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in the news

A Spielberg Christmas

Steven Spielberg’s next two pics will open just days apart from each other during the 2011 holiday season. “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn,” which Par and Sony will co-distribute, is set to open Dec. 23 next year, while “War Horse,” distribbed by DreamWorks and Disney, is slated to bow Dec. 28.

Potter’s 3D spell

Warner Bros. canceled its plans to release “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” in 3D, making it the first major pic to cancel a previously announced 3D release. The studio also unveiled plans to convert “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” into 3D Blu-ray.

MGM suddenly popular

MGM debtholders will consider rival proposals from Lionsgate, which is teaming with Carl Icahn, and from Spyglass Entertainment toppers Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum to take control of the beleaguered studio.

FilmDistrict assembles team

Peter Schlessel and Bob Berney’s FilmDistrict has named its initial distribution and marketing management teams, with Dan Lange serving as senior VP of distribution and Jeanne Berney as VP of marketing.

AFI fetes Freeman

The American Film Institute will honor Morgan Freeman with its Life Achievement Award.

farewell

Solomon Burke, 70, Soul singer who wrote “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love.” Oct. 10.

Joan Sutherland, 83, Australian opera singer. Oct. 10.

For complete obituaries,visit Variety.com/obits

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