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Box office report: 'The Hunger Games' wins the weekend (and the year)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 predictably topped this weekend’s box office — but less predictably didn’t do as well as the previous films in the franchise.

The previous Hunger Games film, Catching Fire, also opened on the weekend before Thanksgiving, but ended its weekend with $158 million. Mockingjay, though, grossed $123 million. Compared to $158 million, and to the original Hunger Games‘ $152.5 million opening in 2012, $123 million is disappointing. But in the context of 2014, it’s amazing: Mockingjay had a stronger opening than any other film this year, beating out Transformers: Age of Extinction’s $100 million debut.

And while Catching Fire’s domestic opening beat Mockingjay’s, Mockingjay takes the prize for foreign totals: Lionsgate premiered the film in 85 international markets this weekend and made an estimated $152 million in those markets — four percent more than the $146 million Catching Fire brought in internationally its opening weekend. READ FULL STORY

Times Change: 'Jurassic World' teases with three homages to Steven Spielberg's original

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The turkey, according to scienticians, may have evolved from ancient dinosaurs, so think about that as you chew your Thanksgiving dinner while awaiting this Thursday’s full teaser reveal for Jurassic World.

The fourth installment of the scientists-were-so-preoccupied-with-whether-or-not-they-could-that-they-didn’t-stop-to-think-if-they-should series will reveal its first big promo for the June 12 film during Thanksgiving football on NBC. To let everyone know, they’ve sent out a few seconds today.

Feast your eyes … READ FULL STORY

Friday box office: everyone's going to see 'Mockingjay'

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 looks like it just had the best opening day of the year.

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Let's talk about where 'Mockingjay -- Part 1' ends -- and where 'Part 2' is going

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t read Mockingjay and don’t have a desire to know what happens in the second half of the book, you probably shouldn’t read this post.  READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: 'Doctor Who' alum Matt Smith to star in 'Patient Zero'

• Doctor Who alum Matt Smith will star opposite Natalie Dormer in Patient Zero. Stefan Ruzowitzky is directing the action thriller from a script by Mike Le. The story follows the spread of a super strain of rabies, which leads to the evolution of a new, violent species. An immune survivor must race to find Patient Zero, and a cure, to save his infected wife and the human race at large. [Deadline]

• Brenton Thwaites is in final negotiations for the role of a British soldier, Henry, in the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean installment. The actor is known for this year’s Maleficent and The Giver. The film, once again starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, will hit theaters July 7, 2017. [Deadline]

• Bryce Dallas Howard is in negotiations for the female lead in Pete’s Dragon. David Lowery is directing the film, a remake of the 1977 film. The film follows Pete, a young boy who is raised by a dragon when his parents pass away. The pair live in a forest, which is being threatened by loggers. Lowery and Toby Halbrooks penned the script. Robert Redford is also in talks for the film. [The Wrap]

• Ashley Bell has been cast in Chris Siverston‘s Maternal Bonds, which stars Sarah Rue and Dean Geyer. The story follows a “baby whisperer” named Beth (Rue) who befriends a group of exhausted new parents. Beth, however, is not the perfect person she appears to be. Bell will play a new mother who turns to an online support group for motherhood advice. [The Wrap]

• Katee Sackhoff is set for the indie dramedy Girl Flu. Dorie Barton is directing the film, which stars Jade Pettyjohn, Jeremy Sisto, Heather Matarazzo, Judy Reyes, and Isaiah Mustafa. The film follows a 12-year-old girl, Bird (Pettyjohn), who moves from the San Fernando Valley to Echo Park. Upon moving, she gets her period, is abandoned by her mother, and learns that she can never move back home. The film is in production in Los Angeles. [Deadline]

Hear Jennifer Lawrence sing 'The Hanging Tree' in 'Mockingjay'

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Jennifer Lawrence is bringing her vocals to The Hunger Games film series once more, whether she likes it or not.

In The Hunger Games, Katniss sings “Rue’s Lullaby” to say goodbye to her friend and late District 11 tribute. In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1, Katniss sings “The Hanging Tree,” which she learned from her father. The song becomes an anthem for the revolution against the capitol. The lyrics are from the book, written by Suzanne Collins. The Lumineers, known for hits such as “Ho Hey” and “Stubborn Love,” wrote the melody for its big-screen debut.

In an interview with AOL, director Francis Lawrence said his lead actress wasn’t thrilled about having to sing: “Jen was not happy she had to sing it all day long. She cried a little bit in the morning.” For what it’s worth, we think it turned out pretty well. Take a listen, here:

Watch the first trailer for Lucasfilm's 'Strange Magic'

While fans may have to hold out more than a year for the next Star Wars film, Lucasfilm’s animated project Strange Magic is a much shorter wait away. And now, the first trailer is here, meaning we finally get to see what Alan Cumming would look like as a singing bug.

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NSYNC alum JC Chasez joins cast of Topher Grace musical 'One Shot'

Hot on the heels of the news that Topher Grace and Taye Diggs will star in an upcoming film musical entitled One Shot, the production’s added another big name. According to Deadline, *NSYNC veteran JC Chasez has signed on to play a bad guy, the star of the stage musical within the film who sleeps with the ex-girlfriend of Grace’s character, a production manager who has to pull together an eccentric cast and crew for the musical’s opening night. READ FULL STORY

Channing Tatum to co-direct YA adaptation 'Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock'

Channing Tatum is getting behind the lens for his next project, an adaptation of the YA novel Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. READ FULL STORY

Richard Linklater to receive career achievement award from Casting Society

Director Richard Linklater will be honored by the Casting Society of America with the Career Achievement Award at the 30th annual Artios Awards.

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