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'Rise of the Planet of the Apes,' 'Super 8,' 'Breaking Bad,' and 'Fringe' win big at the Saturn Awards

Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Super 8, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 may have been skunked when it came time to hand out Academy Awards, but they cleaned up but good at the Saturn Awards, which honor the best in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. At a ceremony Thursday night in Burbank, Calif., Rise of the Planet of the Apes won Best Science Fiction Film, as well as Best Supporting Actor (for Andy Serkis’ motion capture performance as the sentient ape Caesar), and Best Visual Effects. Super 8‘s director (J.J. Abrams), composer (Michael Giacchino), and young star (Joel Courtney) all earned Saturn trophies. And the final Harry Potter film took home the Best Fantasy Film Award.

In the television category, Fringe won best network TV show, Breaking Bad best syndicated or cable TV show, and The Walking Dead best TV presentation (a category for anything lasting 10 episodes or less). Director and actor Frank Oz, and actor James Remar both won Life Career Awards; writer-director Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) won the Filmmakers Showcase Award; and The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman won the first ever Innovator Award. (Check out a full list of the awards at the end of this story.) READ FULL STORY

Best of 2011: Top movie box office and DVD sales

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This year was all about a boy wizard, a Bumblebee, and a sparklevamp. Joining Harry, Sam, and Edward in 2011’s box office toppers were two groups of wedding-oriented train wrecks, several superheroes, and a bunch of upstart Southern domestics. Over in DVDs, a couple instances of horse power and some evil geniuses joined the fray. So which films topped the box-0ffice? Click through to see 2011’s most popular movies. READ FULL STORY

J.J. Abrams talks Blu-ray-bound 'Super 8,' Amblin movies, and why he's so secretive

Super 8 was J. J. Abrams’ mash note to the early work of Steven Spielberg, and, on that front, it hits all the right notes: Aliens, child-like wonder, the small-town experience, directorial economy, ominous caravans of military vehicles, etc., etc. But Abrams also managed to make the movie his own, and, in anticipation of Tuesday’s release of the movie on DVD and Blu-ray, we asked the director about the difficulties in reconciling the two styles, as well as his uncanny knack for keeping a lid on spoilers.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Looking back, what was it like working on Super 8 with Spielberg?
J.J. ABRAMS: To work with Steven, which was something I always wanted to do, and have it be as educational and rewarding and fun as it was, I feel like I just dodged the biggest bullet in my life. Working with your hero, if it ends badly, it’s a scar for life. So the fact that it ended well was a real relief. READ FULL STORY

'Super 8' casting associate revealed as registered sex offender

A casting assistant who helped choose child actors for some kid-friendly movies is a convicted child molester, according to a newspaper report. Jason James Murphy, 35, has worked with children in Hollywood for a decade by using the name Jason James, according to the Los Angeles Times. California law prohibits offenders like Murphy from working alone with minor children. The Times said police were looking into whether Murphy is in compliance with state requirements for sex offenders. In his credits, which include the films Bad News Bears and Super 8, Murphy is listed as a casting director or a casting associate.

Murphy served five years in prison for the 1996 crime of kidnapping and molesting an 8-year-old boy in suburban Seattle and underwent sex-offender counseling. Murphy was already out on bail and awaiting arraignment on charges of molesting the boy when, as a 19-year-old, he dressed up as a woman to abduct the little boy from his elementary school and flew with him to New York City. Three days later, America’s Most Wanted broadcast a segment on the kidnapping. A New York hotel clerk reported Murphy and the boy as guests, leading to his arrest. READ FULL STORY

'Super 8' bonus scene: More fawning over Fanning

In an opening weekend PopWatch poll, 31 percent of readers said Joe (Joel Courtney) was their favorite kid in Super 8 (Ryan Lee’s Cary came in second with 26 percent of the vote, and Elle Fanning’s Alice was third with 23 percent.) Prepare to like him even more after watching the deleted scene below. Joe, Cary, and Charles head into the 7-Eleven, where Joe tries to figure out why Alice has agreed to help them with their movie. I love that he asks what book she was reading when Charles spoke to her — it’s something a geek of any age would want to know about the person they’re crushing on. I also appreciate that this clip shows the hard work that went into stocking those 1979 shelves. READ FULL STORY

'Super 8' and the box office: Do YOU think it 'surpassed expectations?' If so, what does that say about what we expect?

If you’re an entertainment junkie, the fascination of the weekend box-office report is that all those cold, hard numbers represent an objective index — the most honest one we have — of the interface between the movie industry and the public. How well a movie is doing really means two things at once: how profitable it is for the studio that made it; and how popular it is with the people. Those two things tend to go together, and should. But in the nearly 30 years that following the box office has gone from being a weekly inside-baseball game to a media-driven spectator sport, other elements besides numbers have entered the equation. There is studio spin. There is the awareness — at times, the over-awareness — that every movie, based on budget and marketing, writes its own rules. Then, of course, there’s that deeply elusive concept that exists at the opposite end of the spectrum from raw numerical data. It’s called expectations. READ FULL STORY

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