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Charles Bramesco

Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images
Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images
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J.J. Abrams Wants Out of the Reboot/Remake/Re-Whatever Business

J.J. Abrams made his bed, stuffed it with money and gold bricks, but now he‘d rather not lie in it. The director has risen to the top of Hollywood’s most-wanted list in recent years as a serviceable conductor of franchise pictures; he did right by the Mission: Impossible series, then moved on to mount the massive Star Trek resurgence, and brought Star Wars back to the grateful people of Earth with Episode VII. But this whole money-in-the-bank reputation comes with its downsides. Speaking with People, Abrams indicated that he‘s had his fill of franchise pictures and would prefer to explore some original concepts in the years to come.

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The Onion
The Onion
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The Onion’s Three-Movie Development Deal Is No Joke

Now that falsehoods have become almost entirely indistinguishable from fact in the American news media, the staffers of satirical publication The Onion can sit back and relax, having effectively taken over the industry they set out to spoof. (Full disclosure: I contribute to the A.V. Club, a division of the Onion media empire.) But instead of resting on their laurels, the originators of ‘fake news’ have set out to conquer new frontiers, having already moved into publishing and the untamed wilds of television. A new exclusive from the Hollywood Reporter indicates that not even the movie theaters of this great nation will be safe from the increasingly plausible absurdities of America’s self-proclaimed ‘finest news source.’

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Batman vs Superman Batman Ben Affleck
Warner Bros.
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Is Ben Affleck Trying to Distance Himself from ‘The Batman’?

Rough year for Ben Affleck, noted Jennifer Garner spouse and one-time star of Gigli. His big starring vehicle Batman v Superman made a whole lot of money but was critically reviled almost across the board, his latest directorial effort Live by Night got a quiet and unceremonious limited release that was buried in the holiday craziness, he was spotted sadly vaping in a car, and now a pall of uncertainty has been cast over his future. He’s confirmed for Zack Snyder’s upcoming Justice League crossover, but Affleck’s relationship with the Dark Knight’s cowl and cape may be getting a bit strained. In a new interview, Affleck indicated that what was once presumed to be set in stone is, in fact, still up for debate.

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Universal Studios
Universal Studios
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A New Nighttime Show Will Add an Extra Dose of Magic to Harry Potter Theme Park

Stocks in magic are down. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was less than fantastic (hey-o), the much-touted stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child won’t come to Broadway for months, and we can assume that the constant onslaught that was 2016 sapped many children of their belief in the wonder of magic. The Harry Potter-industrial complex needs a shot in the arm, and head honchos over at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park may have just the thing to inspire a little excitement.

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Disney
Disney
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Over 50 Disney Movies Will Soon Make Hulu Their New Streaming Home

More streaming services than you can shake a virtual stick at have cropped up over the past year, which makes it all the more aggravating when that one movie you want to watch is nowhere to be found. You shell out every month for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Shudder, Filmstruck and a dozen more, and yet once that craving to rewatch The Lion King hits, you’re plum out of luck. What’s the point of having countless hours of programming at your fingertips for your immediate enjoyment if that doesn’t include The Little Mermaid?

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Movie Theater
Matt Singer
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Crossing $11 Billion Mark, Hollywood Poised for Biggest Year to Date

Even if it feels like things are getting worse all the time, with Hollywood delivering an unholy crop of expensive flops amidst murmurs of cinema’s death in 2016, that may not be the case. At the very least, the American film industry isn’t in danger of collapsing any time soon — quite the opposite, in fact. If we’re to take the total sum of money generated by ticket sales in a given year as a barometer of the industry’s overall health, Tinseltown’s still as strong as an ox, Ben-hur remake or no.

