Shawn Levy and the Cast of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM SECRET OF THE TOMB: Who Can Do the Best Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller Impression?

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Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Octavius (Steve Coogan), Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Attila The Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck) and the rest of the Museum of Natural History exhibits are back for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, but the magical tablet that brings them to life at night is losing its powers.  Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) doesn’t know how to restore it, but he thinks his father might.  The problem is, his father is on display at London’s British Museum so Larry’s (Ben Stiller) got no choice, but to cross the Atlantic to save his friends.

With the new installment hitting theaters this weekend, I got the opportunity to meet my favorite actor from the Night at the Museum films, Crystal the Monkey who plays Dexter.  After that, I decided it’d be cool to make some time to talk to director Shawn Levy, Wilson, Stiller and franchise newcomers Rebel Wilson and Dan Stevens about their experience making the film.  But really, the group was great.  They shared some impressions of each other, taught me a thing or two about being the size of Owen Wilson’s character and more.  Hit the jump to check it all out.

Friday Box Office: THE HOBBIT 3 Stays on Top; NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 3 and ANNIE Battle for Second

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On a week that focused more on the film audiences won’t be able to see this Christmas rather than the handful that they will, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies remained the clear box office leader.  After posting a strong debut of $24.4 million on Wednesday, The Hobbit 3 added another $9.9 million on Thursday (down almost 60%), for a two-day total of $34.4 million.  That’s a bit under projections but, even so, with an estimated $16.5 million from 3,875 locations yesterday, director Peter Jackson’s final trip to Middle Earth had no trouble staying ahead of two new family-themed holiday releases.  Fox’s Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb came in second on Friday with a reported $5.6 million from 3,785 locations – just ahead of Sony’s remake of Annie.  Despite being part of the now-infamous studio hack that claimed the box office life of Sony’s The Interview, Annie over-performed yesterday with an estimated $5.3 million from 3,116 locations.

Full story and Friday’s top five after the jump.

Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne and Quvenzhane Wallis Talk ANNIE, the Fun Shoot, Collaborating with Will Gluck, Embarrassing Moments on Set, and More

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Now playing in theaters is Will Gluck‘s modern reimagining of the Broadway classic Annie.  The film stars Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) in the title role as a young, happy, street-tough foster kid living with the mean Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) who is taken in by New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) in a thinly veiled campaign move.  The film also stars Rose ByrneBobby CannavaleAdewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and David Zayas.  For more on Annie, watch the trailer, five clips and eleven minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, or read Matt’s review.

At the New York City press day I landed an exclusive video interview with Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne and Quvenzhane Wallis.  They talked about collaborating with Will Gluck, how much fun they had making the film, embarrassing moments on set, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

TOP 5: Sony Cancels THE INTERVIEW, THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, STAR TREK 3 Director Shortlist, KNIGHT OF CUPS, 10 Underrated Films of 2014

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Return readers will remember that I used each October installment to recommend a horror film that I thought you may have missed for one reason or another. I’ll do something similar this week with a Christmas movie that I think is worth your time if you find yourself looking for a new seasonal favorite. Since seeing it in theaters in 2007, writer/director Preston A. Whitmore II‘s This Christmas has become annual holiday viewing at my house. Starring Idris Elba, Mekhi Phifer, Delroy Lindo, and Loretta Devine, the film hits every beat you can ask for in a Christmas movie: siblings returning home from separate parts of the country to celebrate the holiday together, finding romance with a person from your past, helping an estranged member of your family out of a life-threatening jam, pre-loathsome Chris Brown absolutely slaying a Christmas number at open mic night when no one in his family even knew he could sing, etc. If all of the above sounds like cookie cutter dramedy material that’s because it is. Still yet, This Christmas does it so well that you can’t help but feel great while watching it. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll try and reconcile the fact that you actually like Chris Brown in it and, hopefully, you’ll thank me for the recommendation.

