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Digital Tracking: ‘The Hobbit’s’ Five Armies to Plunder Box Office

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Does digital data offer indicators that can be used to monitor marketing effectiveness and predict box office success even before awareness turns into intent? Moviepilot – which studies social data and box office trends – analyzes this weekend’s new movies across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google (the methodology behind the numbers is laid out in… Read more »

Sony Pictures’ Michael Lynton Thanks Employees for Work During ‘Incredibly Taxing’ Period

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In a note before the holiday break, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton thanked studio employees for their work in the wake of the massive cyber-attack that forced the cancellation of “The Interview” release. “I am enormously grateful for all of the hard work you’ve done these last few weeks and know that it has… Read more »

Sony Rejected Theaters’ Proposal to Debut ‘The Interview’ in Limited Release

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As threats of violence imperiled the Christmas debut of “The Interview,” Canadian exhibitor Cineplex and other U.S. chains urged Sony Pictures earlier this week to consider opening the comedy in roughly 20 theaters before releasing it more broadly. They believed the limited-release strategy could have helped the studio and theater owners assess if the hackers… Read more »

Academy’s Music Branch Still Wrestles With Rules Change

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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… Read more »

Watch: First Trailer for Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart Comedy ‘Get Hard’

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Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for “Get Hard,” starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, three months before its March 27 release. Ferrell plays a successful businessman who is sentenced to 10 years in a maximum security prison for fraud, panics and hires the first African-American he meets to teach him how to “get… Read more »

Obama Administration Denies Advising on Decision to Pull ‘The Interview’

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President Obama sat for an interview with CNN on Friday and rebutted any notion that Sony Pictures Entertainment consulted with the White House on pulling “The Interview” from theaters after the news channel aired excerpts of a separate interview in which the studio’s chairman, Michael Lynton, described reaching out to the Obama administration. In addition,… Read more »

Directors & Their Troops: Jean-Marc Vallee on His ‘Wild’ Bunch

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Jean-Marc Vallee wanted “Wild” to reflect Cheryl Strayed’s book: not “pretty” but raw and real. “And how were we going to get this film as emotional as the book? I was scared. The book is so beautiful, with too many details for a two-hour film. We needed to have a experience that’s emotional, that’s powerful.”… Read more »

Robert Duvall, Alejandro Inarritu Nab Palm Springs Film Fest Honors

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Robert Duvall will be honored with the Icon Award and Alejandro G. Inarritu with the Director of the Year award at the Palm Springs Film Festival Gala on January 3. “Robert Duvall gives an outstanding and amazingly realistic performance as Judge Joseph Palmer in ‘The Judge,’” said festival chairman Harold Matzner. Regarding Inarritu, who is… Read more »

David Schwimmer Cast as Robert Kardashian in FX’s ‘American Crime Story’

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“Friends” star David Schwimmer has signed on as Robert Kardashian in FX’s upcoming miniseries  “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” the network announced Friday. Schwimmer will play O.J. Simpson’s attorney, starring opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson. Sarah Paulson is set to portray prosecutor Marcia Clark. The first episode of “The People v. O.J. Simpson”… Read more »