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Box office report: 'Catching Fire' and 'Frozen' break Thanksgiving records

1 December 2013 2:38 PM, PST

Stomachs weren’t the only thing full over Thanksgiving weekend — so were movie theaters showing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The film pulled in a terrific $110.1 million over the Wednesday-to-Sunday period — $74.5 million of that during the traditional weekend frame — which gives the sequel a stunning $296.5 million domestic total after only 10 days. (The film has already pulled in a total of $573 million worldwide.)

Catching Fire set a new record for both the 3-day and 5-day Thanksgiving weekend, surpassing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which grossed $57.5 million/$82.4 million in 2001. Lionsgate’s $130 million sequel is now on track to easily outgross »

- Grady Smith

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Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): How 'Star Trek' used music to move you (and made you cry)

1 December 2013 9:00 AM, PST

When Star Trek Into Darkness was released in May, our Sounds Like a Summer Movie series took a look at how music was used for dramatic impact — and it was used a lot. Sound mixer Will Files, who first worked with director J.J. Abrams on Cloverfield, estimates there’s music over 75 to 80 percent of the film. Once again, Abrams used longtime collaborator Michael Giacchino, who won an Oscar for scoring Up. “J.J. and Michael take a pretty classic approach to scoring a film in that it’s more about the emotional beats in a scene and trying to figure »

- Mandi Bierly

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‘Fast and Furious’ actor Paul Walker dead after car crash

30 November 2013 7:19 PM, PST

Actor Paul Walker, best known for his role in the Fast and Furious franchise, died on Saturday afternoon after a car accident in Valencia, CA. He was 40 years old.

“It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend’s car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and »

- Marc Snetiker

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Box office update: 'Catching Fire' surges to $31.3 million on Friday, 'Frozen' may score $100 million five-day debut

30 November 2013 11:16 AM, PST

As previously reported, both The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen are headed to record-breaking Thanksgiving weekends at the box office. But Black Friday numbers suggest that both films may be even bigger than originally thought — and both could pull in more than $100 million over the five-day frame!

Catching Fire topped the chart on Friday with a sizzling $31.3 million, which sent it right past the $250 million mark on its eighth day of release. The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises are the only two films to ever reach $250 million faster. Catching Fire is currently on pace for a Friday-to-Sunday weekend in the $75-80 million range, »

- Grady Smith

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Yes, Robert Redford is great in 'All Is Lost.' But he was always great

30 November 2013 11:00 AM, PST

Robert Redford is one of the movie stars of our time, yet I would contend that he’s always been an underrated actor. There are a host of reasons for that, and they feed into each other in subtle, at times mythic ways. You could say, on the one hand, that Redford was too golden-boy pretty (always a surefire way to not get nearly the respect you deserve), or that he was too understated as a screen presence, or that he was too openly skeptical of the Hollywood game. Redford had his first major big-screen role in 1965, in Inside Daisy Clover, »

- Owen Gleiberman

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Box office update: 'Catching Fire' and 'Frozen' set to smash Thanksgiving records

29 November 2013 10:59 AM, PST

It turns out moviegoers want fire and ice this Thanksgiving.

Both The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Disney’s Frozen are thriving at the box office, so much so that the films are on track to break records and achieve the two best Thanksgiving five-day weekends of all time.

Catching Fire earned $20.7 million on Wednesday and $14.9 million on Thursday. That $35.6 million haul puts the film on track for a five-day weekend of about $100-105 million, which will handily beat Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone $82.4 million gross over the same period of time in 2001. Remarkably, Catching Fire will have »

- Grady Smith

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Prize Fighter: Best Actor shapes up as the Oscars' toughest race

29 November 2013 8:00 AM, PST

Daniel Day-Lewis spoiled us. Last year, the Best Actor race was an easy call, but this time around, it’s the hardest of the Oscar fields to predict. The race is jam-packed with worthy contenders, each with an equally strong chance of finding his name in that winning envelope on March 2.

With a month to go before voting opens we could still see some shifting. Who could still sneak in?  Forest Whitaker for The Butler or Joaquin Phoenix for Her have the potential to rise in the ranks. So does Oscar Isaac for his musical, downtrodden turn in Inside Llewyn Davis. »

- Anthony Breznican

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'12 Years a Slave': The emotional reactions that make director Steve McQueen thankful -- Q&A

28 November 2013 7:00 AM, PST

Who’s afraid of 12 Years a Slave?

