‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Tops Box Office With $24.5M

Jessica Chastain Maggie Smith Marion Cotillard  Meryl Streep Helen Mirren Jennifer Lawrence Naomi Watts

Kathryn Bigelow and Sony Pictures can celebrate a win ahead of Sunday’s Golden Globes, as Zero Dark Thirty grossed more than $24 million on the weekend to take top spot at the box office.

The thriller, released four weeks ago, opened nationwide in nearly 3,000 theaters, bringing its domestic total so far to $29.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

A Haunted House, the comedy horror spoof starring Marlon Wayans, raked in $18.8 million while Ryan Gosling’s Gangster Squad was close behind with $16.7 million.

Django Unchained and Les Miserables rounded out the top five at the box office.

Zero Dark Thirty, one of the most controversial and talked about films this awards season, received five Academy Award nominations earlier this week, including Jessica Chastain for Best Actress.

While Bigelow was snubbed by the Academy in the directing category, the 61-year-old has a chance to take home a Golden Globe on Sunday.

She’s up for best director against a group of males: Ben Affleck for Argo, Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained, Ang Lee for Life of Pi and Steven Spielberg for Lincoln.

The film is also nominated for three other Golden Globes, including Best Picture — Drama.

The 70th Golden Globe Awards, hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, will be handed out live on NBC from the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The pre-show will start at 4PM Pacific.

Have you seen ‘Zero Dark Thirty?’ How do you think it will perform during awards season? Weigh in below.

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‘Gangster Squad’ vs. ‘Zero Dark Thirty’: Box Office Battle (POLL)

Ryan Gosling takes on the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden at the box office this weekend.

Super awards contender Zero Dark Thirty finally goes into wide release after a limited run in December, and the fedora-wearing cops of Gangster Squad are gunning for it. Yep, another round of Box Office Thunderdome is upon us.

In one corner, Warner Bros. long-delayed Gangster Squad sets Gosling, Josh Brolin and others on a tommy-gun filled mission to take down mob boss Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) in 1950s Los Angeles. Reviews have been mixed to kinda good, and who doesn’t like a good cops ‘n robbers film?

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But audiences may like Kathryn Bigelow‘s intense military procedural more. Zero Dark Thirty has received some of the loudest awards buzz in recent memory, along with some of the the best reviews of a film released this year – let alone in the last decade. Audiences are eager to see what the big deal is for themselves, so expect Thirty to give Squad a serious run for its money.

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Which movie will you see this weekend? More importantly, which film do you think will win the box office? Sound off in the comments below!

 

Who Will Win the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture? (PHOTOS & VIDEOS)

Jessica Chastain Maggie Smith Marion Cotillard  Meryl Streep Helen Mirren Jennifer Lawrence Naomi Watts

Before this morning’s Academy Award nominees get their shot at Oscar, they will first have to contend with the Golden Globes.

The Globes offer a decent barometer as to who will go home with Hollywood’s most coveted award. As the town ramps up for the Globes on Sunday, January 13, Celebuzz takes a look at each nominee in the major acting and film categories.

First up: Who will – and should – win Best Actress.

With the Oscar nominations announced, there is some expected overlap between the Academy’s picks and the Hollywood Foreign Press.

Favorites Naomi Watts (The Impossible), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) and Jennifer Lawrence (The Silver Linings Playbook) have emerged as the frontrunners for both awards, with Chastain and Lawrence seemingly in a dead heat for victory.

While a Golden Globe win does not guarantee an Academy Award, it does provide a decent indicator as to who should start making extra room on their mantle.

Check out our breakdown of the actresses in contention and their chances, then share with us your predictions in the comments below!

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DGA Noms Announced — What Does That Mean for Oscar?

With less than a week to go before the Oscar nominations are announced, one of the biggest foreshadows for Oscar gold – the Directors Guild – has revealed their nominees for Best Director.

As expected, Argo‘s director and star Ben Affleck and Lincoln‘s Steven Spielberg lead the pack, followed by a few surprise picks.

Read on for the full list of directors…

Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Ang Lee (Life of Pi) round out the list of 5 directors. This year marks Affleck’s first DGA nomination, while Best Director Oscar winners Hooper and Bigelow received their second. Spielberg scored is eleventh DGA nomination.

David O. Russell, a favorite for The Silver Linings Playbook, is notably absent. Also missing from the list are Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained and The Master‘s Paul Thomas Anderson.

The DGA is one of the strongest indicators of who will take home Oscar gold. No director has ever won an Academy Award without previously receiving a nod from the DGA.