Moving on to the reason we’re here, this week’s Top 5 highlights Sony cancelling the theatrical release of The Interview, interviews for and Matt’s review of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the Star Trek 3 director shortlist, the first trailer for Terrence Malick‘s Knight of Cups, and a look at 10 underrated films of 2014 that you may have missed. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, James Corden, James Lapine and Rob Marshall Talk INTO THE WOODS, Casting, the Rehearsal Process, “Tinderella” and More

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Twenty-seven years after Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical Into the Woods premiered on Broadway, the piece is making its was to the big screen.  The story centers on the Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt) who so desperately want to have a child, but come to realize that they can’t unless they reverse The Witch’s (Meryl Streep) curse.  Meanwhile, elsewhere in the kingdom, Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) is busy slaving away for her wicked stepmother (Christine Baranski) while dreaming of attending the King’s festival and dancing before The Prince (Chris Pine).

With Into the Woods making its way into theaters on Christmas Day, Corden, Blunt, Pine, Kendrick, Lapine and director Rob Marshall all came to New York City to participate in a press conference.  The group discussed the unique layers of the characters, the challenges of making a movie musical, the extensive rehearsal process and loads more.  Hit the jump to check it all out.

Geek Gifts: Baby Groot Hot Toys Collectible Offers the Most Detailed Version Yet

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As soon as audiences saw Guardians of the Galaxy opening weekend, fans were clamoring to own a dancing Baby Groot of their own.  Production on the collectible took a while, as director James Gunn opted not to have the toys manufactured in advance for fear of having the character’s fate spoiled before the movie opened, but things have started to catch up, and now an official Baby Groot Hot Toys collectible is poised for release.  The 1/4th scale “Little Groot” collectible features three interchangeable head sculpts as well as moveable arms and body to recreate the character’s “I Want You Back” dance.  At the reasonable price of $44.99, this thing would make a swell Christmas present.  It’s expected to ship in January.

Take a look at the Baby Groot Hot Toys figure after the jump, and click here to pre-order.

Creator John Rogers Talks THE LIBRARIANS, Filling the Genre Gaps on TV, Expanding the Movies to a TV Series, and More

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Based on TNT’s hit movie franchise, the delightfully fun adventure series The Librarians centers on an ancient organization hidden beneath the Metropolitan Public Library dedicated to protecting an unknowing world from the secret, magical reality hidden all around.  Jake Stone (Christian Kane), Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth) and Ezekiel Jones (John Kim) are the newest protectors of the world’s mystical treasures, helping out Librarian Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle), his Guardian, Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn), and a reluctant caretaker (John Larroquette).

During this phone interview with Collider, show creator/executive producer/writer John Rogers talked about filling the genre gaps on TV, why people are so intrigued by libraries, finding the key to expanding this as a series, always being aware of their budget, keeping Noah Wyle on the show in a limited capacity, due to his schedule, putting this ensemble of actors together, getting Bruce Campbell to guest star as Santa Claus, and what he’s most proud of accomplishing with this season.  He also talked about the shows that he’s currently got in development, and how he hopes to develop projects with new talent while he focuses on one primary show.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Rupert Wyatt Says He Hopes to Shoot ECHO CHAMBER Next Year or the Year After; 10-Part TV Series Will Have a Sci-Fi Context

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Director Rupert Wyatt’s been attached to Echo Chamber for quite a while now.  Back in 2012, it was reported that HBO was developing the miniseries, which would cover the true story of a British solider who infiltrates the Irish Republican Army in the 1980s.  As he rises through the ranks, he must deal with betrayal and life threatening situations.

At that time, the plan was to air the series as three 90-minute telecasts, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.  On top of that, while talking to Wyatt for his upcoming release, The Gambler, he told me that Echo Chamber isn’t about the British solider/IRA scenario specifically and that his take has a sci-fi component to it.  Hit the jump for more.

Obama Says Sony “Made a Mistake” By Pulling THE INTERVIEW

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While we’ve been passing up more Sony stories than we’ve been posting this week (since we’re declining to publish gossip-y emails and speculative scoops related to the hack), the fact remains that there is some actual, material news coming out of this situation.  And whenever the President of the United States weighs in on status of the new Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg film, that feels like movie news to me.

On the heels of the FBI’s confirmation that North Korea was behind the cyber-attack on Sony, President Barack Obama took his year-end speech as an opportunity to address the situation, denouncing Sony’s decision to cancel the release (going so far to remove clips of the film from the internet) of The Interview.  And I agree with him almost 100%.  Hit the jump for more on Obama’s comments regarding Sony, The Interview, and not giving in to terrorists.