Not audiences — strong ticket sales at the box office have proven that. However, despite some passionate fans, many Academy voters have privately confessed to being intimidated by the drama, mostly because reviews have hyped the violence as extreme and relentless. Searing? Yes. Punishing for the audience? No more than, say, Saving Private Ryan or any other honest war picture.

In our latest issue, Entertainment Weekly named director Steve McQueen one of the Entertainers of the Year. That’s not a title one would obviously bestow on the soft-spoken British filmmaker, but “entertainment” means more than escapism. »

- Anthony Breznican

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Box office preview: 'Frozen' ready to storm the chart, but it won't beat 'Catching Fire'

27 November 2013 5:45 PM, PST

Fire or ice? That’s the question that millions of moviegoers will answer this weekend at the box office as Disney’s animated musical Frozen goes head-to-head with record-breaking behemoth The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Will the family film be able to snuff out the blockbuster? Probably not. But it’s still set to do major business over the Wednesday-to-Sunday period. Here’s how things may shake out over the five-day frame:

1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – $91 million

Lionsgate’s $130 million sequel has lit up the box office since its arrival last Friday, and it’s poised to blitz past the $200 million mark on Wednesday, »

- Grady Smith

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'Nebraska' embraces awkward moments -- Video

27 November 2013 11:39 AM, PST

With our apologies to Tolstoy, every family is awkward in its own way too, and the Grants of Hawthorne, Nebraska, are no exception.

In Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, an unexpected accident on Woody Grant’s (Bruce Dern) trip to Omaha finds him thrust back into his hometown for an unwanted stay with his extended family. Needless to say, his visit is full of extended silences and clumsy sincerity as a group of near strangers connected by blood and marriage and a general idea of a social contract attempt to uphold some sense of kinship amidst the mundane realities of their lives. »

- Lindsey Bahr

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'12 Years a Slave': Steve McQueen on his epic's message of love -- Video

27 November 2013 11:31 AM, PST

Director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, which tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black New Yorker who was kidnapped and trafficked into Southern slavery in the 1840s, is the most unflinching depiction of what historians euphemistically referred to as America’s “peculiar institution.”

Peculiar institution? The Heritage Foundation is a peculiar institution! The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a peculiar institution! Slavery was bondage, rape, and murder. For centuries. It was America’s original sin, and 12 Years’ gripping tale washes away 100 years of cinematic gloss and shows it for what it really was. It’s a »

- Jeff Labrecque

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Critical Mass: We know the kids will like 'Frozen,' but will you?

27 November 2013 8:52 AM, PST

Young children don’t pay much attention to critics’ reviews, but you can bet their parents do — especially when there’s a good chance they’re going to be dragged to the cinema by the tots during Thanksgiving weekend. Not only do the adults want to research the potential movie of the week to see if it’s age-appropriate, but they also want to prepare themselves mentally for what might be 90 minutes of mindless dreck.

Relax, moms and dads. Disney’s Frozen, fortunately, looks to be one of those treats that the whole family can enjoy. Not only are there »

- Jeff Labrecque

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Paramount bumps up 'Anchorman 2' release date

27 November 2013 7:01 AM, PST

Christmas is coming early this year for obsessive fans of Ron Burgundy. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the long-awaited sequel to the original 2004 Will Ferrell comedy, has moved up its release date by two days. Instead of Dec. 20, the Friday before Christmas, Ron Burgundy and his Channel 4 news team will now interrupt your regularly scheduled Wednesday on Dec. 18.

Spike Jonze’s Her is also opening on Dec. 18, while David O. Russell’s American Hustle expands its release that Wednesday, too. Anchorman 2′s early start gives it a head-start on the weekend’s other wide release, Walking With Dinosaurs, »

- Jeff Labrecque

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Golden Globes refuse to consider Scarlett Johansson's 'Her' performance -- Breaking

26 November 2013 3:31 PM, PST

The Golden Globes will not be speaking up on behalf of Scarlett Johansson’s voice.

The vocal performance by the actress in Spike Jonze’s new romantic drama Her has been ruled ineligible by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for a supporting actress bid, according to sources close to the submission process. The final decision came today after an appeal from distributor Warner Bros.

Just last week, the Rome Film Festival gave Johansson its Best Actress award for the film. 