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Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm
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Ladies, Gentlemen, and Friends: I Give You Chewbacca Singing ‘Silent Night’

It’s the Friday before Christmas. Those of us who aren’t currently concealing the fact that we’ve slumped over at our desks in a eggnog-hangover-induced nap have glued our eyes to the clock, counting down the minutes to a leisurely holiday break. Everyone just wants to get home, gather with family or other loved ones around a crackling fire, put on the musical stylings of Burl Ives or Bing Crosby, and have a nice mug of hot cocoa. Time slows to a crawl on the Friday before a long weekend, and we both know you’re not getting any work done today, so why not kick back with the soothing sounds of Chewbacca moaning out a classic Christmas standard?

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Disney
Disney
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Dick Van Dyke to Revive Magnificently Bad Cockney Accent in ‘Mary Poppins’ Sequel

Dick Van Dyke remains a beloved and esteemed entertainer at age 91, fondly remembered for his charismatic performances as a hapless songwriter in Bye Bye Birdie and a sooty-faced chimneysweep in Disney’s 1964 musical Mary Poppins. What he’s remembered decidedly less fondly for is the other role he played in the period-piece musical, elderly bank chairman Mr. Dawes, Senior. Clad in old-age makeup and credited as “Nackvid Keyd” (an anagram of Dick Van Dyke), the notorious D.V.D. busted out a frightfully bad Cockney accent in his scenes as the tight-fisted money man. Widely mocked at the time and voted the second-worst accent ever in a poll from Empire, it was not the high point of Van Dyke’s impressive career.

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Monster Trucks
Paramount
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Get to Know Creech in the High-Octane Unleaded ‘Monster Trucks’ Trailer

Paramount's upcoming kids' flick Monster Trucks sounds like the sort of project that was conceived as a goofy pun and then reverse-engineered from there. You see, we colloquially refer to motor vehicles outfitted with oversize suspension and larger tires as "monster trucks" due to their large size and monstrous appetite for smaller, weaker trucks. But this film imagines a fanciful scenario in which an odd beast makes a home inside the engine of a truck, which the creature then controls using its slimy tentacles — quite literally, a monster truck! Everybody still with us? Good.

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Beauty and the Beast preview
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‘Beauty and the Beast’ Unseats ’Fifty Shades’ as Most-Viewed Trailer in 24 Hours

The trailer for the handsomely-mounted live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast surfaced on Tuesday, and drew strong reactions across the board. Many were taken with the first look at the Emma Watson/Dan Stevens romance, allowing themselves to be flooded with the same swooning emotion that Disney’s animated film conjured back in 1991. Some were less impressed, expressing low-level terror at the unnatural-looking designs for Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth, Lumiere, and the rest of the anthropomorphized household object gang. But regardless of overall reception, one thing is for certain: The Guardian notes that an unprecedented crap-ton of people accessed the trailer on YouTube, making 2017’s Beauty and the Beast the most-viewed-in-a-24-hour-period trailer of all time.

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Mojang
Mojang
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‘Minecraft’ Strikes Gold with Steve Carell as First Cast Acquisition

Minecraft, an open-space computer game in which players can build and create anything their heart can desire, has amassed a gigantic following among youngsters who use their imaginations to give birth to expansive worlds. Universally beloved among the world’s middle-schoolers, the game has spawned every merchandising tie-in under the sun, from pixelated foam swords to T-shirts with snappy slogans to lunch boxes. And now, the youth phenomenon will permeate the mainstream even further through a feature film adaptation. The project was announced in 2014, they landed a director in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator Rob McElhenney in 2015, and this year, they’ve made moves to lock down their first star.

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billy-lynn-still-2
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The War Comes Home in Latest ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ Trailer

We know more about Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk today than we did when the first trailer debuted back in May. Our own Erin Whitney was present for the film’s world premiere at the New York Film Festival earlier this month, and relayed their full scoop back to us through their review: Ang Lee gets a lot of points for sheer chutzpah, having shot the first feature-length film using highly sophisticated 4K 120 frames-per-second technology, but his gambit ultimately fails. The realistic look of the film is almost too real, its crisp movements too unnaturally fluid for their own good.

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