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"Lucy" Outmuscles "Hercules" to Take Top Spot at Box Office


Universal Pictures(NEW YORK) -- Scarlett Johansson's Lucy topped the box office this past weekend, fending off Dwayne Johnson's Hercules for the top spot.

Johansson's character is able to manipulate time and matter by accessing 100 percent of her brain -- way above the normal 10 percent that the movie posits humans can access. Lucy may not have taken 100 percent of the box office, but did manage to hold off Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Hercules reboot.

Last week's top film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes finished in third place.

Here are the top ten films of the weekend according to boxofficemojo.com:

1. Lucy: $44.025 million
2. Hercules (2014): $29 million
3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: $16.4 million
4. The Purge: Anarchy: $9.896 million
5. Planes: Fire & Rescue: $9.303 million
6. Sex Tape: $5.975 million
7. Transformers: Age of Extinction: $4.6 million
8. And So It Goes: $4.552 million
9. Tammy: $3.4 million
10. A Most Wanted Man: $2.717 million

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Prince George Learns to Swim


JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) --  It's the biggest little secret and now it can be revealed: Everyone's favorite prince is learning to swim.

Like his father and grandfather before him, Prince George is experiencing the royal splash-about with his mother at the world's most exclusive gym, the Buckingham Palace pool. Kate was seen driving in to the grounds of Buckingham Palace with George and a nanny in tow on his birthday Tuesday.

Many assumed she had brought him to visit his grandfather, but the Duchess of Cambridge has been teaching the future king how to swim.

Both William and Kate are avid water sports buffs. Prince William captained his water polo team and Kate is understood to do laps at the Palace pool to stay fit.

Princess Diana took William and Harry to Buckingham Palace as young boys. She too was an avid swimmer, and wanted her sons to benefit from all the enjoyment that water sports bring.

The pool is located in the rear of the Palace in a stunning conservatory-type area adjacent to the beautiful back gardens. Generations of royal children have enjoyed the pool and now Prince George is among them.

At a recent event at the British Sub-Aqua Club, Prince Charles passed the presidency to his son Prince William and reminisced how he too taught his son to love the water.

"I threw him in the pool on occasions. Instead of putting him off, it enthused him," Charles said.

"I hope one day my son George might follow in our footsteps," added William. "At the moment, bath time is quite painful but hopefully donning a snorkel and mask might calm him down "

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Warner Bros. Shows First Footage from "Batman vs. Superman" Film at Comic-Con


Clay Enos/Warner Bros.(SAN DIEGO) -- Warner Bros. opened its two-hour panel at Comic-Con International with a video featuring the first footage from the upcoming Batman vs. Superman film.

Director Zach Snyder introduced the footage, after which Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill were brought out, along with Wonder Woman Gal Gadot.

In the video, Batman responds to the call of the bat signal atop a building, where Superman hovers above him. The Man of Steel's eyes glow red, while the Caped Crusader's glow blue.

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Susan Sarandon Reveals Past Tryst with David Bowie


ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) --  Like most people, Susan Sarandon went through a wild period.

The actress once had a tryst with "a rock star": David Bowie.

"In terms of hooking up with movie stars, I got married really young [to actor Chris Sarandon], which knocked out most of my 20s to be f***ing around," she told the Daily Beast. "There have been a couple of famous, pretty interesting ones. One rock star [Bowie]."

Sarandon, 67, didn't specify when it happened, though she clearly enjoyed spending time with the singer.

"He’s worth idolizing. He’s extraordinary," she gushed. "Bowie's just a really interesting person and so bright. He's a talent and a painter and he's great."

However, she eventually settled down, which came as a surprise to her. After dating director Louis Malle, who was 14 years her senior, she had a relationship with Franco Amurri, who fathered her daughter, Eva, 29. Then, she met Tim Robbins, with whom she was involved for 23 years. They had two sons, Jack, 25, and Miles, 22.

"I wasn’t supposed to have kids," she said. "I’m the oldest of nine and had mothered all of them, so I wasn’t ever in a mode to where I was looking to settle down and raise a family, so that definitely changes the gene pool you’re dipping into."

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HBO Confirms Newest "Game of Thrones" Cast Members


Photo: Macall B. Polay/HBO(SAN DIEGO) -- HBO confirmed the newest cast members for its hit show Game of Thrones at Comic-Con International on Friday.