So based on the DGAs, who are Oscar’s frontrunners? With Golden Globe and DGA nods, Hooper is a safe bet for a Best Director nomination. Ditto Spielberg and Bigelow.

The outlook is still a bit fuzzy on Lee; the Academy could go either way and give it to Russell. And don’t count out Tarantino just yet; the filmmaker is very popular with the Academy and his Golden Globe nomination may be enough to secure a nod. Oscar nominations are announced Thursday, January 10.

Which director do you think will win? Who do you want to go home with the Oscar? Sound off in the comments below.

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‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Star Jessica Chastain Didn’t Want the ‘Hunt for Osama bin Laden’ Movie to ‘Become About Women in the CIA’ (VIDEO)

One of 2012’s most highly-anticipated movies, Zero Dark Thirty has drawn praise and criticism for its portrait of the CIA’s hunt for Osama bin Laden. But regardless of its depiction of the events that led to the terrorist leader’s apprehension and killing, star Jessica Chastain said it was important the film didn’t become another sort of “issue” story: namely, about the real or perceived glass ceiling for women in the military.

“I’m not interested in the movie that becomes like an issue about women in the CIA,” she told Celebuzz. “I’m interested in the film that shows an amazing woman doing an amazing job that doesn’t remind me every five seconds, ‘BUT she’s a woman’.”

Zero Dark Thirty provides little information about Chastain’s character, a woman named Maya who (according to the film) spends more than a decade doing little other than investigating bin Laden’s whereabouts.

Chastain said that she had to do all of the same work as should would exploring any other character, regardless, how little of that knowledge would be revealed on screen.

“I have to be able to answer any questions anyone could possibly have,” she said. “I knew what Maya’s favorite American candy was. I had to define all of that for the character.”

Ultimately, Chastain said that playing Maya was less a matter of creating a performance than challenging herself to connect with a character that seemed dramatically different than herself.

“I’m not playing ‘Jessica Chastain as a CIA agent’,” she said. “It was a very different role; I’m a much more emotional person, and this character was trained to be unemotional, and analytically precise.”

“And when doing something like that, I had to find the humanity, and her journey within those boundaries.”

Zero Dark Thirty is playing in theaters nationwide. Watch Celebuzz’ interview with Chastain’s co-star Jason Clarke, and then le us know what you thought of the film in the comments section below!

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2012 Year in Review: The 10 Best Movies (PHOTOS)

2012 was a remarkable year for movies – not just financially, but artistically.

Even as The Hunger Games and The Avengers and Skyfall and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 broke records and brought in historic revenues, some of the industry’s most talented actors and filmmakers further solidified their place in the Hollywood firmament, even as newcomers introduced the world to artistic voices that deserve to be heard.

All of which made a Top Ten list that much more difficult to whittle down. Nevertheless, Celebuzz assembled an in-no-particular-order collection of films that deserve recognition at the end of year, and which we believe may stand the test of time long after their competition had disappeared from our collective memories.

As arbitrary as choosing Number Four from Number Five might be, we did elect a few titles for the top of our list, starting with The Master. Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film was a revelation – a challenging, unique work of art that came to the screen without compromise, and which reminded us what the word auteur truly means.

Meanwhile, Leos CaraxHoly Motors and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained also ranked high as favorites, for their equally singular charms, and similar artistic integrity. On the other hand, films like 21 Jump Street and The Hunger Gamesalso unexpectedly joined their ranks as crowd-pleasers that don’t skimp on intelligence or emotional resonance as they engage our most primal instincts to be entertained.

Make sure you read through the gallery above for a full list of Celebuzz’ favorite films of 2012, where we mount a defense for each of them and challenge readers to check them out. In the meantime, check out our video recap of the year’s best and most memorable, and then let us know: what was your favorite film of 2012? Let the debate begin in the comments section!

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Kathryn Bigelow Says She Was Motivated by ‘Honesty’ When Making ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar, taking home the statuette in 2009 for her Iraqi bomb squad thriller The Hurt Locker. And this season she could do it again with Zero Dark Thirty, the gritty new procedural about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

“I found it very surprising that women were central to this operation,” Bigelow told reporters about her new film starring Jessica Chastain as a CIA operative — recruited out of high school — who spent 10 years tracking the man behind 9/11. “Keeping the honesty of the piece, that’s what motivated me more than anything else.”

When Bigelow reunited with investigative reporter and The Hurt Locker scribe, Mark Boal for Zero Dark, their original idea was to do a movie following a special forces team in the Tora Bora mountain range in southern Afghanistan during the months after 9/11.

