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Box office report: 'Zero Dark Thirty' tops chart with $24 million; 'A Haunted House' beats 'Gangster Squad'

After weeks of controversy in limited release, Sony’s $40 million Osama Bin Laden assassination film, Zero Dark Thirty, shot into first place with $24.0 million this weekend following five Oscar nominations (though not one for director Kathryn Bigelow) and an expansion from 60 to 2,937 theaters. After four weekends, the well-reviewed drama has earned $29.5 million total, and given its omnipresence during awards season, there’s no telling how high it could ultimately climb. $100 million is certainly not out of the question.

Zero Dark Thirty, which earned an “A-” CinemaScore, finished in the same range as Act of Valor, another recent Navy SEAL film, which garnered $24.5 million in its opening weekend in February 2012. The film is already far bigger than Kathryn Bigelow’s last directorial effort, The Hurt Locker, which found $17.7 million in 2009, and it will easily surpass both K-19: The Widowmaker ($35.2 million) and Point Break ($43.2 million) as the biggest hit of her career. Zero Dark Thirty played mostly to older males — according to Sony, 59 percent of its audience was male, and 62 percent was older than 30. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: Despite Kathryn Bigelow snub, 'Zero Dark Thirty' wins Friday with $9 million

Director Kathryn Bigelow may not have earned an Oscar nomination (her snub, along with Ben Affleck’s, proved the main talking point on the morning of the nominations), but Sony’s Osama Bin Laden assassination drama Zero Dark Thirty is still riding a wave of good will from the five nominations it did receive, and it shot straight to number one at the box office on Friday.

Zero Dark Thirty expanded from 60 to 2,937 theaters yesterday, allowing it to gross a sizzling $9.0 million on its first day of wide release. The controversial film, which earned an “A-” CinemaScore, may take in about $25 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period — right in line with the $24.5 million that the last Navy SEAL film, Act of Valor, earned in its debut weekend last year. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Zero Dark Thirty' and 'Gangster Squad' target No. 1 spot

On the heels of Thursday morning’s Oscar nominations, Zero Dark Thirty is poised to shoot higher than newcomers Gangster Squad and A Haunted House and rise straight to the top of the box office.

Zero Dark Thirty, the controversial film about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, has earned $5.2 million after three weeks of limited release, during which it has played in no more than 60 theaters. Sony is now expanding the $40 million film into 2,937 theaters following the five Oscar nominations — though, shockingly, not a directing nom for Kathryn Bigelow — it garnered today.

In Sandy Hook shooting's wake, stars discuss movie violence

Friday’s devastating shooting in Newtown, Conn. has prompted several actors and filmmakers to speak out about whether violence in films inspires violence in real life. The team behind Django Unchained – a bullet-studded revenge fantasy from violent virtuoso Quentin Tarantino — has been especially forthcoming.

Naturally, the shooting came up during Django‘s press junket in New York City on Saturday. According to the BBC, Tarantino dismissed the idea that the movie will lead to real-world gun violence. “I just think, you know, there’s violence in the world, tragedies happen, blame the playmakers,” he told the crowd. “It’s a western. Give me a break.”

Django star Christoph Waltz agreed with the director’s general sentiment, arguing that “the media’s responsibility is greater than the story teller’s is.” Waltz also said that while he “find[s] violence…to that degree [in Django] repulsive,” he also believes “Django is violent, but it’s not inspiring violence.” His cast mate Kerry Washington pointed out that the film uses violence as the means to an end, including it in order to depict “the wrongs, the injustices, the social ills” of slavery.


