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'Birdman' leads Independent Spirit Awards Nominations

Birdman scored six Independent Spirit Award nominations, the most of any film, when the nods were announced today, but for the most part the Spirit Awards spread the love around.

BoyhoodNightcrawler, and Selma each got five nominations, while Whiplash, a source of buzz since its debut at Sundance, received four. Though most of these films have Oscar hopes, the Spirit Awards have also honor films that haven’t made much headway in the awards conversation, despite critical praise. For instance, the John Lithgow-Alfred Molina film Love Is Strange was nominated for Best Feature, and received four other nominations, while A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, a film described as the “first Iranian Vampire Western, has three nominations to its name.

See the full list below.   READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Interstellar' and 'Big Hero 6' blast off

Christopher Nolan’s mysterious and cerebral blockbuster Interstellar and Big Hero 6, the latest film from Disney’s resurgent in-house animation studio, are in a tight race for the weekend box office crown. Friday’s estimates show Interstellar taking the early lead with $17 million, with Big Hero 6 close behind at $15.8 million. Interstellar got a two-day head start thanks to its arrangement for IMAX and 35mm screenings on Wednesday (which raise its total earnings to $19,151,000), but Big Hero 6 can be expected to benefit from big family business on Saturday, and it may well win the weekend.

Rounding out the top 5 and closely bunched in earnings on Friday were horror film Ouija; David Fincher’s Gone Girl; and Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler.

  1. Interstellar $17,000,000 ($19,151,000 domestic total)
  2. Big Hero 6 $15,830,000
  3. Ouija — $1,900,00 ($39,355,000 domestic total)
  4. Gone Girl — $1,860,00 ($141,188,000 domestic total)
  5. Nightcrawler — $1,695,000 ($15,940,000 domestic total

Check back tomorrow for final estimates for the three-day weekend.

Box office preview: 'Interstellar' and 'Big Hero 6' face off

Last weekend was a neck-and-neck battle at the box office between Nightcrawler and Ouija — Ouija won, but just barely—but this weekend is about to take that drama and multiply it by, oh, five or six: While Nightcrawler and Ouija each grossed in the $10 million range, this weekends openers are expected to gross at least $50 million each. The stakes are just a tad bit higher, to say the least.

That’s because this weekend’s huge openings are Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated Interstellar and Disney’s family-friendly Big Hero 6. Nolan’s films have a good history of strong opening weekends—2010’s Inception opened at #1 its first weekend with $62.8 million; 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises with $160.9 million—but they’ve also never had to compete with a Disney film that’s also debuting. And, as proven by the still-going hype over 2013’s Frozen, a Disney film isn’t weak competition. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Ouija' nabs No. 1 spot over 'Nightcrawler' (Updated)

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UPDATE: According to Sunday’s estimates, Nightcrawler was just barely in the lead with $10.91 million in weekend earnings to Ouija‘s $10.9 million. But now the actual numbers are in, and Ouija ended up grossing $10.7 million while Nightcrawler followed closely behind with $10.4 million, meaning Ouija was Halloween weekend’s box office winner.

ORIGINAL STORY: Halloween doesn’t always fall on a weekend, but when it does, it tends to hit the box office hard: People are too busy dressing up and taking their kids trick-or-treating to go to the movies. And while the weekend’s overall gross wasn’t too impressive—at $94.4 million, the box office hit its lowest since Sept. 12’s $91.1 million weekend—Ouija and Nightcrawler still managed to exceed expectations.

Nightcrawler, a thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal in a performance that many critics have deemed a career high for the actor, opened with $10.91 million. Made on a budget of $8.5 million by Open Road Films, $10.91 million is a win for Nightcrawler. “We are excited about it,” CMO of Open Road Films, Jason Cassidy, told EW. “It’s a great movie and it’s been so well reviewed. We think we’ll have a nice run on it.”
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Box office preview: Jake Gyllenhaal's 'Nightcrawler' creeps into theaters

Halloween weekend is almost here, meaning one of two things: Horror fans will either flock to theaters or be too busy showing off their costumes in places more well-lit than cinemas.

Although next weekend begins the season of big movie weekends—Christopher Nolan’s much-anticipated Interstellar goes wide Nov. 7—this weekend is considerably smaller: Nightcrawler, a crime thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, is the only huge new release. And it will be facing off against Ouija, another Halloween-appropriate thriller that opened last weekend and might be helped by audiences’ appetites for scares on Oct. 31.

