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Casting Net: Stephan James, Anthony Mackie eye different Jesse Owens biopics, more

• Stephan James (The L.A. Complex) is in talks to star as famed Olympian Jesse Owens in Race. He’d be replacing John Boyega in the role, who had to drop out due to his Star Wars: Episode VII commitments. Stephen Hopkins is directing the biopic, which will follow Owens from his humble beginnings to the 1936 Berlin Olympics where he won four gold medals. Not quite yet a household name, James has a number of higher profile projects coming up, including the football pic When the Game Stands Tall and Ava DuVernay’s civil rights drama Selma. [The Wrap]

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Casting Net: Jason Statham joins Melissa McCarthy comedy; Plus, Josh Gad, Kevin James, more

• Jason Statham is set to team up with Melissa McCarthy in the secret agent comedy Susan Cooper. The action star, best known for roles in high-octane projects like The Transporter and Crank, had been circling the project for some time, but was reportedly weighing other options before committing. Paul Feig, who worked with McCarthy on Bridesmaids and The Heat, is set to direct the pic for 20th Century Fox. Statham will appear next in The Expendables 3 (out Aug. 15). He’s also reprising his role as Ian Shaw in Fast & Furious 7. [Variety] READ FULL STORY

'Grown Ups 2' trailer: This time with more nudity and hot cheerleaders -- VIDEO

The Grown Ups 2 trailer leaves us with many questions. Is this the most method Taylor Lautner has ever been? Why does Kevin James wear a towel over his shoulders when the rest of his body is supposed to be naked? Could we have gone our entire lives without hearing David Spade yelling ”I was inside you” to Kevin James?

One thing’s for certain, someone’s been reading our dream diaries with this whole The Lonely Island and Taran Killam washing-a-car-in-cheerleading-uniforms thing.

Watch the trailer below:

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Box office report: 'Taken 2' nabs No. 1 for second weekend, with 'Argo' a close second

It’s official: Neeson Season has stretched to October.

Liam Neeson’s Taken 2 kicked its way back into the top slot for a second weekend with an estimated $22.5 million, and Ben Affleck’s political thriller Argo and the Ethan Hawke horror flick Sinister were close second and third, respectively. The one-two-three punch helped boost the box office to a fabulous 47 percent gain over the same weekend in 2011, when Real Steel slugged its way to a second No. 1 finish.

While Taken 2 continues to outpace the 2009 original — after 10 days, it’s notched $86.8 million, in comparison to Taken‘s $53.6 million total in the same time frame — it still dropped a hefty 54.6 percent from its astounding $49.5 million opening weekend. At that rate, it’ll be tough (though not impossible) for the film to ultimately best Taken‘s $145 million domestic gross.  READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Sinister' takes down 'Taken 2'; Argo comes in third

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Halloween might still be a few weeks away, but it looks like audiences are already in the mood for horror.

Summit’s spooky flick, Sinister, topped the box office on Friday with an estimated $7.5 million, effectively knocking down last weekend’s top performer, Taken 2. The R-rated film, which stars Ethan Hawke, is expected to garner about $19 million this weekend.

Don’t count out Taken 2 just yet though. The Liam Neeson abduction sequel, which came in a close second on Friday with an estimated $7 million, will likely take back the top spot at the box office by the end of the weekend. The film is on track to earn close to $24 million.

Meanwhile, Affleck’s critically-acclaimed political thriller Argo debuted in third place with $5.9 million. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: Ben Affleck's 'Argo' will be taken by 'Taken 2'

It’s going to be a close race at this weekend’s box office. Audiences will certainly be going to see Argo, but Liam Neeson looks primed for another week of victory with Taken 2. At this rate, we’re going to see his long-lost son get kidnapped as well. Without further ado, I bring you this week’s box office predictions.

1. Taken 2 — $24 million

Liam Neeson will continue his box office reign for the second straight week. Poor reviews (it stands at 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) could be buoyed by positive word-of-mouth (it has a solid “B+” Cinemascore grade), leading to a likely drop of around 50 percent.  However, I don’t expect it to attain the momentum of the original Taken, which attracted a bevy of moviegoers that drove the film to a gross of $145 million. If Taken 2 is indeed crowned box office champ this week, it has its PG-13 rating to thank — most of the other major releases are weighed down by an R.

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'Here Comes the Boom' trailer: Kevin James gets in the ring

How do you fix America’s schools? In the new trailer for Here Comes the Boom, the answer is a few blows to the face.

Kevin James plays Scott Voss, a complacent high school biology teacher past his glory days. When the school cancels all extracurricular activities due to a budget deficit, Scott tries to raise thousands of dollars to save them by learning mixed martial arts and becoming a human punching bag.

Through cage matches, dislocated limbs, and a hard-to-get Salma Hayek, Scott also teaches his students a lesson about not being a quitter. Or at least how to make an awesome science class rocket experiment. Watch the trailer:

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