Many of the newest additions appeared in a video unveiled at the annual event in San Diego. Among the newest inhabitants of Westeros are Alexander Siddig of 24 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Jonathan Pryce from the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

The series appears likely to delve into at least one region of Westeros that viewers haven't seen much of, the southern kingdom of Dorne. Dorne, home to fan-favorite Oberyn Martell, is ruled by Siddig's character, Doran Martell. Also confirmed to appear in season five are Jessica Henwick, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers and Keisha Castle-Hughes, of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Whale Rider, as Oberyn's daughters, known as the dangerous "sand snakes."

The fifth season of Game of Thrones is scheduled to begin sometime in 2015.

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Ohio-Native Katie Holmes Talks About LeBron James's Return to Cleveland


Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- LeBron James can count Katie Holmes as a fan.

The actress, a Toledo native, may now live in New York City with her daughter, Suri Cruise, but she's excited that King James is returning to her home state.

"I've been visiting my family in Ohio, and we're so happy as Ohioans that LeBron [James] is coming back!" she told People. "It's a really big deal for our state, and it's so cool of him."

Holmes, 35, has a big summer ahead of her work-wise: Her new film The Giver hits theaters on August 15.

However, she is still making time for fun, too. She and Suri may take surfing lessons with surfer Courtney Conlogue.

"I hope she's got a lot of time … and patience," Holmes, a self-described "risk-taker," said. "I've never surfed before... [but] it'll be really fun!"

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Which "Orange Is the New Black" Star Isn't Returning For Season 3?


Ali Goldstein for Netflix(NEW YORK) -- Prepare yourselves, Orange Is the New Black fans: One of the show's original actors won't be returning for season three.

Pablo Schreiber, who plays hated corrections officer George Mendez, is leaving.

"I’m not taking part in the third season," he told the New York Post. "I’m a member of a show called The Brink that’s going to be on HBO. It’s a half-hour comedy with Jack Black and Tim Robbins and me [as] the three leads. I’m really excited about it."

Schreiber, 36, added that while he's loved working on the series with creator Jenji Kohan, the opportunity to star in a TV show was too good to pass up.

On Orange, he didn't get as much screen time.

"I’m not a part of the third season of Orange Is the New Black, but going forward after that, we just don’t know," he said. "I would go anywhere that [Kohan’s] working, and I know that our paths will cross again soon, whether it’s on Orange or on a future project."

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"Hercules," "Lucy," "And So It Goes" Open Friday


Paramount(NEW YORK) -- Here's a look at the new movies opening nationwide Friday:

Hercules -- Dwayne Johnson is the second actor this year to take on the role of the Greek hero, after Kellan Lutz in The Legend of Hercules. Johnson's Hercules goes to battle in a civil war to return the rightful king to his throne. Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes and Irina Shayk also star in the Brett Ratner-directed film. Rated PG-13.

Lucy -- Scarlett Johansson is a woman who gains great power, thanks to her ability to utilize more of her brain's capacity than the average human. Morgan Freeman also stars. Rated R.

And So It Goes -- Michael Douglas plays Oren, a man who suddenly has to care for the nine-year-old granddaughter he didn't know existed. Diane Keaton co-stars in the Rob Reiner-directed film as Oren's neighbor. Rated PG-13.

And opening in limited release:

Magic in the Moonlight -- In Woody Allen's 50th film as a director, Colin Firth plays a magician who tries to expose a psychic -- Emma Stone's character -- as a fake in 1920s France. Eileen Atkins, Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater, Simon McBurney and Jacki Weaver also star in the romantic comedy. Rated PG-13.

The Fluffy Movie --
Stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias performs during his Unity Through Laughter tour. Rated PG-13.

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Kelsey Grammer Stars Opposite Martin Lawrence in New FX Series


Byron Cohen/FX(NEW YORK) -- Kelsey Grammer is headed back to the small screen in a new TV comedy, Partners, on FX. He stars as an attorney who partners with another lawyer, played by fellow comic actor Martin Lawrence.

"It's a good pairing and we're good together," Grammer said on Friday's Live with Kelly and Michael. "We have completely different styles and somehow I think it took us a little while to find the sweet spot in it."

"You know, there's the whole 'ebony and ivory' thing," Grammer said, referring to the characters' difference races. "But we honestly don't play up much to that. It's really about they have differences of opinion about how to approach the law. And Martin's kind of a do-gooder but he's making no money. That's the problem. And I'm kind of a shark and a shyster, but I've made some money."

