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The EW Popularity Index: Which 2012 movies had legs at the box office?

There’s no arguing who won the 2012 box-office: The Avengers smashed the competition, making $623.4 million. The Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games, Skyfall, and Breaking Dawn Part 2 also recorded blockbuster grosses, and the executives responsible for these hits can pat themselves on the backs for delivering the goods, which in these cases did not come cheap. The top 10 movies on last year’s box-office list cost, on average, more than $175 million each to produce — and that’s before a dime was spent on the marketing of a film and all the other fine-print considerations that eat into the profits.

But there’s more than one way to judge a film’s success, and while every producer might prefer to be in The Avengers‘ position, other, more modest films can claim victory as well. Back in 2005, EW devised a Popularity Index, which measured a film’s staying power in theaters; we’ve tweaked it only slightly this year to recognize the increasing number of platform releases. To get the index, we simply divided a movie’s total domestic gross by its biggest weekend tally – normally its opening frame, but not always.

The result is 10 movies that didn’t have record-breaking opening weekends, but they had legs. Many of them started slowly and gained steam as awards season heated up. Others were initially seen as disappointments, but then they just refused to go away, playing week after week to decent crowds. Most all of them had that rumored-to-be-extinct Hollywood creature: The Movie Star. Beancounters might prefer to be on that other box-office list, but the Popularity Index captures elements of quality that studios shouldn’t overlook.

Click below for the 2012 Popularity Index Top 10. READ FULL STORY

'This Is 40' deleted scene reveals Billie Joe Armstrong's next solo project -- VIDEO

The best way to make people forget about your recent breakdown? Film a funny cameo in Judd Apatow’s new movie. Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong did just that, appearing briefly in This Is 40 — but his best scene apparently ended up on the cutting room floor.

In this deleted bit from the movie, Armstrong tells record label owner Pete (Paul Rudd) all about a new project on which he’d like to embark: “Have you heard of Norwegian death metal? I thought of taking that and mixing it with, like, Belle and Sebastian. It’s sort of music you can cry to but also maybe burn a church down at the same time.” And from there, things just get weirder. Check it out below — and be thankful that we never actually hear the “music” Armstrong is describing:

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Box Office Report: 'The Hobbit' holds number one spot, 'Jack Reacher' and 'This is 40' disappoint

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It was a fairly slow weekend at the box office.

Despite a record-breaking opening, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey experienced a significant 57% drop off in its second week, bringing in an estimated $36.7 million, with an $8,952 per screen average. This brings The Hobbit’s ten-day gross to $149.9 million, tracking about 8% behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’s ten-day gross.

Paramount’s Jack Reacher (Cinema Score: A-) opened this past weekend in second place with a modest $15.6 million. Based on the popular Lee Child-created character, the Tom Cruise action flick has been somewhat of a box office wild card and will have to struggle to maintain momentum to make up the costs for the $60 million production. The weekend prior to the Christmas holiday isn’t usually the strongest at the box office, but last year Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol opened wide on December 21 at $29.6 million. As many have already mentioned, Jack Reacher fans are perhaps put off by the casting, since the character is supposed to be physically imposing at 6’5″.

Judd Apatow’s comedy This is 40 (Cinema Score: B-) also opened this weekend at $12 million to take third place. Though not abysmal, it doesn’t hold a candle to the $22.7 million, number one opening for Funny People, Apatow’s last directorial effort. But of course, Funny People starred Adam Sandler, which likely contributed to the strong opening. A sort of-sequel to Knocked Up (which opened at $30.7 million), This is 40 stars Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, and Albert Brooks, and boasts an impressively large cast including John Lithgow, Jason Segel, Chris O’Dowd, Megan Fox, Michael Ian Black, and Lena Dunham. But the 134-minute run time and Paul Rudd’s relatively low box office draw may have contributed to the low first weekend earnings.

Things did not fare as well for other weekend openings, including the Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogen road trip comedy The Guilt Trip (Cinema Score: B-) and Monsters, Inc. 3D, both of which failed to break the top five, bringing in $5.4 million and $5 million, respectively.

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Box office update: 'The Hobbit' plummets to $10.2M on Friday, but easily leads 'Jack Reacher' and 'This is 40'

Sure, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey set a December record last weekend when it opened with $84.5 million, but after eight days in theaters, it’s now clear that the Lord of the Rings prequel is running well behind the final LOTR film, The Return of the King, which earned $377.8 in 2003 — without 3D and IMAX surcharges.

