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Box office preview: It's Liam Neeson vs. Jesus as 'Non-Stop' debuts against 'Son of God'

This weekend is a box office wild card.

Liam Neeson is an earnings force unto himself, and his latest turn as an air marshal on a hijacked transatlantic flight in Non-Stop should evict The Lego Movie from its three-weekend stronghold on the No. 1 spot. But the big, looming unknown is Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s Son of God. Its weekend prospects have analysts stumped, with estimates ranging anywhere from $12 million to $30 million. And even the high end of that could be wildly off.

With that said, here’s how things might play out. And, to change things up a bit, if you’re so inclined, sound off in the comments with your own top five and estimates for each. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Lego' three-peats at No. 1 with $31.5 million, '3 Days to Kill' takes second, 'Pompeii' fizzles

Ancient volcanoes and box-office vets proved no match for The Lego Movie, even after three weekends in theaters. Warner Bros.’ 3-D extravaganza earned an estimated $31.45 million and beat its new competition by more than double. Lego’s domestic total is now $183.2 million — surpassing The Lorax’s 17-day total by about $25 million. Despite adding 115 screens, Lego dropped about 37% from last weekend.

The Kevin Costner-led action pic 3 Days to Kill  came in a distant second with an estimated $12.3 million from 2,872 theaters. That gives the PG-13, McG-directed Relativity thriller a respectable $4,238 per screen average. Exit polls show an eerily perfect audience gender division (50/50), but as far as age goes, 80% were over the age of 25, which suggests that Costner was the main draw for theater-goers. The $28 million film, which also stars Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, and Connie Nielsen, follows an international spy trying to complete one last, dangerous mission while also caring for his teenage daughter (Steinfeld). Relativity says: “We are pleased with 3 Days to Kill’s solid opening, which was right in line with our expectations for this lower budget action-thriller.”

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Box office update: 'Lego' stacks up $7.34 million Friday; 'Pompeii' falls with $3.4 million debut

While The Lego Movie continues to play in the No. 1 spot — and sets a release date for its sequel (May 26, 2017, for the long-range planners among us) — the weekend’s new releases eked out expectedly mild Friday debuts.

The tiny building blocks enjoyed a $7.3 million Friday, bringing their domestic total to $159 million and worldwide earnings to $215 million. This weekend should net out in the mid-$30 million range.

Kevin Costner’s 3 Days to Kill — the McG-directed spy thriller about a CIA agent one job away from retirement — snagged the second-place spot, opening to an estimated $4.01 million. Relativity’s modestly budgeted action pic (in the $28 million range) opened in 2,872 theaters and will likely bring in around $12 million when the weekend closes. Reviews haven’t been great, but perhaps audiences are interested in seeing a Costner comeback. Even though EW’s Owen Gleiberman gave the film a C-, he writes: “Costner, grizzled and downbeat, escapes with his gruff charisma intact.”

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Critical mass: 'Pompeii' doesn't exactly blow the critics away

The thing I find most surprising about Pompeii is that there aren’t two rival Pompeii movies. The Paul W.S. Anderson movie has the look and feel of Deep Impact/Armageddon and Volcano/Dante’s Peak (though, believe it or not, Roman Polanski was once attached to direct).

Alas, Pompeii has the field to itself, a big-budget 3-D disaster epic that lands smack in the box-office dead zone of February. It’s just crazy enough to work!

Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harington plays Milo, a Roman slave-turned-gladiator who catches the eye of an upper-class beauty (Emily Browning) who in turn is promised to the corrupt Roman politician (Kiefer Sutherland) who butchered his family. Conflict! Harrington sculpted his body to look the part of a gladiator, but EW’s Owen Gleiberman thinks Russell Crowe’s Maximus from Gladiator isn’t in danger of being surpassed anytime soon, writing, “Harington knows how to handle a broadsword, but mostly he comes off as the British Taylor Kitsch, a glorified fashion model striking Blue Steel poses that smolder, boringly.”

There also happens to be the looming destruction bubbling up from Mount Vesuvius, the Italian volcano that annihilated Pompeii in 79 A.D. The critics are mixed on whether the volcano is the film’s villain or hero. Click below to see what they’re saying about Pompeii before heading to the theaters this weekend. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: Jon Snow and Kevin Costner step up to battle, but 'Lego' will triumph again

Two very different action pics blast into theaters this weekend: the period epic Pompeii and the tick-tock spy thriller 3 Days to Kill. Despite boasting directors who have proven themselves somewhat reliable box office quantities — Resident Evil‘s Paul W.S. Anderson and Charlie’s Angels‘ McG — neither will hold a candle to The Lego Movie, which will enjoy a third weekend at the top of the charts.

