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Box office report: 'Zero Dark Thirty' tops chart with $24 million; 'A Haunted House' beats 'Gangster Squad'

13 January 2013 10:56 AM, PST

After weeks of controversy in limited release, Sony’s $40 million Osama Bin Laden assassination film, Zero Dark Thirty, shot into first place with $24.0 million this weekend following five Oscar nominations (though not one for director Kathryn Bigelow) and an expansion from 60 to 2,937 theaters. After four weekends, the well-reviewed drama has earned $29.5 million total, and given its omnipresence during awards season, there’s no telling how high it could ultimately climb. $100 million is certainly not out of the question.

Zero Dark Thirty, which earned an “A-” CinemaScore, finished in the same range as Act of Valor, another recent Navy Seal film, »

- Grady Smith

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Composer Alexandre Desplat's very busy year

13 January 2013 9:56 AM, PST

What do Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Moonrise Kingdom, and Rust and Bone have in common? The seemingly tireless French composer Alexandre Desplat wrote the scores to all of them. No stranger to awards, with five Oscar nominations and six Golden Globes nominations in his career so far (he won a Globe for The Painted Veil in 2007), Desplat is one of the main contenders in this year’s Best Original Score race, with a Globe and Oscar nomination for his work on Argo.

Regardless of whether he’ll walk away with his second Golden Globe statue on Sunday, Desplat’s music »

- Lindsey Bahr

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Sundance 2013: 'Stories We Tell' director Sarah Polley talks family secrets and motherhood

12 January 2013 12:31 PM, PST

Sarah Polley has two babies.

One is the tiny, gurgling human one the Canadian actress-writer-director gave birth to almost a year ago, who she only takes quick breaks from. The other one is her debut documentary Stories We Tell, which she directed about a soul-baring family secret: that she’s the result of an affair her mother, actress Diane Polley, who passed away when she was 11, had during her marriage.

The emotional movie, filled with interviews with family members and bright, charming archival footage of her lookalike mom, premiered to brilliant reviews at film festivals last year in Venice, Telluride, »

- Solvej Schou

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Box office update: Despite Kathryn Bigelow snub, 'Zero Dark Thirty' wins Friday with $9 million

12 January 2013 9:39 AM, PST

Director Kathryn Bigelow may not have earned an Oscar nomination (her snub, along with Ben Affleck’s, proved the main talking point on the morning of the nominations), but Sony’s Osama Bin Laden assassination drama Zero Dark Thirty is still riding a wave of good will from the five nominations it did receive, and it shot straight to number one at the box office on Friday.

Zero Dark Thirty expanded from 60 to 2,937 theaters yesterday, allowing it to gross a sizzling $9.0 million on its first day of wide release. The controversial film, which earned an “A-” CinemaScore, may take in »

- Grady Smith

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Sundance 2013: How 'C.O.G.'s young director finally convinced David Sedaris to go Hollywood -- Exclusive Poster

12 January 2013 6:00 AM, PST

Do you like apples? Do you like apples? Well, Kyle Patrick Alvarez convinced This American Life humorist David Sedaris to allow the 29-year-old filmmaker to adapt one of his essays. How you like them apples!

Hollywood had been knocking on Sedaris’s door for years, and he’d always turned suitors away. But Alvarez, whose promising first film, Easier with Practice, was based on a 2006 GQ article by another public-radio raconteur Davy Rothbart, took a more personal approach: he went to a Sedaris book signing. “I waited in line with everyone for him to sign my book after he read, »

- Jeff Labrecque

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Casting Net: Louis C.K. aiming to team up with director David O. Russell

11 January 2013 7:17 PM, PST

Louis C.K. is in negotiations for an unspecified role in Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell’s upcoming drama that once held the title American Bulls—. Costarring Christian BaleBradley CooperJeremy Renner, and Amy Adams, the film is based on the true story of a con artist to who aided the F.B.I. in a massive corruption sting operation. Eric Singer (The International) wrote the screenplay. [THR]

• Matthew Macfadyen (Pride & Prejudice, Robin Hood) will star in Epic, a U.K. comedy about a touched-in-the-head filmmaker who teams up with the head of the (fictitious) Autonomous Republic of Karastan »

- Adam B. Vary

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Common talks 'Luv' and working with Danny Glover and Anson Mount - Exclusive Clip

11 January 2013 4:22 PM, PST

In Luv, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival a year ago and comes out in theaters Jan. 18, Common plays a man both tough and tender.

