best character. He was funny, smart, and played a mean guitar riff. Tara was fine and dandy, but Oz will always be our favorite of Willow's significant others.

Here are our eight favorite Oz moments ever. Prepare to laugh. »

- Rachel Horner

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James Dean: 11 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About the 'Rebel' Icon

6 February 2016 8:00 AM, PST

For a guy who starred in only three movies, James Dean has had an oversized impact on pop culture.

Eighty-five years after his birth (on February 8, 1931) and 60 years after the release of his final film ("Giant"), Dean is still our top poster boy for teen angst. And it didn't hurt his legend that his death in a car crash at age 24 meant we never had to watch him grow old, lose his looks, sell out, or make a bad film.

As iconic and familiar as Dean has remained for six decades, there's still plenty of mystery behind this lost-too-soon idol. In honor of his 85th, here are 10 things you need to know about the "Rebel Without a Cause" star.

1. Though he typically played the brooding outsider, Dean was a jock and a team player as a teen. He excelled at baseball, basketball, and pole vaulting in high school and took up fencing in college. »

- Gary Susman

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23 Times Kelso Was the Best Part of 'That '70s Show'

6 February 2016 6:00 AM, PST

Call him a "dumbass," call him a bimbo (or is it mimbo?), call him what you will... but don't you dare deny the fact that Michael Kelso is quite possibly the best part of "That '70s Show." Ashton Kutcher's lovable lunkheaded teen has some of the best lines of series, rocks those feathered locks like a dream, and knows an epic burn when he hears one. He may not come off as the brightest bulb, but do you really need brains if you're that adorable? Here are 23 times Kelso was the funniest "pretty-boy moron" we've ever laid eyes on.

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- Alana Altmann

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Oscars 2016: What Is Going on With the Best Director Race?

5 February 2016 3:15 PM, PST

Predicting the Oscar winners this year is a little like predicting the winners of the early presidential caucuses and primaries -- that's how wide open the field is in some categories, particularly Best Director.

In the Oscar race, we had two important guild votes this week, from the actors and the editors, and the results made the Academy's contest a bit more clear. Will the DGA's vote this weekend help make sense of things? Maybe, depending on who wins.

The Screen Actors Guild awards last Saturday did help confirm some of the acting races. SAG winner Leonardo DiCaprio still has a lock on a Best Actor Oscar for "The Revenant," and Brie Larson is still far and away the Best Actress frontrunner for "Room." Alicia Vikander's SAG win for Supporting Actress for "The Danish Girl" puts her ahead of the pack; at this point, her only real competition is »

- Gary Susman

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'Brooklyn' Becoming a TV Series, Without Saoirse Ronan

5 February 2016 11:00 AM, PST

The Academy Award-nominated film "Brooklyn" is getting made into a TV series, without Oscar-nominated star Saoirse Ronan.

Variety reports that the BBC is adapting the movie for television, and that the series will revolve around Julie Walters' character, landlady Ma Kehoe, and a mix of Irish, British, and American young women living at her boarding house.

In the film, Irish immigrant Eilis Lacey (Ronan) is living at the house when she meets and falls in love with Tony (Emory Cohen). But a family emergency takes her back to Ireland, and Eilis becomes torn between home she grew up in and the home she's made for herself in New York.

For her performance as the strict, sharp-tongued Ma, Walters was nominated as a supporting actress for a BAFTA award.

"Brooklyn" received much critical acclaim, and with "Downton Abbey" finished, perhaps this might be BBC's next great period drama.

Want more stuff like this? »

- Kelly Woo

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Check Out the Awesome New 'Ghostbusters' Lego Set

5 February 2016 10:15 AM, PST

Fans got a good look at the cast of the upcoming "Ghostbusters" reboot via some new photos released earlier this week. Now, prepare to see those characters in Lego form.

Yes, everyone's favorite toy bricks are releasing a "Ghostbusters"-themed set of minifigs and vehicles in honor of the new flick, and the company previewed the pieces on Friday. The models include titular heroines Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), along with their bespectacled receptionist Kevin (Chris Hemsworth).

In addition to those known characters, there was also a slight Spoiler revealed by the new models, so if you don't want to know any more about the film's plot, stop reading now. Aside from the regular version of Kevin, it looks like there's also a possessed version, too, featuring red eyes and a menacing snarl. He's accompanied by what appears »

- Katie Roberts

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11 Things We Know About Netflix's 'Gilmore Girls' Revival

5 February 2016 10:00 AM, PST

Following months of rumors, Netflix finally confirmed news that "Gilmore Girls" fans have waited years to hear: The show is officially coming back for a short run of new episodes, set to debut later this year. We still have tons of questions about our titular heroines (do Luke and Lorelai end up together? Did Rory become a famous journalist?), but we already have some answers about what to expect from this revival. Here's everything we know so far. Copper boom! »

- Katie Roberts

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'Orange Is the New Black' Renewed Through Season 7

5 February 2016 9:15 AM, PST

Orange will remain in fashion for at least several more years: Netflix announced that it has renewed "Orange Is the New Black" for three more seasons, ensuring it will run on the streaming service at least through season seven.