Tiny animated toys aren’t the only obstacle for the action pics. The new contenders also have to compete with the still-formidable competition of About Last Night and Monuments Men. This weekend’s wild card is RoboCop. After a modest domestic debut, and a generally positive audience response (B+ CinemaScore), it now has to face two brand-new movies vying for the same action-hungry audience.

Here’s how things might play out. READ FULL STORY

'Pompeii' trailer: Kit Harington battles Mount Vesuvius, saves the girl

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A gladiator’s life is hard enough without having to deal with a devastating volcano eruption threatening to obliterate your city and kill the out-of-your-league girl you’ve fallen for.

Alas, that’s what Milo (Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington) is up against in Resident Evil director Paul W.S. Anderson’s Mount Vesuvius pic Pompeii. Check out the first official trailer for the 3-D epic after the jump to see a city crumble, Sucker Punch’s Emily Browning pout, and a minimally clothed Harington leap over a pile of burning wreckage on a white horse.

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'Pompeii' trailer: In which shirtless Jon Snow fights a volcano or something -- VIDEO

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Pompeii stars Kit Harington — best known for his role as eskimo warrior-monk Jon Snow on Game of Thrones — as an ancient roman gladiator who finds himself in the city of Pompeii right as that pesky ol’ Mount Vesuvius suddenly decides to explode. The teaser for the movie promptly features lots of exploding magma, not to mention the metaphorical exploding magma that is Kit Harington’s rippled gladiator abs. Emily Browning is there, too! Watch the trailer:
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Kit Harington bares most in 'Pompeii': Exclusive First Look

Hey Jon Snow, what’d you do with all your clothes?

Game of Thrones star Kit Harington has talked publicly about the physical transformation he undertook to play Milo, a slave turned gladiator, but little did we know he’d be so … exposed. We’re worlds away from The Wall.

As captivating as Harington’s physique might be, it’s hard to discern what exactly is going on in this exclusive first look at Resident Evil director Paul W.S. Anderson’s Mount Vesuvius pic Pompeii. Are those ashes? Where is he going? Is he coolly walking away from an erupting volcano? Did he forget his shirt? Thankfully, Harington took a few minutes to shed some light on why Milo is looking so surly and bare in this photo.
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Casting Net: Cameron Diaz might re-team with Jason Segel for 'Sex Tape'; Plus, Jason Sudekis, more

• Cameron Diaz is in early talks to reunite with her Bad Teacher team, including co-star Jason Segel and director Jake Kasdan (New Girl, Orange County) for the Sony Pictures comedy Sex Tape. The story is about a married couple who makes a sex tape that goes missing by the morning. The Back-Up Plan scribe Kate Angelo wrote the script. [The Wrap]

• Will Smith is making moves. First news broke that he was in final talks to star in Focus from the directors of Crazy Stupid Love, then After Earth got an earlier release date, and now he may be ready to line up a few more projects. Deadline reports that Smith is hoping that Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond) might direct him in American Can, the true story of a Gulf War veteran who ends up helping a group of seniors stranded in New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He’s also considering the thriller The Accountant about a government bureaucrat who doubles as an assassin. [Deadline]

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Casting Net: Anne Hathaway may re-team with Christopher Nolan; Plus, Jim Carrey, 'Kung Fu Panda 3,' more

• Anne Hathaway has her Academy Award. The Hathahaters have moved on. She’s already lined up a Lynn Shelton indie. What’s her next move? A Christopher Nolan blockbuster “interstellar voyage to the furthest reaches of our scientific understanding” of course! The Les Miserables actress is in final talks to reunite with her Dark Knight Rises director for his highly anticipated and annoyingly secretive film Interstellar, based on the theories of theoretical physicist (and time travel enthusiast) Kip Thorne. Matthew McConaughey has signed on to play the male lead in the film, which has already set a November 7, 2014 release date. Despite Hathaway’s diverse resume of musicals, rom-coms, rom-drams, teen flicks, and comics, she hasn’t tackled the sci-fi world yet, making the possibility even more exciting. [Deadline]

Jim Carrey has decided to join the comedy Ricky Stanicky, after a reported year of negotiations. The title refers to the name of an invented scapegoat for a group of troublemaking friends. What started out as a teenage joke continues into adulthood, though, until their significant others insist on meeting him. Instead of coming clean, they hire someone to be Stanicky. Carrey’s Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls director Steve Oedekerk will helm the Summit Entertainment feature. According to the report, James Franco was originally attached to star, and Joaquin Phoenix was in consideration as well. [THR]

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