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The 15 most impressive* box office performances of 2012 so far

We’re officially halfway through 2012, and if you’re an obsessive box-office junkie like me, that means it’s time to reflect back on the past six months at the movies and give credit to some of the best box-office performances. (Theoretically, it’s also time to think back to box-office disasters like Battleship, John Carter, and That’s My Boy, but we’ll save that for another time…)

There have been loads of strong performers with sensible budgets, so it was difficult to whittle down the slate (sorry, Safe House and Contraband, you were thisclose to making the cut!), but whittle I did. Thus, here is my totally-up-for-debate list of the 15 Most Impressive* Box Office Performances of 2012… so far. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: '21 Jump Street' hopes to jump past 'The Lorax'

After John Carter’s disappointing opening frame, this weekend brings moviegoers only one new wide release, 21 Jump Street, which looks like a potential smash that could birth a franchise. Although a number of limited releases — Will Ferrell comedy Casa De Mi Padre (382 theaters), Nicholas Cage thriller Seeking Justice (230 theaters), and Jason Segel/Ed Helms comedy Jeff, Who Lives at Home (250 theaters), — are hitting multiplexes, they aren’t likely to make much impact on the box office. Friends With Kids‘s expansion from 369 to 640 theaters might give it a small boost, but on the whole, the chart will likely look very similar to last weekend. Here’s how things may shake out: READ FULL STORY

Arnold Schwarzenegger to make action movie with 'Act of Valor' directors

Fact: there is something called the Arnold Sports Festival, an annual multi-sport gathering (billed as the largest in the nation) that features more than 45 sports, over 700 exhibition booths, and one (1) 8-foot bronze statue of festival namesake Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Second fact: at this year’s festival in Columbus, Ohio, the former bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-Governator-turned-actor revealed his upcoming slate of action movies, leading us to believe that the Arnold just does not stop. At a press conference, Schwarzenegger discussed his next film projects, which will begin with The Expendables 2, the Sylvester Stallone-penned sequel to 2010’s adrenaline-cased sausage fest, due out in August.

READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Act of Valor' SEALs the deal with $24.7 million; 'Tyler Perry's Good Deeds' at No. 2

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Patriotism ruled at the box office this weekend, as the Navy SEAL action film, Act of Valor, scored a big victory with $24.7 million.

Relativity acquired the military movie (which was independently financed by the Bandito brothers for $12 million) for just $13 million and then spent another $30 million promoting it — a large percentage of which paid for four Super Bowl spots — and their gamble has paid off in a big way. Relativity successfully captured their target audience of males 18-54 by campaigning to gamers, ethnic audiences, sports fans, country music fans, military, and the faith community. Crowds were 71 percent male, while 60 percent of audiences were above the age of 25. Act of Valor earned an “A” CinemaScore grade, meaning it may thrive at the box office for weeks to come. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Act of Valor' snipes 'Good Deeds' on Friday with $9.1 million; 'Gone', 'Wanderlust' flop

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Tyler Perry’s magic touch is proving to be a little less magic for his latest release Good Deeds, which was expected to top the box office this weekend. Instead, Navy SEAL action film Act of Valor is headed to an easy win over the Friday-to-Sunday period.

Act of Valor shot up a great $9.1 million on Friday, which should lead the film to a $25 million weekend and an easy number one position. The film which, audiences issued an “A” CinemaScore grade, should prove to be a big win for Relativity. Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds, meanwhile, got off to a more sluggish start. The film pulled in a weaker-than-expected $5.5 million, and may gross about $15 million by Sunday night.

The weekend’s other two new releases, Wanderlust and Gone, fared much, much worse, grossing just $2.2. million and $1.7 million, respectively. Wanderlust may wander to the $6 million mark this frame, while thriller Gone will earn a not-so-thrilling $5 million. Holdovers Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, The Vow, and Safe House, in their third weekends, will all just about double these grosses.

1. Act of Valor – $9.1 million
2. Good Deeds – $5.5 million
3. The Vow – $3.3 million
4. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – $3.2 million
5. Safe House – $3.1 million

Check back tomorrow for the full weekend report.

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'Act of Valor': Just how realistic is this Navy SEAL movie?

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The truth is, I have absolutely no idea how authentic the new Navy SEALs-based film Act of Valor is. Like many people, I have never been a SEAL, or a Marine, or even a particularly good Call of Duty player. The closest I have ever come to serving in the armed forces was a year in Cub Scouts, during which I actually earned a badge for learning how to tie a neck tie. So forgive me if I don’t pretend to judge whether this film — a fictional story starring genuine, active-duty SEALs — is a realistic depiction of the lives of some of the military’s most elite operators. But talking to the movie’s directors, former stuntmen Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh, it certainly sounds like Valor captures the way modern SEALs work. Below, the directors talk about why they cast real SEALs in the starring roles, how they made the action feel so convincing, and why they couldn’t always get everything exactly right.

– The directors originally planned to use actors in the SEAL roles, but they quickly changed their minds. “As we set out on the research project, we met the guys and were just blown away,” says McCoy. “These were some of the most amazing men we’d ever met. They were so different from the Hollywood, popular-culture stereotype. They’re not Rambos. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Tyler Perry's Good Deeds' and 'Act of Valor' head into battle

Thanks to the arrival of four new movies — Act of Valor, Gone, Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds, and Wanderlust — and some strong holdovers, the box office should maintain a healthy amount of depth this weekend, with many of grosses in the $10-20 million range. Still, we’re probably not looking at another frame like two weeks ago, when The Vow and Safe House both shattered industry expectations.

Which films will be on top, and which will more likely flop? Read on for my box office predictions: READ FULL STORY

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