Netflix made the news official on Friday, and also said that series creator and showrunner Jenji Kohan would remain on board throughout the next three seasons.

"Three more years! Not quite a political term, but still plenty of time to do some interesting things," said Kohan in a statement. "In some cultures, 'May you lead an interesting life' is a curse, but I don't live in those cultures. Here's to keeping it interesting."

"Orange" has certainly done just that in its first three seasons, earning multiple Emmy nominations -- in both the drama and comedy categories, one of the few shows in television history to do so -- and taking home »

- Katie Roberts

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The Youngest Oscar Winners and Nominees in Academy Awards History

5 February 2016 9:00 AM, PST

In 2013, a then-9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis received the Best Actress Oscar nomination for "Beasts of the Southern Wild," making her the youngest nominee in the category's history. This year, the Best Actress nominees are a little bit older. But that doesn't mean we can't look back in wonder at the remarkable achievements of Hollywood's most powerful pint-sized talents.

From Shirley Temple, the youngest Oscar honoree ever at six years old, to 10-year-old winner Tatum O'Neal, the youngest winner ever, sometimes Hollywood's next generation of stars do get recognized for their early achievements.

In honor of this year's Oscars, let's take a look back at some of the youngest Oscar winners and nominees in Academy Awards history.

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- Alana Altmann

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The Original 'Game of Thrones' Pilot Was a 'Painful' 'Piece of S--t'

5 February 2016 8:40 AM, PST

The original "Game of Thrones" pilot has become the stuff of television legend, since it featured significantly different plots, and several different main actors, from the final product that audiences saw on HBO back in 2011, and was widely considered pretty terrible. Now, the showrunners have recently discussed just how bad their first crack at adapting George R.R. Martin's books really was, and it turns out that that first pilot was "a complete piece of s--t."

That assessment came courtesy of screenwriter Craig Mazin (the "Hangover" sequels, "Identity Thief"), who together with fellow writer John August ("Big Fish") runs the podcast Scriptnotes. The pair hosted "Thrones" showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff on a recent episode for a frank discussion about the fantasy drama's pilot, which Mazin saw at a screening for friends organized by Weiss and Benioff back in 2010.

It didn't go well.

"Watching them watch that original pilot »

- Katie Roberts

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The 11 Goriest Zombie Movies You Need to See

5 February 2016 8:00 AM, PST

Zombie movies love to gross us out with new and inventive and sticky ways to next-level their depictions of the walking dead.

From "Evil Dead 2" to the "Dawn of the Dead" remake, audiences have feasted (pun so intended) on a variety of gnarly kills caused by, and inflicted upon, those that snack on brains.

As "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" aims to ratchet up the genre's gore factor, here are 11 of the goriest zombie movies you need to see before seeing "Ppz."

»

- Phil Pirrello

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The Lonely Island Guys Are Getting a Saturday Sketch Comedy Show

5 February 2016 7:20 AM, PST

Fox is moving back into the sketch comedy genre with a new series conceived by comedy troupe The Lonely Island and actor Paul Scheer.

The show, "Party Over Here," will air on Saturday nights at 11 p.m., and be produced by the Lonely Island trio -- Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone -- and Scheer. The four comedians won't star on the program, but Scheer (who currently stars on ABC sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat") will direct.

Instead, "Party Over Here" is led by an all-female cast, including Nicole Byer ("Girl Code"), Jessica McKenna (an alum of comedy troupes the Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade), and Alison Rich (a former "Saturday Night Live" writer). It's Fox's first foray into late-night sketch comedy since "MadTV" went off the air in 2009, after a 14-season run.

"When we first conceived this idea, we thought of it as a spinoff of 'Empire,'" said Samberg, »

- Katie Roberts

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'Taxi Driver': 25 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Martin Scorsese's Classic

5 February 2016 7:00 AM, PST

"You talkin' to me?"

It's the 40th anniversary of "Taxi Driver" (released on February 8, 1976), the movie that gave Robert De Niro his most famous line, put Martin Scorsese on the map, proved that the pre-teen Jodie Foster was an Oscar-worthy thespian, and (most notoriously) was cited by John Hinckley as an inspiration for his assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

In honor of the film's anniversary, here are 25 things you need to know about how Travis Bickle came to be.

1. The script, by Paul Schrader (pictured, left), was semi-autobiographical. After a divorce and a break-up with a girlfriend, he wrote the movie while living in his car, feeling suicidal, obsessing about guns and pornography, and having spoken to no one for weeks. As he recalled in 2013, "Taxi Driver" was "an exorcism through art," and it worked.

