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Box office update: 'Captain America' supersizes Friday's box office with $37 million

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is proving that a big shield is enough to conquer the box office, pulling in an estimated $37 million Friday night. The PG-13 film from Joe and Anthony Russo is already outpacing 2011’s original Captain America, which earned $25.7 million its first full day in release. The movie has also already nabbed $75 million from its international release and could get close to $100 million here in North America. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Noah' floats with $15.2 million on Friday

Darren Aronofsky’s diluvian epic Noah attracted something between a trickle and a flood of moviegoers on Friday, earning the film $15.2 million in its first day of release. While Noah is an adaptation of the original disaster story, in which God plays Roland Emmerich and destroys pretty much everything in sight, the number puts Noah‘s draw closer to that of historical epics like star Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood than any of Emmerich’s big-budget catastrophe porn. It’s unclear whether the film managed to get Christian audiences (who made last week’s God’s Not Dead a sleeper hit) marching two-by-two into the cinemaplex or if news that Aronofsky was playing fast and loose with Old Testament mythology had kept them at bay.

Meanwhile, Divergent made $8.1 million on its second Friday, dropping a modest 64 percent. The hopeful YA franchise may not diverge too much in tone from its allegorical dystopian forebear The Hunger Games, but the numbers do: At this point, Divergent has made $76.9 million, whereas the first film adapted from Suzanne Collins’ trilogy had already taken in $208.6 million over nearly the exact same calendar days. Of course, $76.9 million in a week and a day is no small potatoes. It’s just not freakishly large genetically modified potatoes, either.

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Box office preview: Can 'Noah' build an opening of biblical proportions?

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After months of hand wringing and controversy, Darren Aronofsky’s CGI-happy Noah finally hits theaters this weekend.

Boasting an all-star cast, a patina of prestige and a wide release, there’s no doubt that the epic will open in first place. But coming on the heels of last weekend’s surprise success story God’s Not Dead, the Christian film that opened in fourth place at $9.2 million from just 780 screens, the question of the weekend is whether faith-based audiences will turn out to see just what Aronofsky has done with the story.

This weekend also provides a lot of interesting fodder to analyze, including Divergent‘s ability to hold its own after a robust, fan-driven opening weekend, whether or not The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s limited-release triumphs will translate into a mainstream hit, and how successful Pantelion’s grassroots Cesar Chavez marketing will be when it comes to getting audiences in the theaters.

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

Box office report: 'Divergent' heads straight for $56 million win; 'God's Not Dead' inspires $8.6 million

Divergent was dauntless at the box office this weekend, easily winning the top spot with an estimated $56 million. Meanwhile, the Muppets failed to take multiplexes in Muppets Most Wanted, earning $16.5 million, and the faith-based indie God’s Not Dead inspired an awesome $8.6 million from just 780 theaters.

Starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James as rebels in a dystopian future, the PG-13 action film Divergent aimed for the same moviegoers who gave The Hunger Games a surprise $152.5 million opening weekend in March, 2012. With a $56 million debut, Divergent didn’t reach those heights — and even fell slightly below the predictions of some analysts, who had pegged the movie for a $60 million-plus debut.

Like many buzzy films, it started strong out of the gate: A teen-targeted marketing blitz transformed the movie into an event for young fans, who turned out in droves for late-night Thursday screenings that grossed $4.9 million even before the official start of the weekend. Critical reaction has been lackluster, though the film earned a solid A CinemaScore and praise from EW’s Owen Gleiberman, who called it an “agreeably rousing, sensitive-teen-in-Amish-linen-finds-her-inner-tattooed-jock-to-fight-the-power formula dystopian thriller.” Regardless, a sequel, Insurgent, has already been greenlit by Lionsgate for release on  March 20, 2015. The trilogy’s finale, Allegiant, is scheduled for March 18, 2016, showing Hollywood’s continued faith in spring as a box-office launchpad after the success of recent March hits like The Hunger Games ($408 million total) and Oz the Great and Powerful ($234 million). (However, after the first Hunger Games installment’s release, Lionsgate did bump the remainder of the trilogy into the more competitive Thanksgiving time frame.)

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Box office update: 'Divergent' earns $22.8 million on Friday

Divergent, the big-screen adaptation of Veronica Roth’s hit YA sci-fi book series, had no trouble setting itself apart at theaters on Friday, grossing an estimated $22.8 million. That’s the largest single-day haul at the box office since The LEGO Movie, which made $30.8 million on its first Saturday in February.  Divergent also collected $4.9 million at midnight shows on Thursday, bringing its total to $27.7 million before the weekend officially even begins. For comparison, The Hunger Games, the first chapter of the current gold-standard YA franchise, earned $67.3 million on its first Friday in March, 2012 on its way to a $152.5 million weekend. Divergent, which reportedly cost $85 million to produce, could reach as high as $60 million by the end of the weekend for a decisive win.

In second place, Muppets Most Wanted grossed $4.7 million on Friday. The caper comedy, starring Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, and Ricky Gervais alongside Jim Henson’s legendary puppets, marks the Muppets’ eighth big-screen adventure and their first since 2011’s reboot The Muppets. That version, scripted by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, earned $12.1 million on its first Friday and eventual achieved an $88.6 million cumulative gross. Muppets Most Wanted should perform well with families this weekend, and could take in more than $20 million by Sunday night.

