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Brad Pitt on the death of James Gandolfini: 'I am gutted by this loss'

James Gandolfini, who passed away yesterday in Rome from a suspected heart attack, was best known as Tony Soprano, the morally corrupt but emotionally vulnerable New Jersey mobster and family man who propelled HBO’s The Sopranos to artistic and popular excellence from 1999 to 2007. But before, during, and after his reign as TV’s most mesmerizing dramatic actor, Gandolfini appeared in several high-profile movies, opposite actors like John Travolta, Denzel Washington, Robert Redford, and Brad Pitt.

Pitt co-starred with Gandolfini three times, in 1993′s True Romance, 2001′s The Mexican and last year’s Killing Them Softly, in which both men played hit-men at various stages of their careers. “He’s the man,” Pitt said back in 2001, when he and Julia Roberts tangled with Gandolfini’s gay hit-man at the height of the actor’s Sopranos‘ popularity. “He’s one of those great actors who finds meaning in every line. I love watching him work.”

The World War Z star released a statement about his colleague:

“I admire Jimmy as a ferocious actor, a gentle soul and a genuinely funny man. I am fortunate to have sat across the table from him and am gutted by this loss. I wish his family strength and some semblance of peace.”

Gandolfini had been reluctant to play another mob character in Killing Them Softly, but he was finally won over by what the character symbolized. “I started thinking, maybe, I’ve done a bunch of these guys and this is kind of the final nail in the coffin,” Gandolfini told ABC News in November. “This is where you are at the end.”

Read More:
James Gandolfini’s posthumous finished films: ‘Enough Said’ and ‘Animal Rescue’ 
‘The Sopranos’ creator David Chase on the death of James Gandolfini
EW Tribute: James Gandolfini changed TV for the better

Box office report: Brad Pitt's 'Killing Them Softly' misfires with $7 million debut, 'F' CinemaScore

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The post-Thanksgiving frame has always been a slow one, and this year was no exception. Two new releases entered theaters — including the Brad Pitt vehicle Killing Them Softly — and both were met with unenthusiastic responses. Among holdovers, the Top 10 movies fell by an average of 51 percent. Basically, not too much happened at the box office this week. In fact, the top six movies finished in the exact same spots as last week.

Atop the chart was The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn – Part 2, which dropped 60 percent to $17.4 million, lifting its total to $254.6 million after three weekends. The $120 million Summit sequel is holding substantially better than its predecessor, Breaking Dawn – Part 1, which had earned $246.9 million at the same point in its run before finishing with $281.3 million domestically. Internationally, the franchise finale is getting a gigantic boost. The film earned an additional $48.4 million this weekend, bringing its overseas gross to $447.8 million and its worldwide total to $702.4 million. It’s headed to a franchise-high finish around $800 million. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Breaking Dawn' leads Friday with $5.6M, 'Killing Them Softly' slapped with $2.5M and 'F' CinemaScore

Call it a turkey hangover. Friday grosses are (mostly) in, and, as expected, the box office is way down from the lucrative Thanksgiving frame.

The top of the chart looks just the same as it did last week. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 stayed in first place with $5.6 million, putting it on pace for a third weekend of $17 million, which would bring its total to $254 million. Skyfall and Lincoln were close behind, grossing $4.9 million and $4.0 million, respectively. Skyfall may walk away with about $16 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period, while Lincoln should earn about $14 million.

Life of Pi and Rise of the Guardians swapped the rankings they earned in their debuts last weekend — but they’ll likely switch again by the frame’s end. Life of Pi scored $3.3 million on Friday, and it may sail to $12 million by Sunday. Rise of the Guardians earned a bit less with $3.0 million, but thanks to strong family showings, the DreamWorks animation should reach about $13 million, which will bring its total to a discouraging $48 million.

1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 – $5.6 million
2. Skyfall – $4.9 million
3. Lincoln – $4.0 million
4. Life of Pi – $3.3 million
5. Rise of the Guardians – $3.0 million

The Weinstein Co.’s Brad Pitt vehicle Killing Them Softly disappointed with just $2.5 million on its first day. The Andrew Dominik-directed crime drama will have to settle for about $7 million. Even more distressing is how poorly Killing is playing with moviegoers. The feature, which critics overwhelmingly like, earned an “F” CinemaScore — the same grade that audiences gave reviled found-footage entry The Devil Inside earlier this year.

Check back tomorrow for the full box office report, and follow me on Twitter for more box office musing.

