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Box office update: The Transformers defy extinction with a $41.6 million Friday

The Transformers might be fighting for their existence in Michael Bay’s fourth installment in the toy-to-movie series, but the film itself is not just surviving — it’s on track to become the highest opener of the year. Sorry, Cap.

Featuring a brand new cast, including Mark Wahlberg, T.J. Miller, Nicola Peltz, Kelsey Grammer, and Stanley Tucci, Transformers: Age of Extinction brought in an estimated $41.6 million from 4,233 locations, Friday. That includes Thursday night’s $8.75 million take from approximately 2,990 locations as well, which started showing Paramount’s nearly 3 hour spectacle at 9 p.m. After some Friday morning hand-wringing, it looks like the blockbuster is still on track for a $100 million + opening — which would be a career high for Wahlberg (whose highest opening to date is the 2001 Planet of the Apes). It also picked up $80 million from international showings, bringing its worldwide total to a staggering $121.6 million. READ FULL STORY

'Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby' trailer shows the many sides of James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain's rocky romance -- VIDEO

Love is complicated. There are different sides to every story, unexplainable whims, emotions, and a million tiny little decisions that can shove the trajectory of the relationship down nearly any path. We don’t need the movies to tell us that, but it never hurts to be reminded of the ineffable truth.

But there’s an inherent problem with tales of love and breakups: Who gets to be hero? Choosing a point of view is generally choosing the protagonist when it comes to documenting relationships on film, and how is that fair? Maybe Summer was a decent girl after all.

In The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, starring James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain as a couple in and out of love, writer-director Ned Benson tries to subvert that. Originally conceived as two films, subtitled Her and Him, which both premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and tells the same story from both sides of a relationship, Benson then combined his features into one film, Them, for the Cannes premiere.

Check out the first trailer for Them after the jump. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Kumail Nanjiani, Natasha Lyonne board Michael Showalter comedy; Plus, Nick Offerman, more

Silicon Valley‘s Kumail Nanjiani and Orange Is the New Black‘s Natasha Lyonne are set to join the ensemble cast of Michael Showalter‘s Hello, My Name is Doris. Kyle Mooney (Saturday Night Live) and Wendi McLendon-Covey (Bridesmaids) have also boarded the comedy, which stars Sally Field as a woman who, in the wake of her mother’s death, decides to pursue a co-worker (Max Greenfield) and discover the local hipster scene. [The Wrap] READ FULL STORY

Jason Bateman to star in and direct an untitled 'FBI wedding comedy'

For his directorial debut Bad Words, Jason Bateman took on the raunchy underbelly of spelling bee tournaments–or, at least posited a situation where a rule-bending, middle-aged grump forced participants to the lowest common denominator. Now, the Arrested Development star has set his sights on a new project: an untitled “FBI wedding comedy” for Universal Pictures. READ FULL STORY

Video: 'Third Person' director Paul Haggis reveals what he learned from Fellini and Antonioni

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Much like Crash, the latest film from Oscar winner Paul Haggis, Third Person, features a large cast of characters that all have something in common. Starring Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Maria Bello, Adrien Brody, Kim Basinger, and more, it tells the intertwined love stories of three couples in different parts of the world.

Where does Haggis’ own story begin? We sat him down for our new video series, Origin Stories, to find out when he first started telling tales, which filmmakers inspired him, and where the idea for Third Person came from.

READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton in talks for Coen brothers 'Hail, Caesar!'; Plus more

• Channing Tatum (22 Jump Street), and The Grand Budapest Hotel co-stars Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes are in talks to join Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Hail, Caesar! They’d star alongside Coen brothers regulars George Clooney and Josh Brolin in the 1950s-set comedy about a Hollywood fixer named Eddie Mannix. Swinton would portray a gossip columnist, Tatum is in negotiations to use his dancing skills as a “Gene Kelly-type star,” and Fiennes is considering the role of a studio director. [THR; Variety] READ FULL STORY

Top Sundance documentary 'Rich Hill' spotlights small-town poverty and adolescence

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Rich Hill, Missouri is not unlike other towns. In some ways, it’s an everytown—a microcosm of the many once-thriving areas that have become irreparably blighted in the last half century.

But for documentary filmmakers and first cousins Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo, Rich Hill happened to be where their grandparents lived and their parents grew up. Their collective ties to the area allowed them to use their documentary—named for the town—to tell a story that was unique and hyper-personal, and one that paints a portrait of adolescence in America’s forgotten towns.

READ FULL STORY

'The Wedding Ringer' trailer: Kevin Hart rounds up a sketchy wedding party for Josh Gad -- VIDEO

You’ve found the love of your life. She’s agreed to marry you. Now you just have to decide who’s going to be in your wedding party. That’s the easy part, right?

For Josh Gad’s Doug Harris, it’s not going well. So as a last-ditch effort, he enlists the services of Best Man Inc. As Kevin Hart’s Jimmy explains, he “provides Best Man services for guys who lack in such areas.” And, as Lt. Aldo Raine might say (albeit in a very different context), business is a-boomin. But things start to spiral out of control in The Wedding Ringer when Doug asks Jimmy to assemble seven groomsmen as well.

Check out the first trailer for the buddy-for-hire comedy after the jump. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Peter Fonda to play Nicolas Cage's father; Plus Ken Jeong, more

• Peter Fonda is set to play Nicolas Cage‘s father in The Runner, a political drama about a New Orleans congressman whose career is in turmoil following a sex scandal and the 2010 BP oil spill. Connie Nielsen (Gladiator) has also boarded the project as Cage’s character’s wife, while The Wire‘s Wendell Piece will play his chief of staff. Indie producer Austin Stark (Infinitely Polar Bear) wrote and will direct the pic. [THR] READ FULL STORY

'The Giver' actor Cameron Monaghan on Asher's expanded role, jamming with Jeff Bridges and Taylor Swift

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In Lois Lowry’s 1993 book The Giver, we meet Jonas’ best friend Asher. In their highly controlled world, his energy, tardiness, and carelessness with words often results in disciplinary measures. He’s important in illustrating the different ways the restrictive society affects various personalities, but he is very much a side character.

In the Phillip Noyce-directed adaptation of The Giver (out Aug. 15), however, besides being aged along with the other main characters, actor Cameron Monaghan says, his character “has definitely been expanded.” READ FULL STORY

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