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Cast and crew of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' thank fans for charity

What can we learn from this thank-you video posted by director J.J. Abrams and the crew from Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Two things:

One — in the new film, they apparently visit a planet that is draped mostly in green cloth.

Two — Star Wars fans have big hearts. READ FULL STORY

FBI officially blames North Korea for Sony hack

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. In addition, the Guardians of Peace hackers that claimed credit for the attack used several Internet protocol addresses that are known to be associated with North Korean actors. READ FULL STORY

Ridley Scott sends his 'Martian' script into space

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 liaison who came up with the idea of sending a piece of The Martian into space. “NASA has been really involved and incredibly generous in the process of making this movie,” says producer Simon Kinberg, who attended the launch. (Also on board were memorabilia from Star Trek and Sesame Street.) As for the doodles and commentary on the title page, those are the handiwork of Scott (who’s currently shooting the movie in Hungary). “When Ridley reads his scripts he sketches on them,” says Kinberg. “He’s very much an artist.”

Click to enlarge and see the whole page. (Warning: There’s a touch of profanity.)

EW has scoop on 116 things that you’re going to be talking about this year—so why not get a head start now? Grab the forecast issue and impress your friends with your newfound powers of prediction.

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

It’s the battle of the three wide releases at this weekend’s box office: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Night 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 Woodsall films opening in at least 2,000 theaters eachare all opening Christmas week.

While Night at the Museum and Annie open Friday, The Hobbit already started arriving in theaters Wednesday and has made $24.5 million domestically.

As for smaller releases, Wild is expanding into over 1,000 theaters this weekenough to earn it a place closer to the top five, but not quite enough to earn it a place in the top five. Here’s the movies that should have top five-worthy weekends though: READ FULL STORY

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

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.) READ FULL STORY

Walt Becker signs on to direct fourth 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' film

Alvin, Simon, and Theodore have remained off the big screen since 2011, but a new director has signed on to pilot the next (chip)ship.


Watch David Oyelowo give a powerful speech as Martin Luther King Jr. in 'Selma' clip

David Oyelowo takes on the role of Martin Luther King in Ava DuVernay’s Selma, and in a new clip from the film, we get a glimpse at one of King’s famous speeches as Oyelowo’s King demands the right to vote.

The film also stars Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Lorraine Toussaint.


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

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 her Taser-shaped speeder across a similarly blighted landscape.

Yeah, Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron is flying his X-wing in formation with the rest of his squad, but life in those cockpits can be solitary. These new ships don’t even appear to include the R2-D2-style astromech robots the previous models used as co-pilots.

Even BB-8, the adorable ball droid, rolls alone. READ FULL STORY

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


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 I didn’t know how to come to terms with the death of my mother,” Strayed says in an exclusive featurette about the film, which opened Dec. 3 and expands on Friday. “It became about what it means to bear the unbearable.” READ FULL STORY

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

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. READ FULL STORY

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