The thrice-divorced actor quipped that he didn't have to do any research for the role, thanks to all his time spent in divorce court.

"I have had a lot of second-hand research for a long time," he added. "I'd say I'm as expert as any guy I know."

FX's Partners premieres on Aug. 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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Mark Hamill Discusses Being Back on "Star Wars" Set


Bruno Vincent/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Mark Hamill couldn't be more thrilled to be back playing Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode VII and he dished on what it's like to be back on set and with old friends such as Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.

"I never thought we'd come back. I still can't believe it's happening," Hamill told BBC News. "To go on to those sets that evoke so many memories, is just astonishing. I have real ties to this country [England], my son was born when we were making Empire Strikes Back...it just seems like an unexpected gift."

Hamill, 62, also updated fans on Ford's status. The actor was injured last month and suffered a broken leg.

Hamill was not on set at the time of the injury, but said, "It sounded terrible, but I hear he's doing really well. It'll take more than that to stop Harrison Ford."

Hamill also touched on working with the new cast.

"It's really about the new generation of characters, we are just there to lend our support and grow contractually obligated beards," he said. "These kids...they are so talented, I was just overwhelmed. They are also diverse. There are people I recognize like Andy Serkis and new people I'd never seen before. But they are so good, I am thinking about asking them for advice."

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San Diego Comic-Con Roundup: A Look at Thursday's Highlights


iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey made an unannounced landing Thursday at Comic-Con in San Diego along with Dark Knight trilogy director Christopher Nolan to promote their upcoming film, Interstellar.

It was both celebrities' first appearance at the annual geek mecca -- surprising considering Nolan's filmography. The director told the crowd, "I thought I'd see what the fuss was about" this time around.

McConaughey recalled the first time he met Nolan, describing a meeting at Nolan's home. "He doesn't say one word about any new film or me being in a role in it, it was just he and I talking," the actor says. "So I remember leaving there going, 'What the hell was that about? I'm not sure.' Anyway, evidently...he liked me," McConaughey said to laughs.

As for the film -- about space travel to find a new planet for mankind to live, according to the trailers -- neither man said much about the hush-hush plot.

Nolan spoke about his admiration for the spirit of exploration in the early days of the space program. McConaughey offered, "It's by far the most ambitious film that Mr. Nolan's ever directed. When you see it you'll see why."

Incidentally, Jeff Bridges isn't into spoilers, either. He was on hand to promote his own sci-fi movie, The Giver, to an audience of people who haven't seen it. "Going to the movies myself, I like to know as little as possible," Bridges said. "So it's tough....For me, it's challenging to try to entice people in without telling them too much."

[PHOTOS: Day 1 at Comic Con 2014]

Other Comic-Con highlights from Thursday included:

  • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson making his way through an adoring crowd to promote his upcoming Hercules -- for which he apparently bought hundreds of tickets so Comic-Con attendees could go, The Hollywood Reporter notes.
  • A close-up of Ben Affleck in Batman's cowl was tweeted by Zack Snyder ahead of the Saturday panel for his upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Oddly, considering Superman is a Warner Bros. -- not a Lucasfilm/Disney -- property, Snyder also made waves when he posted a picture of his Man of Steel, Henry Cavill, dressed as a Jedi. Given the Dark Side influence of the picture -- as evidenced by the red lightsaber -- some fans thought it could be a reference to the DC villain Darkseid.
  • Speaking of Star Wars, at a panel for Disney's upcoming animated series Star Wars: Rebels, an all-new trailer was released.
  • Marvel released a pre-production concept art poster for its upcoming Ant-Man specifically created for San Diego Comic-Con. In addition to teasing the hero's size-changing powers, the poster features the faces of Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd, who will play Dr. Hank Pym and Scott Lang -- the scientist who created the technology that gives Ant-Man his power, and the thief he taps to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. Marvel's panel -- always a must-see -- is Saturday.


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Movie Review: “Lucy” (Rated R)


Universal(NEW YORK) -- According to writer/director Luc Besson’s Lucy, if we were able to use 100 percent of our brains, we’d become Neo and the world would be our Matrix.  We’d be able to manipulate time, control people and change the configuration of our very cells.  Scarlett Johansson, as the title character, is able to do all of that and more, after she’s abducted, knocked out and wakes up with a bag of CPH4 surgically implanted in her stomach, which she’s forced to smuggle for some very nasty men.  The blue synthetic drug emulates a substance produced in the womb that gives a fetus the energy to survive.  When the bag breaks, the drug leaks into Lucy’s system, instantly endowing her with super powers -- or just a better brain.
 