But then, May 2nd, 2011 happened, and the writer-director team found themselves with an irrelevant story to tell as Seal Team 6 captured and killed bin Laden. So Bigelow and Boal began again from scratch, basing their story on a CIA agent who ultimately tracked bin Laden through a courier leading to the Al Qaeda leader’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The film and Chastain are being touted for Oscars on the heels of winning the National Board of Review award for Best Film as well as well as the New York Film Critics Award. Nominated for Best Supporting Actress for The Help, Chastain delivers a finely-tuned, internalized performance as a newbie thrown into a torture interrogation moments after arriving in Afghanistan.

“I was thinking about her like a computer, a woman who’s really good with facts and details and putting a puzzle together, and what happens when that woman is put in a situation that is much bigger than she ever imaged she’d be involved in,” Chastain said. “Just because she’s trained to be unemotional and analytical, precise, doesn’t mean she’s unemotional.”

“It’s a character defined by action,” added Bigelow. “That necessitates a very, very strong actor, an actor who can give you a very strong landscape just defined by action. I think there’s something very brave and exciting and extremely brilliant about those choices. It’s also a testament to the talent of Jessica to find the finely-calibrated nuances of emotion within a character that had to be so precise.”

Trying to excel in a man’s world, Chastain’s character, Maya, bears some resemblance to Bigelow herself who has accelerated as a filmmaker in a field dominated by men. And her work is not confined to frothy rom-coms or weepy chick-flicks. Bigelow excels makes the kind of movies most audiences associate with men, the 1991 surfer bank robber movie Point Break, sci-fi thriller Strange Days, and the submarine suspense saga K-9: The Widowmaker.

Such titles stand out for their testosterone-fueled, white-knuckled thrills as well as their moments of humanity and humor.

“It’s that somebody has tremendous facility to convey humanity, and humanity takes on a lot of different permutations,” said Bigelow about Jason Clarke’s character, Dan, a torturer who grows weary of the beatings, preferring the company of his pet monkeys. “Those moments of levity allow you a minute to decompress before you engage again.”

The movie’s final moments show Chastain’s character boarding a military cargo plane alone, after the killing of bin Laden. Strapping in for the flight home, she breaks down in tears.

“It’s not a victory because finally at the end of the day you’re left with much larger questions such as where does she go from here? Where do we go from here? Now what?” asked Bigelow. “It leaves you with a very interesting question.”

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‘Zero Dark Thirty’s’ Jason Clarke on the Film’s Torture Scenes: ‘I’m Not Here to Question the Ifs, Ands or Buts’ (VIDEO)

While the climax of Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty somewhat obviously focuses on the physical hunt for Osama bin Laden, the beginning of the film opens on a decidedly more controversial act: the torture of detainees in order to try and secure information that leads to the terrorist leader.

And while the film’s motive for showing these acts is to simply chronicle the events leading up to bin Laden’s capture, star Jason Clarke says that he was never interested in judging his interrogator character’s behavior, no matter how questionable he might personally find it.

“That’s very straightforward,” he told Celebuzz. “As an actor, I’m not here to question the ifs, ands or buts, or my, Jason’s standpoint. I’m here to portray a real person and real events, and do them justice to the best that I can.”

Clarke observed that it was doubly important to remain objective about the events in the film since they were once actually performed by a real person.

“Because people did this and went through this, and the least I can do is give my all without putting my comment on it,” he said.

Simultaneously, Clarke said that the torture scenes set an unusual tone for the film which indicates right off the bat that it’s not going to be either a newsreel-style retelling nor a heroic dramatization of the hunt for bin Laden.

“It brings the audience straight into this film, and it impacts you in a way that you’re not really expecting,” he said. “And it keeps going, even though we know the beginning and the end, the way it draws you in, this film is constantly telling a narrative in a way we’ve not experienced before.”

Zero Dark Thirty opens nationwide December 19. Watch Celebuzz’ full interview with Clarke, and then the film’s trailer below. What do you think of the controversy surrounding its depiction of torture? Let us know in the comments section.

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Mark Wahlberg Is An ‘American Desperado’; Garrett Hedlund Set for ‘Tron 3′

Someone forgot to tell Mark Wahlberg that the end of the year is for winding down. Earlier this week, he announced plans to produce a thriller about “hacking”, and now he is set to star and produce Paramount new drug trafficking thriller. American Desperado, based on the book American Desperado: My Life as a Cocaine Cowboy, centers on real-life criminal Jon Roberts (Wahlberg), who made millions smuggling cocaine into the U.S. for a major drug cartel. The project reunites Wahlberg with Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed), who will rewrite the script. [Deadline]

Disney is fast-tracking Tron 3, and they’re bringing Tron: Legacy’s leading man with them.

