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Best of 2014: The year's coolest, and funniest, movie sidekicks

When it comes down to it, the hero of a story would be nowhere without the help of a trusty sidekick or two. 2014 has had its fair share of number 2s that both lifted up those heroes—and, arguably, stole their spotlight.

With that in mind, here’s a list of the year’s best sidekicks —the ones who proved that behind every great hero, there’s someone just as great (and often a whole lot funnier).

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'Boyhood,' 'Into the Woods' make the AFI Awards list

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The American Film Institute typically gives out honors to 10 films each year, but this year, 11 made the cut, including Boyhood, which picked up even more critics’ prizes over the weekend. According to AFI, this is “the first time in AFI AWARDS history that the voting procedure – including tiebreakers – has resulted in the inclusion of 11 motion picture honorees.”  READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay' wins again

The Hunger Games continues to win at the box office: Mockingjay placed first this weekend with an estimated $21.6 million — $10 million more than the second place film, Penguins of Madagascar. Mockingjay has now grossed $257.7 million domestically and $560.5 million worldwide.

The Hunger Games series proved its staying power with its two previous films, so it’s not surprising that Mockingjay is still at number one three weeks past its release. Mockingjay benefits from star power (Jennifer Lawrence! Julianne Moore! Woody Harrelson!), family friendliness, and established popularity. Even so, its box office power is less attributable to esteem for the franchise than to the fact that it doesn’t have much competition right now.

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Box office report: 'Mockingjay' beats out new releases

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, now in its second weekend, had two wide releases to compete against this weekend, Penguins of Madagascar and Horrible Bosses 2. But it wasn’t much of a competition at all: Mockingjay grossed $56.9 million, while Penguins brought in less than half that with $25.8 million and Horrible Bosses 2 with $15.7 million.

Mockingjay’s box office success is expected. The film, the third in the Hunger Games series, is part of a wildly popular franchise that younger and older crowds are both interested in thanks to its dark, gritty world and A-list stars ranging from Jennifer Lawrence to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Penguins, on the other hand, is also part of a franchise — but one not quite as beloved, apparently.  READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Mockingjay' to top 'Penguins of Madagascar' and 'Horrible Bosses 2'

Two new films hit theaters this weekend—Penguins of Madagascar and Horrible Bosses 2—but they aren’t likely to knock The Hunger Games out of the top spot. Not even cute birds and funny sequels can beat the power of the massive franchise—or the power of Jennifer Lawrence.

Although The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1 didn’t do as well as previous Hunger Games films’ opening weekends, it did open stronger than any other film this year with a weekend total of $121.9 million. And that alone sets it up for a strong second weekend, even up against two wide releases.

Penguins is also a franchise film, the fourth in the Madagascar series, and, unlike Mockingjay, a completely family-friendly movie. Horrible Bosses 2 does not have the family friendliness going for it, but it is a comedy—a genre that doesn’t currently have too many offerings at the theater. READ FULL STORY

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

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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Box office preview: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay' is here

The odds are definitely in The Hunger Games‘ favor this weekend: The third film in the trilogy is expected to surpass the $100 million mark at this weekend’s box office, and will for sure take the No. 1 spot by a long shot.

The first two Hunger Games films proved the franchises’ ability to make big bank, with the first film making $152.5 million its first weekend and the second film, Catching Fire, grossing $158 million its opening weekend. This means this film is likely to follow in their footsteps, especially because it’s the only wide release this weekend. READ FULL STORY

AMC presents Unlimited ticket for infinite screenings of 'Interstellar'

Still wrestling with the twisty plot and brow-furrowing science of Interstellar?

Maybe you need to see it again—or three times—to wrap your head around Christopher Nolan’s trip into the final frontier (and the human heart!). Paramount and AMC Theatres have teamed up to make that easier: Cinephiles, sci-fi aficionados, and Nolan obsessives who are also AMC Stubs members can purchase an Interstellar Unlimited Ticket that is good for infinite screenings of the blockbuster. READ FULL STORY

Christopher Nolan explains reasoning behind 'Interstellar' sound

Couldn’t make out some of the dialogue in Interstellar? Good news: Your hearing is fine.

Director Christopher Nolan talked to The Hollywood Reporter about the use of sound in Interstellar and why some lines weren’t the easiest to hear. “There are particular moments in this film where I decided to use dialogue as a sound effect, so sometimes it’s mixed slightly underneath the other sound effects or in the other sound effects to emphasize how loud the surrounding noise is,” he said.
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