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Box office report: 'The Hobbit' wins the weekend's battle

18 hours ago

Although there were three huge wide releases in theaters this weekend, the third and final Hobbit beat them all by a landslide. The Peter Jackson film brought in $56.2 million over the weekend (and $90.6 million since its Wednesday opening), while Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Annie -- all films showing in more than 3,000 locations -- made almost $40 million less. This is a win at the weekend box office, but compared to the rest of the Hobbit films, The Battle of the Five Armies didn't fare as well: The first film in the trilogy made $84.6 million its opening »


- Ariana Bacle

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Casting Net: Pedro Pascal in talks for Great Wall movie

19 December 2014 7:11 PM, PST

• Game of Thrones' Pedro Pascal is in talks for director Zhang Yimou's untitled Great Wall pic. The film, which marks Yimou's English-language debut, follows a group of people who fight to protect the iconic landmark. Matt Damon is also in talks for the film. Tony Gilroy wrote the most recent draft of the script. Production is scheduled to begin this Spring, with a U.S. release date set for Nov. 23, 2016. [The Wrap] • Michael Stuhlbarg has signed on for Universal's Steve Jobs movie. Danny Boyle is directing the film, which has Seth Rogen in the role of Steve Wozniak and Michael Fassbender »


- C. Molly Smith

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Mark Hamill as The Emperor! Rainn Wilson is Chewbacca! Photos from the Live-Read of 'The Empire Strikes Back'

19 December 2014 4:30 PM, PST

Mark Hamill finally went over to the dark side of the Force. Jason Reitman's live-read of The Empire Strikes Back last night brought two surprise guests to the roster of actors recreating the Star Wars sequel. Hamill, who was once Luke Skywalker himself (and will be again) joined the group to play none other than The Emperor. Hamill, an acclaimed voice actor who has done countless animated shows, also read the lines for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Boba Fett, doing spot-on imitations of each, while The Office's Rainn Wilson, sporting a bushy beard and lumberjack-style checked shirt, played Chewbacca -- and only Chewbacca. »


- Anthony Breznican

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'Crimson Peak': A first look at Jessica Chastain in Guillermo del Toro's Gothic chiller

19 December 2014 1:45 PM, PST

After rock'eming and sock'eming some robots in his anime-influenced Pacific RimGuillermo del Toro is returning to the cold, dead arms of horror—and the director hopes that his next movie Crimson Peak will help bring the genre back to its gnarled, twisted roots. "It’s very much in an old mold with a little bit of extra depravity and brutality sprinkled in,” says the director, who found inspiration in classic gothic films like The ­Innocents and Rebecca. Set in the 19th century, the film stars Mia Wasikowska as a new bride who discovers that her husband (Tom Hiddleston) is a tad. »


- Keith Staskiewicz

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Best of 2014: How Tom Hardy took audiences for a ride in 'Locke'

19 December 2014 1:26 PM, PST

Steven Knight had an idea. The writer/director, best known in the U.S. for scripting David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises, wanted to tell a story in real time of a man driving home from work. There would be no high-speed chases or car-crashes. There would be no flashbacks to help explain his predicament and motivations. Instead, his one and only onscreen character would calmly engage in phone conversations with a multitude of people who were depending on him for something important: his wife, his kids, his boss, his friends. Through those increasingly tense chats, clues would trickle out, and »


- Jeff Labrecque

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Kevin Hart teaches Will Ferrell to survive prison in 'Get Hard' trailer

19 December 2014 11:42 AM, PST

Will Ferrell's James is so concerned with his impending prison sentence in his new film, Get Hard, he's enlisted the help of someone he's kind of, sort of, pretty sure also went to prison—Kevin Hart's Darnell. Sentenced to 10 years, James has 30 days to prepare how to survive in prison, Darnell offers his expertise on the matter, though he may be putting on a bit of an act. Craig T. Nelson and Alison Brie also star in the comedy. Find out if James gets as hard, as the title demands, as he needs to be to make it »


- Jonathon Dornbush

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Animal trainer Bill Berloni dishes on nearly 4 decades of Sandy from 'Annie'