Enter Morgan Freeman’s Professor Norman, a neuroscientist with lots of theories about how much, or really how little, we use of our brains.  While Lucy is being turned into an unwilling drug mule, Norman is lecturing at a Paris university about our untapped brain potential.  If we only use 10 percent of our brains, he says, what might we be able to do if we could access the remaining 90 percent?
 
Lucy is suddenly using more than 20 percent of her brain, enough to give her the ability to escape her captors and expertly handle a gun.  Her next move: go to a hospital and have a surgeon remove the bag of drugs from her belly, something she’s able to endure without anesthesia.  She then calls in a tip to a French police officer about the other drug mules, and which countries they will be entering.  Because Lucy wants the rest of the drugs for herself.
 
What does Professor Norman have to do with all this?  His research and theories serve as Lucy’s hypothetical blueprint for her transformation, and she needs his help.  I think.  It’s not really all that clear why she needs Norman and his colleagues -- since she’s becoming so intellectually superior to pretty much everyone, Lucy should be able to execute her plan without anyone’s help.  It’s a major flaw in a story I was absolutely rooting for, but I eventually realized I was rooting for a losing team.
 
Johansson uses 100 percent of her acting ability to breathe life into a character that deserved better treatment.  Lead roles for women in action movies are scarce, so kudos to Besson and company for trying to create something unique for one of Hollywood’s best -- but jeers to Besson and company as well for not allowing Lucy, a woman, to resolve this story without the help of men.  That would’ve been a nice statement.
 
Ultimately, Lucy devolves into something that doesn’t make much sense.  The good news is it starts out well and since it’s less than 90 minutes long, you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your time on a mindless second and third act.
 
Three out of five stars.

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Stan Lee Bows Out of San Diego Comic-Con Due to Laryngitis


Kevin Winter/Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) -- Stan Lee had to abruptly cancel his scheduled appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con due to a case of laryngitis.

The 91-year-old creator of Marvel heroes Spider-Man, Hulk, The Avengers and X-Men, among others, was due to make appearances and signings on Friday and Saturday.

A spokesperson for Lee says the comics legend is otherwise in good health.

Lee is still scheduled to appear at other upcoming conventions, including San Antonio’s Alamo City Comic-Con in September and his own get-together, Stan Lee's Comikaze, in October in Los Angeles.

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Alec Baldwin Appears in New York City Court, Then Tweets About It


Art Streiber/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Alec Baldwin was in a Manhattan court Thursday morning in connection with a May 13 incident in which the 30 Rock actor was stopped for riding his bike the wrong way down Fifth Avenue before being arrested by police for disorderly conduct, reports E! Online.

During the court appearance, the 56-year-old told the judge he'd rather pay a fine than apologize for getting a little "belligerent" during his run-in with the police.

Judge John Delury said to Baldwin, "Looks like you have a short fuse."  Then, the judge asked, "Can you stay out of trouble, Alexander?"

Baldwin responded, "Sure, sure."

The judge then gave him an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, which means the case against Baldwin will be dismissed if the actor avoids re-arrest for six months.

After court, Baldwin took to Twitter to share his thoughts about his meeting with the judge.  He tweeted, "NY City is a mismanaged carnival of stupidity that is desperate for revenue and anxious to criminalize behavior once thought benign."

 

NY City is a mismanaged carnival of stupidity that is desperate for revenue and anxious to criminalize behavior once thought benign.

— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) July 24, 2014



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On "Kimmel," Justin Theroux Laughs at "Star's" Aniston Wedding Story


Jason Merritt/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- On Thursday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live! Jimmy welcomed Justin Theroux, the fiance of Jennifer Aniston. Kimmel wondered why Theroux appeared on the show, considering Star magazine says the couple is getting married in Mexico Friday. For the record, they're not.

Theroux, currently on HBO's The Leftovers, laughed, saying you'd think the tabloids would look at his "itinerary [and say,] 'He's gonna be on Jimmy that night, so probably not.'"

The actor and screenwriter popped the question to the Friends alum in August of 2012. Officially, no wedding date has been set.  

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