As Vincent, the reformed ex-con former drug dealer uncle of 11-year-old Baltimore orphan Woody, played by Michael Rainey Jr., Common navigates the ghosts of a past filled with crime and violence, with Woody coming along for the ride.

Check out this exclusive clip from the film, below, in which the rapper-actor and Rainey Jr. — wearing spiffy suits — visit Danny Glover’s character, a meeting both laugh-filled and intense. Glover, at one point, jokingly calls Woody “little Barack. »

- Solvej Schou

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'Jurassic Park 4' lands release date

11 January 2013 3:01 PM, PST

The dinosaurs are loose once again.

Universal Pictures announced Friday that Jurassic Park 4 will roar into theaters on June 13, 2014. Steven Spielberg, who directed the first two films in the franchise, will produce, but no director is yet attached. The film will be shot in 3-D.

More to come…

Follow @adambvary

Read more:

Jurassic Park 3D’ trailer: Welcome (back) to Jurassic Park

Planet of the Apes’ writers are taking on ‘Jurassic Park 4′ »

- Adam B. Vary

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Grauman's Chinese Theater will now be named after Chinese TV company

11 January 2013 1:29 PM, PST

Eighty-five years after the iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre opened on Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles, the favorite spot for both A-list Hollywood premieres and gawking tourists will now be named the TCL Chinese Theater, after a television manufacturer based in — you guessed it — China.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Chinese firm (whose name stands for “The Creative Life”) has signed a 10-year deal worth more than $5 million for the naming rights to the theater, which is owned by producers Donald Kushner (Tron: Legacy) and Elie Samaha (The Whole Nine Yards). Officially unveiled Friday morning, the deal includes »

- Adam B. Vary

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Peter Jackson on the tragic loss of two colleagues -- Exclusive

11 January 2013 11:44 AM, PST

Director Peter Jackson (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) and his Weta Digital team suffered the loss of two esteemed colleagues last month: VFX producer Eileen Moran, 60, who died of cancer on Dec. 2, and sound editor Mike Hopkins, 53, who was killed in a rafting accident on Dec. 30. In honor of their contributions to films like The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, Jackson emailed EW these memories of his departed friends.

On Mike Hopkins, Academy Award winning sound editor (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, King Kong)

Hoppy’s technical skill in the field of sound design »

- Adam Markovitz

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A Brother Goes it Alone: Allen Hughes on directing his first solo feature, 'Broken City'

11 January 2013 11:17 AM, PST

Twin-brother directors Albert and Allen Hughes have been making movies together ever since their mother bought them a video camera when they were 12 years old. For as long as they can remember, they split everything down the middle: “My mom raised us as communists in the best sense of the word,” says Allen Hughes, 40. “We had the same amount of Kool-Aid, the same number of Cheerios.” But being part of a directing team is like being in a band; no matter how much success you may have together – and over the past two decades, the Hughes brothers have had plenty, »

- Josh Rottenberg

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Sundance says 'no truth' to Brooklyn rumors

11 January 2013 10:28 AM, PST

The Sundance Institute denied a New York Post report that the prestigious independent arts foundation was in “very early conversations” to create a festival-style event in Brooklyn. The Institute — which hosts the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and several screenings series around the globe, including Brooklyn since 2006 — was reportedly looking at Dumbo neighborhood real estate for a potential new home across the river from Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival digs.

But a spokesperson shot down the report, saying in an email, “There is no truth to rumors of plans for Sundance Institute to host a »

- Jeff Labrecque

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'Swept Away' actress Mariangela Melato died at 71

11 January 2013 6:59 AM, PST

Italian actress Mariangela Melato, known for her critically acclaimed performance as a spoiled socialite stranded with a sailor she had tormented in the 1974 film comedy Swept Away, has died in a Rome hospital at age 71.

The Antea hospital said she died Friday. The Lapresse news agency said she was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

The blond actress had most success in a series of films in the 1970s directed by Italian Lina Wertmuller, including The Seduction of Mimi and Love and Anarchy.