2. Martin Scorsese saw the script as early as 1972, but didn't yet have the clout to make it, »

- Gary Susman

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George Clooney Says His Proposal to Wife Amal Was 'Horrible'

5 February 2016 6:55 AM, PST

George Clooney was a confirmed bachelor before his wife, Amal Alamuddin Clooney, came along, and now, the actor is spilling the beans about how he proposed. Unfortunately, Clooney said, the romantic gesture was a bit of a disaster.

The Oscar winner chatted with Ellen DeGeneres about the night he got down on one knee, revealing that the pair had been dating for about six months when he knew that he'd found the one. But when it came time to pop the question, the actor said things didn't go exactly as planned.

"It was one of those horrible moments [because] we didn't talk about it," Clooney confessed. "It wasn't like 'Oh, maybe we should get married' or anything. I plotted the whole thing out."

That plot included cooking his beloved a fancy dinner and playing a song by his aunt, Rosemary Clooney, called "Why Shouldn't I." The actor had hidden the ring in a box behind Alamuddin. »

- Katie Roberts

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'Star Wars': Everything We Know About the Han Solo Movie

5 February 2016 6:00 AM, PST

It's a glorious time to be a Star Wars nerd.

We have multiple new movies to look forward to in the years ahead, including more sequels to "The Force Awakens" and a new lineup of "Star Wars Anthology" spinoffs. One of those spinoffs is an untitled 2018 film featuring the coolest smuggler in the galaxy, Han Solo.

That's right, even as fans mourn Han's fate in "The Force Awakens," the hero will be getting a second lease on life as a new actor straps on Harrison Ford's blaster. Check out our list of five important things to know about this highly anticipated new movie. »

- Jesse Schedeen

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Matt Czuchry to Return as Logan for 'Gilmore Girls' Revival

4 February 2016 3:15 PM, PST

One of Rory's ex-boyfriends is coming back: Matt Czuchry has joined the cast of Netflix's upcoming "Gilmore Girls" revival.

TVLine reports that Czuchry, who played Rory's (Alexis Bledel) college boyfriend, Logan Huntzberger, on the CW series, will return for the new mini season, set to debut on the streaming service sometime later this year. It's not clear yet how big his role will be, or in how many of the four 90-minute episodes he will appear.

"Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino -- who also will return, and write every installment -- had teased in a previous interview with TVLine that some (or possibly all) of Rory's former flames were penciled in to pop up on the revival, with one in particular having more importance than the others. Those actors (who could potentially include Milo Ventimiglia, who played Jess, and Jared Padalecki, who played Dean, though Sherman-Palladino declined to get specific »

- Katie Roberts

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Who Won 'Project Runway: Junior' Season 1? It's Maya, Age 14!

4 February 2016 9:30 AM, PST

Update: It came down to Samantha vs. Maya, with the win going to ... Maya! Yes, the youngest designer in the competition won it all. Peytie placed third, and Zachary placed fourth. Congrats to All of the designers. And, Lifetime, please renew this show for Season 2 immediately!

These #ProjectRunwayJunior shows have been breathtaking! »

- Gina Carbone

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11 Essential Coen Brothers Movies

4 February 2016 9:00 AM, PST

Have filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen been getting too conventional?

Already this decade, they've made a classical western ("True Grit") and written three relatively irony-free scripts for other directors (including Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken" and Steven Spielberg's "Bridge of Spies").

Fortunately, for fans of the brothers' earlier work, their new period Hollywood farce, "Hail, Caesar!" (opening Feb. 5), looks like it could be a return to form -- full of absurd, satirical touches, with maybe just a little food for thought. If you're wondering why the writing-directing-producing-editing siblings are such a big deal, or how they got to where they are now, go back and watch these gems from their three-decades-plus career.

»

- Gary Susman

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Here Are Some of the Raunchy Jokes Cut From 'Deadpool'

4 February 2016 8:59 AM, PST

"Deadpool" hasn't even been released yet -- it's out next Friday, February 12 -- but T.J. Miller is already talking about deleted scenes. He previously mentioned that the director's cut will be "even more raw," and he just shared more outtakes details with Zimbio. Spoiler alert for Nancy Grace: You have multiple name-drops ahead!

First, it was noted that the "Deadpool" trailers show Miller's character, Weasel, comparing Ryan Reynolds's gruesome face as Wade Wilson/Deadpool to "the inside of other people's a--holes," a "topographical map of Utah," and "an avocado [that] had sex with an older avocado," etc. So Zimbio asked about other ways Weasel described his face that didn't quite make the cut.

Here's Miller's response:

"Well, we didn't get one in that I really loved which was, 'You look like a trucker took a sh-t on your shoulder and shaved the ears off either side.' That did not make the cut. »

- Gina Carbone

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