'Gangster Squad' trailer: Lots of shooting, but not in a theater

Here’s what you’ll see in the new Gangster Squad trailer: Guns, a Josh Brolin-Nick Nolte gruff-man face-off, more guns, Ryan Gosling staring at Emma Stone with soulful eyes and trying out an accent that sounds remarkably like Mickey Doyle on Boardwalk Empire, slow-motion guns, Robert Patrick’s mustache, and guns. Here’s what you won’t see: Any remnant of the scene involving a shooting in a movie theater, which was removed from the crime film in the wake of July’s Aurora tragedy. That vicious and terrifying scene of gun violence has been removed, leaving behind in its wake a plethora of gun violence which is totally family friendly, I guess. Anyhow, what else are you going to watch in January? READ FULL STORY

'Gangster Squad' poster: Sean Penn looms large

The upcoming mob thriller Gangster Squad appears to have its aesthetic crosshairs aimed at an exaggerated, hyperkinetic homage to film noir. Kind of like Quentin Tarantino’s ultraviolent tribute to ’70s kung fu flicks in Kill Bill, only this time set in 1940’s Los Angeles.

Note the pronounced, simplistic layout of yesteryear of the new poster, coated in a glossy contemporary sheen. Glowering men toting tommy guns, King Kong-style lettering, Emma Stone flashing some Jolie-style high-thigh — golly gee! — this one promises a swell night out at the pictures.

Gangster Squad is due for a Jan. 11 release, following its postponement in the wake of the Aurora, Colo. theater shooting. Catch the full-size image after the jump.


'Gangster Squad' gets official new 2013 release date

In the wake of last week’s shooting rampage in Aurora, Colorado, Warner Bros. has pushed back the release of the action-drama Gangster Squad from its original date of Sept. 7 back to Jan. 11, 2013. The delay will allow director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) time to replace a key scene depicting a gangland massacre in a movie theater. That scene, which was featured in the film’s original trailer, suddenly took on a grisly unintended resonance following the July 20 shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. The film stars Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling as Los Angeles cops charged with taking down real-life 1940s mob kingpin Mickey Cohen, played by Sean Penn.

Warner Bros. pushes ‘Gangster Squad’ to 2013
‘Gangster Squad’ trailer pulled over theater-shooting scene ‎

Warner Bros. pushes 'Gangster Squad' to 2013

The July 20 shooting spree at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., seems ultimately to have had a relatively modest impact on the release of the superhero blockbuster, at least in terms of its box-office performance. But it has thrown a major wrench into Warner Bros.’ plans for another film, the upcoming action-drama Gangster Squad. In the immediate wake of the shooting, the studio pulled the trailers for the film, which — in a grisly unintended echo of the Aurora tragedy — featured a scene of mobsters bursting through a movie screen and firing machine guns at people seated in a movie theater. Days later, the studio and director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) decided to cut, or at least extensively rework, that scene. Given that the movie-theater-gangland-massacre sequence was a key plot point in the film — which stars Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling as Los Angeles cops assigned to take down real-life 1940s mob kingpin Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) — any changes to it inevitably would necessitate script revisions and reshoots, jeopardizing the film’s planned Sept. 7 release date.

Now a source confirms that Warner Bros. is pulling the film off of the fall schedule. READ FULL STORY

'Gangster Squad' trailer pulled over theater-shooting scene ‎

“Hmm, the page you’re looking for can’t be found.”

That’s what it says on the Apple trailers page if you go searching for the Gangster Squad. You’ll find similar disclaimers everywhere you look for it.

A scene of vicious gangland reprisal in the movie is suddenly more jarring and disturbing than originally intended following today’s mass shooting during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado.

That’s why viewers aren’t likely to see that footage again in a trailer — if at all.


'Gangster Squad' trailer: Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin go up against a dirty Sean Penn

When Gangster Squad was filming in Los Angeles last fall, the Internet went a little crazy cooing over the many paparazzi shots of Ryan Gosling decked out in slick 1940s suits and cuddling with an adorable bull dog (and Emma Stone). Oh, and then there was the shot of Gosling beating some guy with a tie iron.

Now the trailer for the fall thriller — about a group of L.A. cops (led by Josh Brolin’s WWII vet) who set aside their badges to declare war on gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) — has finally hit, and the movie looks much more like a beating-a-guy-with-a-tire-iron movie than hanging-out-with-a-cute-pooch movie. Check it out below:  READ FULL STORY

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