One of the most acclaimed was the role of a socialite who finds herself stranded with Giancarlo Giannini. Her »

- Associated Press

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'Catching Fire' star Sam Claflin on Finnick's sugar cube scene: 'I was definitely prepared to do anything' -- Exclusive

11 January 2013 6:00 AM, PST

Sam Claflin was sure he’d whiffed his audition. He was in Los Angeles on a promotional tour for Snow White and the Huntsman when his agent sent him in to read for Finnick Odair—District 4’s charismatic golden boy whose motives remain unclear to Katniss as they head back into the Games. “Finnick is this tanned, green-eyed, sex god,” laughs the 26-year-old Brit over sodas at his Waikiki hotel on a day off from shooting. “I’m thinking I’m brunette, I have loads of stubble, at the time I was by no means in shape. This guy walked »

- Karen Valby

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Sundance 2013: Isaiah Washington dances with the devil in 'Blue Caprice' -- Exclusive Poster

11 January 2013 6:00 AM, PST

In Hollywood, it can often be a savvy career move for an actor to break bad. After all, the villains get to have all the fun, with supersize personae that toss out witty retorts slathered with evil relish. But there’s a difference between dastardly baddies like Calvin Candie or Silva and John Allen Muhammad, the real-life Beltway Sniper who terrorized suburban Washington, D.C., a year after 9/11, murdering at least 10 random people with the assistance of his young disciple, Lee Malvo. Their crimes were ruthless and indiscriminate, and after they were caught, convicted — and Muhammad was executed — the explanations »

- Jeff Labrecque

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Sundance 2013: Kristen Bell on 'The Lifeguard' and working while pregnant - Exclusive Photo

11 January 2013 5:30 AM, PST

Kristen Bell may be petite in person, but she packs a mighty wallop on screen, both as an acerbic comedic actress whose words can sweetly cut you, and as just a smart gal a lot of girls, and women, can look up to.

In The Lifeguard, premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category, Bell takes a darker turn, playing a woman who quits her reporter job in New York and returns to where she grew up in Connecticut, taking a job as a lifeguard and falling into a dangerous relationship with a teenager. »

- Solvej Schou

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The big change in the Best Director category: Actually, it's not about snubs

10 January 2013 8:59 PM, PST

The Academy Awards wouldn’t be a tenth as much fun if they held no surprises. After the endless and expert prognosticating of a thousand media odds-makers, there’s virtually no such thing as an Oscar night without at least one medium-size upset. And by the time the nominations themselves are read aloud on Tuesday — now Thursday — morning, they have inevitably coughed up their share of dark-horse nods, out-of-the-blue eyebrow-raisers, and “snubs.” This morning, however, even when the smoke had cleared, the dust had settled, and the surprises had been dutifully digested, one category looked so different from what everyone »

- Owen Gleiberman

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Critics' Choice Awards: 'Argo,' 'Silver Linings Playbook' big winners

10 January 2013 7:39 PM, PST

At least the critics still love him! On the same day he was snubbed of an Oscar nomination, Ben Affleck took home the Best Director award at the Critics’ Choice Awards for Argo, which also won Best Picture.

The rest of the honorees — held by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest critics group in the country — were made up of newly-minted Oscar nominees like Daniel Day-Lewis (Best Actor for Lincoln), Jessica Chastain (Best Actress for Zero Dark Thirty), Anne Hathaway (Best Supporting Actress for Les Misérables) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Best Supporting Actor for The Master).

The cast of »

- Adam B. Vary

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Casting Net: Robin Williams boarding drama 'Boulevard.' Plus: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ellen Page, Larry the Cable Guy

10 January 2013 7:19 PM, PST

• Robin Williams will star in Boulevard, a drama about a man whose marriage is called into question after he encounters a mysterious younger man (newcomer Roberto Aguire), the films producers announced late Wednesday. Dito Montiel (A Guide to Recognizing Your SaintsFighting) will direct from a script by Douglas Soesbe (The Wrong Woman).

• Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick Ass, Savages, Anna Karenina) is currently the frontrunner to play the lead in the reboot of Godzilla. No deal is in place yet, or even close; Taylor-Johnson is reportedly awaiting Frank Darabont’s pass on punching up the script by upcoming screenwriter Max Borenstein. »

- Adam B. Vary

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Box office preview: 'Zero Dark Thirty' and 'Gangster Squad' target No. 1 spot

10 January 2013 7:17 PM, PST

On the heels of Thursday morning’s Oscar nominations, Zero Dark Thirty is poised to shoot higher than newcomers Gangster Squad and A Haunted House and rise straight to the top of the box office.

Zero Dark Thirty, the controversial film about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, has earned $5.2 million after three weeks of limited release, during which it has played in no more than 60 theaters. Sony is now expanding the $40 million film into 2,937 theaters following the five Oscar nominations — though, shockingly, not a directing nom for Kathryn Bigelow — it garnered today.

Zero Dark Thirty is appealing to audiences »

- Grady Smith

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