The Hobbit dropped by a huge 73 percent from its first Friday to $10.2 million yesterday, which puts it on pace for a $33 million weekend. That would give The Hobbit a running total of about $147 million by Sunday, its tenth day of release. The Return of the King had earned $190.8 million after 10 days in theaters, and it was only about halfway to its final total, but The Hobbit is falling much faster, and it will need to hold up remarkably well over the holiday to have a shot at $300 million domestically. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Jack Reacher' leads new releases, but can't compete with 'The Hobbit'

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Whether or not the world ends tomorrow, things are looking pretty dire for the four new wide releases entering theaters this weekend: Jack Reacher, This is 40, The Guilt Trip, and Monsters Inc. 3D. Of course, December movies need not earn gargantuan grosses on their debut weekends to eventually end up with respectable totals. In 2010, Yogi Bear opened with a weak $16.4 million, but thanks to easy accessibility over the holiday season, when kids are out of school and adults off of work, the film eventually topped out at $100.2 million.

Studios will be hoping for similar endurance from this week’s crop of newcomers — none of them are tracking particularly well, and all of them will likely be crushed by the second weekend of The Hobbit. Here’s how I think the box office might shake out over the Friday-to-Sunday period:

1. The Hobbit – $37 million

The Warner Bros. release has earned $106.5 million in its first six days (for reference, The Return of the King had earned $137.6 million in the same period of time), and it will likely drop by about 55 percent this weekend to $37 million, which would lift its total to about $150 million after ten days. READ FULL STORY

Behind the scenes of Judd Apatow's 'This is 40' with Megan Fox -- EXCLUSIVE NSFW VIDEO

Did we get your attention with Megan Fox and NSFW in the headline? Good. Now here’s a behind-the-scenes video from the set of Judd Apatow’s upcoming comedy This Is 40, which hits theaters Dec. 21, highlighting the assets — comedic and, um, otherwise — that Fox brings to her supporting role as Desi, a highly sexualized clerk in a clothing boutique.

As you might imagine given the rest of the Apatovian oeuvre, the movie — a semi-sequel to Apatow’s 2007 hit Knocked Up, chronicling one emotionally tumultuous week in the lives of married-with-kids couple Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) — has a healthy heaping of raunchy humor, so… well, if you were planning to watch this video with, say, your grandma, you might want to pump the brakes.

Check out the full video below: READ FULL STORY

Universal posts entire 'This Is 40' screenplay on its 'For Your Consideration' site

Want a sneak peek at This Is 40, Judd Apatow’s upcoming semi-sequel to Knocked Up? You could watch the film’s nearly three-minute-long trailer… or you could just go to Universal’s special awards season website, which is currently hosting a PDF of the movie’s full screenplay. The page also has subsections devoted to Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Snow White and the Huntsman, Ted, and Les Miserables. Every one of them includes a screenplay, except for Les Mis.

That makes sense; while the first three films have already been released, Tom Hooper’s musical won’t hit theaters until Christmas Day. But This Is 40 also isn’t getting released until December — making the studio’s decision to post its screenplay seem curious, at the very least. Then again, it’s likely that the film’s actual dialogue varies greatly from what’s on the page; Apatow is known for encouraging his actors to improvise.

In any case: The curious and impatient can find a PDF of the script here. It is, of course, NSFW, although there are no images to go with its descriptions of Viagra-fueled sex and gynecological visits.

Read  more:
Q & A: Judd Apatow
Movie Preview: ‘This Is 40′
Amy Poehler and Will Arnett split: Who is Hollywood’s next funniest couple?

'Breaking Dawn -- Part 2' chosen as most anticipated fall movie by Fandango users

Image credit: Doane Gregory

It looks like Kristen Stewart’s extracurricular activities and Robert Pattinson’s string of talk show appearances have increased fans’ appetite for Twilight. Voters chose Breaking Dawn — Part 2 as this season’s most anticipated movie on Fandango’s annual fall film survey. And a whopping 51 percent of voters also dubbed the flick as the best date night movie.

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'This is 40' trailer: Paul Rudd loves cupcakes, Leslie Mann wants Megan Fox's bazooms

“This is not just their story,” says the tagline in the new trailer for This is 40, Judd Apatow’s slice-of-life comedy about Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s characters from Knocked Up. “This is everyone’s story.” Well, okay, granted, not everyone works in the music industry and lives in a fabulous Los Angeles home. And not everyone’s newly teenage daughter is culturally astute enough to call a gawky teenage boy “Tom Petty…in a negative way.”

But there is a charming familiarity to the trials and tribulations of these two people. I want to spend more time watching them adorably stumble through life whilst wolfing down Sprinkles cupcakes and/or coveting Megan Fox’s youthful bosom. Check out the trailer below, and decide if you feel the same way:  READ FULL STORY

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