Although he was originally signed for a multi-picture deal, it was confirmed Thursday that Garrett Hedlund will reprise the role of Sam Flynn in the threequel, currently being rewritten by Jesse Wigutow. Legacy director Joseph Kosinski is also set to return for the film. [NextMovie]


Fans of this year’s Taken 2 will be happy to know that the film’s director has lined up his next action-filled project. Olivier Megaton will direct Taking Gotham, a fact-based story about a secret unit of NYPD officers created in response to a series of brutal robberies in the city. When an operation goes south, the unit is disavowed and they must go off the grid to prove their names. Production is schedule to begin early 2013. [Deadline]

The final trailer for Oscar-favorite Zero Dark Thirty was released on Thursday. The film, directed by Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow, follows the CIA’s relentless hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Jessica Chastain plays the CIA’s point person in charge of the Bin Laden search, and the new trailer highlights the actress’ compelling performance which anchors the film. Watch below!

Which bit of movie news are you excited about? Weigh in below!

‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Star Jessica Chastain Reveals How She Got Through The Worst Week of Filming: ‘We Watched Videos of Animals Being Rescued’ (VIDEO)

As a mysterious CIA operative on the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain had many dark moments during filming. But with the help of her Oscar-winning director, she created some lighter moments to get through the heavy material.

“The interrogation scenes were very tough to film [for] Kathryn Bigelow and myself. It was probably the worst week of work we had,” Chastain told Celebuzz at the Los Angeles premiere of the film Monday night.

“But the really sweet thing about it was that I would go home, and I’d be super-depressed after those days of work, and we would send each other videos of animals getting rescued.”

Chastain explained that she and Bigelow — who won best director at the 2009 Academy Awards for The Hurt Locker – used the images of the furry friends to mentally escape from the often-intense scenes filmed to tell the story of the decade-long hunt for the Al-Qaeda terrorist leader.

“It was a reminder that, ‘Okay, this isn’t our life right now,’” said the 35-year-old, who herself was nominated for an Oscar for 2011′s The Help. “We’re here making this movie, but there is another life, and there is joy and love.”

 

Meanwhile, Chastain admitted that she’s nothing like her super-guarded character, Maya.

“This is a woman who is trained to be unemotional and analytically precise,” she said. “Almost the majority of my life I’ve been trained to be emotional… so that was the hardest… [to] put it under a lid.

“I just try and have everyone that I know understand my gratitude that they’re here and my love for them, and so any time I have to do a scene where that is not in play, it hurts my heart a little bit.”

Zero Dark Thirty will be in limited release Dec.19 and open nationwide on Jan. 11.

Will you be seeing Zero Dark Thirty? Weigh in below, and watch the full video  above to hear what else Chastain reveals about her role in the film.

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‘The Host’ Premieres New Pics; Kyle Chandler Nixes ‘Friday Night Lights’ Film; Tarantino Teases Next Project

The film adaptation of Twilight author Stephanie Meyer’s The Host arrives in theaters March 29, 2013. To tide fans over, Summit Entertainment released new images from the sci-fi drama starring Saoirse Ronan. Click here to check out the new pics! [Hollywood.com]

Is Quentin Tarantino circling a gangland epic as his next film? After screening his latest film, Django Unchained, at a BAFTA event, the director hinted that tommy guns and fedoras are in his future. “I could conceive maybe someday doing a 30′s gangster picture, or something like that.” The Pulp Fiction director also said that making another Western could be in the cards. [Bleeding Cool]

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Fans of the TV show Friday Night Lights are going to have to take a knee if what Coach Taylor says about the prospective new movie is true. While promoting his new film, Zero Dark Thirty, Kyle Chandler said that, despite reports to the contrary, he is neither involved in any plans to bring the NBC series to the big screen, nor wants to be. “My general attitude about Friday Night Lights is, it was a great movie with Billy Bob [Thornton]. It was a great TV show,” Chandler said. “But they ended [the show] at exactly the right time, and exactly the right way as well.” The actor went on to say that he has yet to see a script for the film, or have any contact with director Peter Berg regarding the project. [MTV]

Thursday’s release of an announcement trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness is just the beginning. On December 14, Paramount Pictures will present the first 9-minutes of the film attached to IMAX prints of Warner Bros.’ The Hobbit. The studio has finally released a list of theaters where audiences can catch the footage. Click here to see if Darkness is coming to your town. [IMAX]

Excited for the Star Trek sequel news? What do you think of the pics from The Host? Weigh in below.

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