Box office preview: With 'Killing' set to open 'Softly,' 'Twilight' and 'Skyfall' aim for No. 1

This weekend, The Weinstein Co. is releasing Killing Them Softly, the Andrew Dominik-directed crime drama starring Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini into 2,424 theaters. But the well-reviewed art piece will likely have trouble breaking out — especially in a crowded field full of holdovers that are still raking in big bucks since last weekend’s record-breaking Thanksgiving frame. Also entering theaters is the little-known horror film The Collection, which is hitting 1,403 locations.

Neither film poses a legitimate threat to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Skyfall, or Lincoln, all three of which will duke it out for the top spot.

Here’s how I think the box office may shake out over the Friday-to-Sunday period: READ FULL STORY

Brad Pitt crime drama 'Killing Them Softly' moves to November

If you’re keen on seeing Brad Pitt step into the dark side as a lethal mob enforcer in Killing Them Softly — and, really, who doesn’t want to see Pitt get a little dirty? — you’ll have to wait a bit longer.

EW has confirmed that the Weinstein Company has pushed the crime drama, which reunites Pitt with director Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), from its Oct. 19 release date to Nov. 30. (Deadline first broke the story.) The move pits the film against The Frozen Ground, a true crime thriller starring Nicolas Cage and John Cusack (instead of Alex Cross and Paranormal Activity 4, which open Oct. 19), and also places Pitt more firmly in the thick of the Oscar season. It’s also a bit of a risk; typically, the weekend after Thanksgiving faces a roughly 50 percent drop off in box office receipts.

Read more:
‘Killing Them Softly’ trailer: Brad Pitt hunts two lowlifes to the tune of Johnny Cash
Cannes: Brad Pitt is menacingly good in the scuzzy, snazzy underworld movie ‘Killing Them Softly’

'Killing Them Softly' trailer: Brad Pitt hunts two lowlifes to the tune of Johnny Cash

The first trailer for the Brad Pitt underworld thriller Killing Them Softly is light on plot, and heavy on moody atmospherics, from the smoke slowly wafting from Pitt’s goatee-ringed mouth to the killer use of Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around.” The film won raves when it premiered at Cannes for Pitt’s performance as a mob enforcer tasked with tracking down two lowlifes who robbed a mobbed up poker game. Check out the trailer below: READ FULL STORY

Cannes: Brad Pitt is menacingly good in the scuzzy, snazzy underworld movie 'Killing Them Softly'

I wasn’t nearly as wild as a lot of critics about The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford — I thought it was too long, too arty and slow, too in love with its moods and images. Yet it was clear that the director, the New Zealand-born Australian Andrew Dominik, was very gifted. Whenever Brad Pitt appeared as Jesse James, the screen vibrated with menace, even though Pitt seemed to be doing almost nothing. As good as he had been before (in, say, Fight Club), I thought that the Jesse James performance was the place where Pitt took the full leap to who he is today — a top-of-his-game Hollywood actor who infuses star aura with complexity. In Killing Them Softly, Dominik’s first feature since The Assassination of Jesse James, Pitt once again plays a quietly powerful sociopath, and once again the screen vibrates. The thing about Pitt’s charismatic badasses — and this is what a lot of haters still miss about him as an actor — is that although they radiate a certain brawny physical fearlessness, they draw their strength from Pitt’s intelligence, his quicksilver-cool line readings and aura of awareness. READ FULL STORY

Cannes 2012 preview: Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, and Kristen Stewart bring Hollywood glitz to the French Riviera -- VIDEO

Since its inception in 1947, the Cannes Film Festival has been the ne plus ultra of international cinema, but rarely has the festival featured quite so many American filmmakers and Hollywood movie stars. The 2012 Cannes festival gets underway on Wednesday with the opening film, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, and over the course of the subsequent 11 days, the festival will premiere films starring (deep breath) Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Kristen Stewart, Zac Efron, Shia LaBeouf, Robert Pattinson, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Hardy, Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, and Matthew McConaughey (in two movies!), with filmmakers like Anderson, Lee Daniels, and John Hillcoat screening their films in competition for the first time. Meanwhile, DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and the HBO TV movie Hemingway & Gellhorn are both premiering out of competition.

EW’s Owen Gleiberman will be detailing all his thoughts on the great and not so great at Cannes, but here’s a quick primer on what’s likely to light up the famed Croisette, in chronological order of their big premieres inside the cavernous Grand Théâtre Lumière.  READ FULL STORY

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