In the Her, which opens in limited release Dec. 18, Joaquin Phoenix plays a meek man in the near future who »

- Anthony Breznican

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'Hercules: The Legend Begins' trailer: Kellan Lutz learns his destiny -- Video

26 November 2013 2:33 PM, PST

A new trailer has surfaced for Hercules: The Legend Begins, the first of two upcoming films which will take on the epic Greek legend within the next year.

Director Renny Hariln’s upcoming film is set in Ancient Greece and finds Hercules (Kellan Lutz), born out of wedlock to a queen who had an affair with Zeus, unaware of his own identity and destiny. Hercules soon learns of his destiny and realizes he must choose between fulfilling that destiny or running away with his true love, the Princess of Crete (Gaia Weiss), who has been promised to his own brother. »

- Pamela Gocobachi

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The sexy short film that helped 'Fifty Shades of Grey' director land the job

26 November 2013 2:28 PM, PST

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson says it’s the love story at the center of Fifty Shades of Grey that drew her to the project. But for readers familiar with the sexually elicit trilogy, which begins filming in Vancouver next week, Fifty Shades of Grey is no traditional love story.

As it turns out Taylor-Johnson is no traditional director. For those of you unfamiliar with Taylor-Johnson, the 46-year-old mother of four daughters is a British visual artist and photographer who once posed with her ex-boyfriend, artist Henry Bond, in a re-creation of the famous naked John Lennon-Yoko Ono photograph. She »

- Nicole Sperling

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'Fifty Shades of Grey' hires a bodyguard

26 November 2013 1:26 PM, PST

Max Martini, who starred in The Unit and recently appeared in Pacific Rim and Captain Phillips, will play Christian Grey’s bodyguard in Fifty Shades of Grey. Martini’s character, Jason Taylor, is described in the book as a “taciturn” ex-military guy who heads Grey’s security detail.

Jamie Dornan has been cast as Grey and Dakota Johnson will star as Anastasia Steele in director Sam Taylor-Johnson adaptation of E L James’ erotic thriller. Eloise Mumford, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, and Jennifer Ehle will also co-star. The film, which had its release date recently delayed to Feb. 13, 2015, will begin filming in Vancouver in December. »

- Jeff Labrecque

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Independent Spirit Awards: '12 Years a Slave' and 'Nebraska' lead nominations

26 November 2013 11:18 AM, PST

12 Years a Slave may have the most nominations, but Nebraska will probably benefit the most from its Independent Spirit Awards recognition — which give a much needed boost to low-budget movies competing for Oscar attention.

The epic slavery drama collected a leading seven nominations, while Nebraska was right behind it with six. Both films are in the running for Best  Feature, alongside All Is Lost, Frances Ha, and Inside Llewyn Davis.

Fruitvale Station, this year’s grand jury winner at the Sundance Film Festival, was honored in a separate category for “first feature,” which also included Blue Caprice, Concussion, Una Noche, »

- Anthony Breznican

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Capsule Movie Reviews (Nov. 26): 'Homefront' and two more

26 November 2013 11:02 AM, PST

New Release


R, 1 Hr., 40 Mins.

Jason Statham fans are a pretty forgiving bunch. After all, the chromedomed Cockney killing machine doesn’t usually share the screen with costars who can do more than grunt. But in his latest knuckle-scraping revenge fantasy (scripted by Sylvester Stallone!), he goes head-to-head with James Franco and Winona Ryder as a bonkers, meth-dealing Bonnie and Clyde. An action flick that knows exactly what it wants to be and delivers the goods. B- —Chris Nashawaty

New Release

Bettie Page Reveals All

R, 1 Hr., 41 Mins.

There have been several good documentaries about Bettie Page, the ’50s »

- EW staff

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Ron Burgundy to co-host Canadian curling championships: 'Winnipeg, get ready to paint the town Burgundy!

26 November 2013 9:03 AM, PST

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues doesn’t open in theaters until Dec. 20, but you don’t have to wait that long to see Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy back in action. In fact, the Me Decade’s most-famous fake newsman is practically everywhere these days, lending his classy prestige to Dodge Durangos (and then taking it back on Conan: “I drove it four feet and the thing cracked in half!”); Emerson College, which will temporarily rename its communications school after Burgundy; the Australian prime-minister election coverage; and MTV’s European Music Awards, which are, let’s be honest, the very definition of “classy prestige. »

- Jeff Labrecque

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