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'Belle': Bad blood brewing over writing credits

This past weekend, $500,000 worth of moviegoers flocked to see Belle, a well-reviewed costume drama about a biracial woman raised in 18th-century British aristocracy, featuring a standout performance by Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Everyone involved in the film should be thrilled, but behind the scenes, outrage is building around whether the director of the movie, Amma Asante, should also be recognized as its screenwriter. READ FULL STORY

'Belle': A look at the real-life inspiration from painting to screen -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Belle tells the inspiring true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy officer in 18th century England who is taken in by her uncle. However, little was known about Dido’s life besides a 1779 painting made of her and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray. In this exclusive featurette, writer Misan Sagay, director Amma Asante, and star Gugu Mbatha-Raw explain how they were inspired by the painting and how the work of art has influenced the film’s creative message and story and place in history. Take a look below: READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' sticks a super $92 million debut

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (B+ Cinema Score) came out of the gates swinging and earned an estimated $92 million over the weekend. Playing in 4,324 locations, this is a solid domestic debut for the Sony sequel starring Andrew Garfield as the nimble superhero, which boasted a $21K per-theater average. IMAX showings accounted for $9.3 million of the opening cume from 353 screens.

Overall, reviews have been mixed for the Marc Webb reboot (54 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), especially when compared with Sam Raimi’s second entry in the Spideyverse (94 percent). But, fans don’t seem to mind. Opening weekend audiences gave the film a B+ Cinema Score overall and an A- from the under-25 crowd. Families indeed turned out to see how Peter Parker would fare against all those villains, making up 33 percent of the audience. According to Friday exit sampling of general moviegoers, 61 percent of the audience was male and about 51 percent was under 25.

Many weekend projections (including our own) surmised that the pic would beat, or match, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014’s highest opener to date ($95 million in early April) but, according to initial estimates, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Still, Sony is feeling good. Internationally, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 grossed an estimated $116 million in its third weekend, bringing the overseas total to a mighty $277 million.

“It’s a terrific start here in the U.S. and the world result is no less than stunning,” says Sony’s worldwide distribution exec Rory Bruer. “We had a record-breaking opening in India ($6.5 million, the best-ever for a Hollywood title) and Brazil ($10.5 million, or 76 percent higher than the first). We had fantastic results in France ($10.6 million) and we had a huge day in China ($10.4 million on Sunday). It’s popping and working everywhere in the world. We’re absolutely on track to not only meet our goals but to exceed them.”

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Box office preview: 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' kicks off super summer blockbuster season

Summer blockbuster season is upon us, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the first to swing out of the gates as Sony debuts its follow-up to their 2012 franchise reboot in 4,324 theaters. Peter Parker and his army of villains have the skies to themselves this weekend too. No one dared attempt open against the comic book juggernaut (and soon to be mega-franchise). But the bar is still high thanks to the record-breaking successes of Sam Raimi’s first three (which made over $1 billion domestically) and the lower but still incredibly high-grossing Amazing Spider-Man ($262 million domestic).

Here’s how things might play out: READ FULL STORY

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