Allison’s Other TV Bests of 2014

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In my intro to last year’s “Other TV Bests” category, I said, “if 2014 does even this half as well [as 2013], things should look pretty good.”  We have achieved it folks, and more than we could have asked for.  There just isn’t room for all of the noteworthy TV of 2014.  I’ve listed out more than my fair share of bests already, yet there are still more that deserve a mention (and yes, this one I limited to just 10).  Hit the jump for the rest of the best.

Watch David Fincher Discuss His Philosophy, ALIEN 3, Studio Reaction to FIGHT CLUB, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and More in 25-Minute Interview

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A couple of months ago, filmmaker David Fincher was honored at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and took part in an interview onstage.  A portion of that interview has now been officially released online, and it’s full of golden nuggets from one of the most exciting directors working today.  Fincher candidly touches on everything from his personal philosophy about filmmaking to his experience making Alien 3 (and why he wanted to do it in the first place) to the studio’s reaction to seeing a first cut of Fight Club to the miracle of autonomy that he enjoyed when putting together The Social Network.  It’s a fascinating and insightful interview that’s well worth a watch.  Check it out after the jump.

Michael Pitt Not Returning for HANNIBAL Season 3; Will Be Replaced by Joe Anderson

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A surprising casting change is underway for Hannibal Season 3.  Last year’s string of episodes for the most gorgeous show on television introduced the character of Mason Verger, with Michael Pitt wonderfully inhabiting the memorable role.  However, TV Line reports that Pitt has opted not to return for the show’s third season, forcing showrunner Bryan Fuller to recast the character.  The switch actually comes at a fairly opportune time, as last we saw Verger his face was in a rather…disheveled condition.  Joe Anderson (The Divide, The Grey) will be replacing Pitt and filling the role of Verger in the new season.  More after the jump.

New DAREDEVIL Netflix Show Images Reveal a Lawyer By Day, Superhero By Night

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A couple of new Daredevil Netflix show images have landed online, giving fans a new look at the upcoming limited series from Marvel and the streaming service.  Spartacus alum Steven S. DeKnight acts as showrunner on the upcoming series, though Marvel TV chief Jeph Loeb (who also oversees Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the upcoming Agent Carter) is still intimately involved in crafting Marvel’s first foray into Netflix territory.  In a new piece in EW, Loeb describes Daredevil as “a crime drama first, superhero show second”, and while DeKnight maintains that the series is certainly “grittier and edgier” than what Marvel has done before, the target audience remains all-encompassing so they’re “not looking to push it to extreme violence or gratuitous nudity.”

Check out the new Daredevil Netflix show images after the jump.  The series stars Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Toby Moore, Bob Gunton, Ayelet Zurer, and Vondie Curtis-HallDaredevil will premiere on Netflix sometime in 2015.

Hot Toys Unveils New AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and STAR WARS Figures

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The folks at Hot Toys are taking part in the Toy Soul 2014 convention in Hong Kong today and have unveiled some images from the showroom floor, giving us looks at some new figures.  Notable collectibles include a giant Hulkbuster from Avengers: Age of Ultron as well as other 1/6th scale collectibles of Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Hulk, and a new 1/4th scale Iron Man from the Avengers sequel as well.  In addition to the Avengers: Age of Ultron Hot Toys, there’s also a series of new Star Wars collectibles, including 1/6th scale and life-size figures (Boba Fett and Han Solo in carbonite, obviously).

Take a look at all of the new figures after the jump.

Kate Winslet in Early Talks for Female Lead in Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs Biopic

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While Sony Pictures is dealing with the fallout from the North Korean cyber-attack, a former Sony project is barreling forward.  Universal Pictures recently picked up the Aaron Sorkin-scripted Steve Jobs biopic from Sony, and while the film had trouble firming up its cast, it appears that things are finally coming together.  Michael Fassbender is set to play the Apple innovator, Seth Rogen is onboard as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Danny Boyle is firmly in the director’s chair.  Now, after Natalie Portman previously flirted with the role, it appears that Kate Winslet is now in line to join the project as the female lead.  More after the jump.

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