19 December 2014 11:30 AM, PST

A lot about the updated version of Annie that opens Friday will be unfamiliar to those familiar with the musical that opened on Broadway in 1977. Many of the songs have changed, for instance, and some have been excised completely for new pop tunes. But there's at least one constant behind the scenes: Bill Berloni, the animal trainer, who, in his words, "created the role of Sandy." Berloni was an apprentice at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut when Annie had its world premiere back in 1976. As Berloni explained to EW, The Goodspeed's executive director, Michael Price, needed "someone he could trick into training the dog, »


- Esther Zuckerman

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Find This Movie: Five reasons to seek out the sexy indie comedy 'Goodbye to All That'

19 December 2014 11:25 AM, PST

Goodbye to All That is about a nice guy who misses out on everything that’s funny, sexy, sweet, sad and exciting about life because he’s just not paying attention. Moviegoers could lose out on the same if they don’t seek out this new indie comedy. The film, written and directed by Junebug screenwriter Angus MacLachlan, stars Paul Schneider as a clumsy but kind-hearted dad named Otto Wall, who is blindsided one day by wife Melanie Lynskey’s request for a divorce. As his life falls apart, he discovers he wasn’t making much use of it anyway and embarks on a romantic, »


- Anthony Breznican

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Expect even more action in 'Insurgent': Exclusive photo

19 December 2014 10:33 AM, PST

Society is heading to war in Insurgent (in theaters March 20)—which means we get to see Shailene Woodley's Tris kick some serious ass. Adapted from the popular Veronica Roth trilogy, Divergent's sequel will see Tris and Four (Theo James) continuing to lead the resistance against the corrupt government while evil mastermind Jeanine (Kate Winslet) tries to wipe out Tris and her kind. Woodley promises that there'll be plenty of onscreen excitement. "We all had this great vision to make this movie even more action packed," says Woodley—which is why Woodley got to spend plenty of quality time in a harness, »


- Sara Vilkomerson

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'Ida,' 'Force Majeure' among 9 films on Academy's Foreign Language shortlist

19 December 2014 9:55 AM, PST

Poland's Ida, Russia's Leviathan, and Sweden's Force Majeure are on the shortlist for the Oscars' Foreign Language Film category. Nine films, out of 83 submitted, advanced in the competition, and some notable films did not make the cut. Among those that will not get a nomination: Cannes Palme d'Or winner Winter Sleep from Turkey, Cannes jury prize winner Mommy from Canada, and the Dardenne brothers's Two Days, One Night, starring Marion Cotillard. »


- Esther Zuckerman

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FBI officially blames North Korea for Sony hack

19 December 2014 9:03 AM, PST

The FBI has concluded that the crippling computer hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment and subsequent leaking of embarrassing emails and proprietary information—which lead to The Interview being shelved—was ordered by the North Korean government. NBC Nightly News posted excerpts of the FBI's update on the investigation, which concludes that "technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in the attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed." According to the FBI, the Sony cyberattack also resembled a similar criminal hack of South Korean banks and media outlets that was committed by North Korea in March. »


- Jeff Labrecque

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Ridley Scott sends his 'Martian' script into space

19 December 2014 8:00 AM, PST

Nasa's Orion spacecraft was designed to shuttle astronauts to Mars some day. When it made its first successful test flight on Dec. 5 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral, the 11-foot-long capsule didn’t blast anyone to the red planet, but it did keep with the theme, completing two orbits of Earth while carrying the front page of the script for The Martian (above). Directed by Ridley Scott with a screenplay by Drew Goddard, the film is based on the novel by Andy Weir that tells the story of an astronaut (Matt Damon) stranded on Mars. It was the production’s Nasa »


- Sara Vilkomerson

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Box office preview: 'The Hobbit,' 'Annie,' and 'Night at the Museum' arrive

18 December 2014 4:14 PM, PST

It's the battle of the three wide releases at this weekend's box office: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesNight at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and Annie are all opening in at least 3,000 theaters each. These huge releases will kick some of the top five mainstays, like The Hunger Games and Penguins of Madagascar, down on the list, and will kick off what's likely to be a successful couple weeks at the box office: Unbroken, The Gambler, and Into the Woods—all films opening in at least 2,000 theaters each—are all opening Christmas week. While Night at the Museum »


- Ariana Bacle

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Channing Tatum to judge aspiring filmmakers in 'Team Oscar' contest