In a surprise showing, the inspirational drama God’s Not Dead, distributed by Freestyle Releasing, came in third place with $2.8 million on Friday. The low-budget independent film, which tells the story of a college student who challenges a professor’s belief that God doesn’t exist, played in just 780 theaters, and could earn as much as $8 million in its first weekend.

In fourth place, the animated adventure Mr. Peabody and Sherman earned $2.7 million for a $72 million total gross after 15 days. And in fifth place, 300: Rise of an Empire conquered another $2.4 million on Friday, bringing its total $87 million. Expanding to 304 theaters, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel continued to ride a wave of critical acclaim to an estimated $1.8 million Friday take.

1. Divergent – $22.8 million
2. Muppets Most Wanted – $4.7 million
3. God’s Not Dead – $2.8 million
4. Mr. Peabody and Sherman – $2.7 million
5. 300: Rise of an Empire – $2.4 million

Box office report: '300: Rise of an Empire' conquers the weekend with $45 million; 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' sets record

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300: Rise of an Empire speared its competition and kept on raking in the dollars on its opening weekend.

Warner Bros. and Legendary’s hyper-stylized 3-D sequel earned an estimated $45 million from 3,470 theaters. Despite lackluster reviews, audiences turned out in droves to watch Eva Green’s Atremisia and the rest of the scantily clad warriors take to the sea for battle in the $108 million pic. Smart People director Noam Murro took the helm from Zack Snyder this time around — though Snyder produced and wrote the film. Audiences (62 percent male) slapped the epic with a B Cinema Score.

The lure of IMAX helped. The 342 IMAX screens brought in $6.8 million (or 15 percent) of the film’s weekend earnings, while 3-D showings accounted for 63 percent of the grosses. 300: Rise of an Empire is also performing quite well internationally with $87.8 million from 58 markets. Still, it doesn’t even come close to Zack Snyder’s $70 million March 2007 opening for 300. Nevertheless, the sequel should enjoy a healthy box office life.

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'Grand Budapest Hotel': Take a peek inside Wes Anderson's inn -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Grand-Budapest-Hotel-02When Wes Anderson thinks “hotel,” he doesn’t think bed bugs and low-pressure showers. He thinks luxury, in the way the best hotels used to be run.

“In those days, it was the hotel’s job to take care of all of your needs — before you even knew you needed them,” says Bob Balaban, one of the many familiar faces gracing Anderson’s latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

In the exclusive behind-the-scenes video below, see Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton, and many more Anderson first-timers and favorites talk about why they needed to inhabit this world: READ FULL STORY

Wes Anderson on 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' and the James Bond movie he wanted to make

Believe what you will, but Wes Anderson never sets out to make a Wes Anderson Movie. “Each time I start one of these things, I feel like I’m doing a completely different thing,” he told New York Times writer David Carr, during a TimesTalks panel discussion with his Grand Budapest Hotel star Ralph Fiennes. “We go to a different country. We have a whole different kind of story. I feel like everything I’m doing is different from what I’ve done before.”

Certainly, though, even fans of Anderson’s best work — from Rushmore to last year’s Moonrise Kingdom — will concede that the Texas-bred writer/director has a distinct visual aesthetic and storytelling sensibility. But he argued that The Grand Budapest Hotel, his new caper that stars Fiennes as the fastidious concierge of a central-European hotel in the 1930s, is something new. “It’s been rare for me over the years to have a movie that has a… um, plot,” he said to laughs from the audience. “Things happen.” READ FULL STORY

'Grand Budapest Hotel' trailer: More mustachioed shenanigans from Adrien Brody, Jude Law, and more -- VIDEO

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The first trailer for Wes Anderson’s upcoming snow-capped murder mystery flick The Grand Budapest Hotel introduced us to lobby-boy-in-training Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) and his doting affection for concierge-that-can-do-no-wrong Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), until, well, he’s accused of doing something very, very wrong — seducing and murdering a wealthy octogenarian guest (played by Tilda Swinton, in full painted lip and liver-spot glory).

In the second trailer, released Thursday, we get a closer look at the vast cast of characters (and their facial hair) that populate the hotel and surrounding fictional winter-wonder hinterland. The title cards roll on like a who’s-who of Anderson alums, ingenues, and esteemed character actors — including Edward Norton, Tom Wilkinson, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel, and more.

In Anderson’s tightly curated style, everything from typeface to hairstyle looms large, but he also breaks some new trailer ground by challenging whether there can ever be too many mustaches in a single less-than-two-minute trailer. The answer? Absolutely not. (I’m partial to Adrien Brody’s Salvador-Dalí-stache and Bill Murray’s maniacal-train-conductor fuzz).

Watch the second trailer below:
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Wes Anderson's 'Grand Budapest Hotel' to open Berlin Film Festival

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Wes Anderson’s new movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is to open the 2014 Berlin Film Festival.

Festival organizers said Tuesday the event kicks off on Feb. 6 with the world premiere of the movie, which stars Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Jude Law and Edward Norton. READ FULL STORY

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