Before I Go to Sleep, a thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, is opening in 1,900 theaters this weekend (Nightcrawler will be playing in over 2,700 places) and is estimated to have a $5 million opening. For those looking for some nostalgia, though, the original Saw is making a quick comeback to theaters for its 10-year anniversary and should make about $2.5 million—not exactly the same as its $18.3 million opening weekend in 2004, but a solid turnout for a re-release.

Here are this weekend’s predictions. READ FULL STORY

Jake Gyllenhaal hits the gas in NSFW 'Nightcrawler' trailer

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Comedies are typically the genre of movie that gets the most mileage out of red-band trailers, and the recent NSFW clip for Nightcrawler, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal as an overly ambitious crime videographer, plays up its humor and surrealism. There aren’t many punchlines, but the film’s cynical ink-black humor comes through loud and clear.

In the film, written and directed by Dan Gilroy, Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, who becomes the nightly news’ go-to guy for the bloodiest and most viral crime-scene footage. He and his semi-clueless partner (Riz Ahmed) cruise the streets just waiting for mayhem to erupt, and if they have to nudge things along, well, that’s the job.

To repeat, this is a red-band trailer—and even the cited film critics seem to be getting in the spirit. READ FULL STORY

Jake Gyllenhaal starved himself and shunned friends for 'Nightcrawler'

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Lonely, hungry, cranky, and freaky-thin. That was Jake Gyllenhaal during production on his nerve-rattling new drama, Nightcrawler, which hits theaters Oct. 31.

Portraying Lou Bloom—an unscrupulous paparazzo who trawls nocturnal Los Angeles in search of roadside carnage for the insatiable “If it bleeds, it leads” maw of local broadcast news—the actor decided to adopt the “hungry and searching” manner of a coyote. “I made a lot of choices physically,” he says.

That meant subsisting on kale salad and chewing gum for the role, shedding nearly 30 pounds from his already wiry frame and worrying his mom in the process. Moreover, the 33-year old actor put his social life on hold for the $7 million film’s month-long shoot. And—as detailed in a profile of him appearing in this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly—Gyllenhaal would run 15 miles nightly from his Hollywood Hills home to the Nightcrawler set, en route to some of the best reviews of his career. READ FULL STORY

Creepy Jake Gyllenhaal has a knack for news in 'Nightcrawler'

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There was a time when Jake Gyllenhaal seemed to be in the mix to play every square-jawed comic-book superhero. Nightcrawler is a character from Marvel’s X-Men universe, but Gyllenhaal’s Nightcrawler, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and opens in theaters on Oct. 31, continues the actor’s recent dalliance with the dark side.

Following in the wake of the murky End of Watch, Prisoners, and Enemy, Nightcrawler is the story of Lou Bloom, a low-level crook who stumbles upon a career perfectly suited to his nature: videotaping fresh crime scenes and selling the footage to the evening news. Before you can say “This Just In,” Lou is chasing the bloodiest news, a ghoulish shadow part Weegee and part Rupert Pupkin. Lou almost seems normal—until you look closely behind his oily and unblinking mask.

In this exclusive clip from the film, he gets some advice from Rene Russo’s news director, who says the perfect footage is “a screaming woman running down the street with her throat cut.” READ FULL STORY

Video: Jake Gyllenhaal seeks employment in 'Nightcrawler' promo

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Jake Gyllenhaal’s Louis Bloom is an ambitious young man looking for a job in a tough market. The main character of director Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut, Nightcrawler, Bloom will eventually fall into the world of freelance crime journalism in Los Angeles and get entangled in the city’s seedy underbelly. But while audiences wait to see that in the film (out Oct. 17), Bloom is still pounding the pavement, as it were.

In an unconventional promo for the pic, Bloom has even gone as far as putting out a Craigslist ad and a video resume to bolster his opportunities. Check out Gyllenhaal’s slightly unhinged hero nearly begging for a job, using all the clichés he can muster in the spot below.

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Casting Net: Jerry O'Connell joins 'Veronica Mars' movie; Plus, 'Gone Girl' still trying to find its girl, more

There’s a new Lamb brother in town. Jerry O’Connell (Burning Love) has joined the cast of the Veronica Mars movie as Dan Lamb, Sheriff Don’s (Michael Muhney) brother. In the Kickstarter update announcing the news, creator and director Rob Thomas traced his interest in O’Connell back to the movie Pirahna. “The performance in that movie that I couldn’t get over was Jerry O’Connell’s take on an amoral, coked up and soon-to-be penis-less smut peddler. I just kept wanting to get back to scenes of Jerry chewing scenery.” O’Connell even recorded a video for fans on the shoot. Welcome to Neptune, Sheriff Dan.
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