18 December 2014 3:53 PM, PST

Young filmmakers who want to walk out onto the Oscar stage can get a jump on their careers by entering this year's "Team Oscar" challenge. Oscar telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have announced Channing Tatum will serve as a spokesman and one of the judges in their third annual contest in which aspiring filmmakers make short videos to compete for the opportunity to appear as presenters during the 87th Academy Awards. (Well ... presenters to the presenters, actually. These are the trophy handlers who give the statuettes to the celebrity announcing the winner.) »


- Anthony Breznican

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'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': The heart is a lonely bounty hunter

18 December 2014 2:08 PM, PST

Maybe we really are alone in the galaxy. The heroes and villains of Star Wars: The Force Awakens sure seem to be. The movie is unquestionably 2015's most anticipated film, and although we’ve only seen flashes of actual footage from next December’s journey into that other galaxy, I can't help but notice that director J.J. Abrams chose to introduce the story's new characters in moments of isolation and desperation. Consider John Boyega as Finn, the scared, sweaty Stormtrooper trying to make an escape in the desert. Or Daisy Ridley’s Rey, riding solo (no pun intended) in »


- Anthony Breznican

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Reese Witherspoon and Cheryl Strayed find the meaning of 'Wild' in exclusive clip

18 December 2014 1:30 PM, PST

In 1995, Cheryl Strayed hiked 1,000 miles up the Pacific Crest Trail in a purifying, last-gasp effort to become the woman her late mother died thinking she could be. Her self-destructive grief following her mother's death from cancer had cost her her marriage, and it wasn't until she was alone out in the wild for 94 days that she rediscovered herself. But it took years for her to truly understand the meaning of that trek, says Strayed, who didn't publish her best-seller, Wild, until 2012. "I turned to the trail at a time in my life when I felt lost, at a place that »


- Jeff Labrecque

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First look: Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks reteam for a Cold War spy mission

18 December 2014 1:05 PM, PST

Here's an early look at another eagerly anticipated film coming next year. It’s a rescue mission—recovering a captured pilot from behind enemy lines—but star Tom Hanks isn’t playing a soldier. Instead, he’s a lawyer, and the only weapons he carries into this battle are his words. The still-untitled historical drama from director Steven Spielberg stars Hanks as James Donovan, the true-life attorney working on behalf of the CIA to secretly negotiate the release of Francis Gary Powers, a U.S. pilot shot down over Soviet airspace in 1960 while piloting a U-2 spy plane. »


- Anthony Breznican

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'Jurassic World': See Chris Pratt ride with some raptors -- exclusive

18 December 2014 12:00 PM, PST

It’s never an easy walk in Jurassic Park. In fact, guests typically end up running like hell. The fourth installment of Universal’s biggest franchise is no exception. Opening in theaters June 12, World is set 22 years after the original film. The dino-themed amusement park on Isla Nubla has been thriving for years, yielding four-star restaurants (hello, Nobu!) and beautiful resorts. But in an effort to create new buzz and boost attendance, a hybrid dino is hatched—and that’s when the island’s human population, including dino researcher Owen (Chris Pratt), park operations manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), and »


- Tim Stack

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Best of 2014: How Richard Linklater cast his 'Boyhood' star

18 December 2014 11:07 AM, PST

Since debuting at January's Sundance Film Festival, Richard Linklater's Boyhood has become one of the most critically adored films in recent memory. Audiences felt the same way, swooning at the story of a boy (Ellar Coltrane) and his complicated family as he ages from 6 to 18 years old. The experimental $4 million movie, filmed in Texas with little fanfare over a dozen years, has grossed more than $43 million around the world and become one of the favorites for Best Picture. The experience has been surreal, to say the least, for 20-year-old Coltrane, whose life to this point is indirectly documented in the film. »


- Jeff Labrecque

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'The Jungle Book': Bill Murray will sing!

18 December 2014 11:00 AM, PST

Rudyard Kipling’s classic tales of an Indian boy raised by wolves, first published as a series in the late 19th century, has been adapted more than a dozen times. But Walt Disney’s 1967 animated musical—his last—set the gold standard. Now, director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) is giving Mowgli and his animal pals a 21st-century tech update. Newcomer Neel Sethi, 10, plays Mowgli, and there’s a lot riding on those young shoulders. Not only does he do his own tree-climbing—”A 10-year-old in a loin cloth is hard to double with a stuntman,” Favreau says— but he’s »


- Nicole Sperling

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