"The Lego Movie" is in the top slot at the worldwide box office for the third consecutive weekend, bringing in $54.55 million during the weekend up to Sunday, February 23, 2014. The Warner Bros. movie, currently in theaters in 49 territories, has now grossed $275.66 million in total since its release, amply making up for its $60 million budget. According to Rentrak, "The Lego Movie" was just ahead of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," at the global box office this weekend.
By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California state senator was expected to surrender to federal authorities on Monday to face charges that he took bribes from a businessman and from undercover FBI agents posing as Hollywood film executives to steer legislation in their favor. Democrat Ron Calderon was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on two dozen counts of bribery, fraud, money laundering and other charges. Prosecutors gave the 56-year-old lawmaker, member of a family political dynasty going back several decades in California, until Monday to turn himself in. He was scheduled for an arraignment in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon.
LONDON (AP) — Alice Herz-Sommer, believed to be the oldest Holocaust survivor, died at age 110 on Sunday, a family member said. The accomplished pianist's death came just a week before her extraordinary story of surviving two years in a Nazi prison camp through devotion to music and her son is up for an Oscar.
It may be one of the best years in recent memory for high-quality Hollywood film, but two-thirds of Americans have yet to see any of the movies nominated for the best picture Oscar, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday. The Academy Awards will be hosted by comedian Ellen DeGeneres on March 2. Among those who responded to the online survey, Somali piracy thriller "Captain Phillips" was the most-watched film, at 15 percent. The outer-space drama "Gravity" was second with 14 percent, while crime caper "American Hustle" and "The Wolf of Wall Street," Martin Scorsese's portrait of 1990s greed and excess, each had been seen by 12 percent of those surveyed.
By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - "The Lego Movie," an animated film that depicts a world based on the colorful toy blocks, collected $31.5 million to lead U.S. and Canadian box office charts for a third consecutive weekend. The new Kevin Costner spy thriller "3 Days to Kill" was a distant second after pulling in $12.3 million for the period from Friday to Sunday, according to studio estimates. The big-budget Roman-era disaster movie "Pompeii" generated ticket sales of $10 million in its first week in theaters to claim the No. 3 spot. "RoboCop," a remake of the 1987 science fiction film about a part-man, part-cyborg crime fighter, was fourth with sales of $9.4 million, according to studio estimates provided by box office tracking firm Rentrak.
By Piya Sinha-Roy LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When Jennifer Lawrence tripped on her way to accept her best actress Oscar last year, her blush pink princess-like Dior Haute Couture gown was captured in all its glory as the unscripted moment made ripples around the world. That bonus air-time for a single dress at one of the world's premier global events is priceless for the likes of Dior, one of the strongest fashion houses in the cutthroat marketplace that the Oscars red carpet is today. The red carpet, which will be televised live before the March 2 Academy Awards ceremony, presents "a great and free opportunity" for a designer to reach an audience that expands beyond the fashion set, said Ariel Foxman, editor of fashion magazine InStyle. "Advertising dollars are so expensive, and marketing budgets are so fractured these days with social media, digital media, print media and television media, so it's more valuable than ever." One way of estimating the monetary benefits of having a standout dress on the red carpet is to compare how much a brand would otherwise spend on commercial advertising during the same time, said Milton Pedraza, chief executive officer of the Luxury Group Institute, a consulting firm.
By Mary Milliken PASADENA, California (Reuters) - Comedian and actor Kevin Hart won the coveted Entertainer of the Year at the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, while Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker was honored with awards for both his career and his latest role as a White House butler. One week before the Academy Awards, one of the frontrunners for best picture "12 Years a Slave" won the best motion picture award for the real-life story of an American slave, while newcomer Lupita Nyong'o won best supporting actress for her first film role in the brutal drama. The Image Awards organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are considered the top entertainment honors from an African American point of view and brought together a star-studded crowd that included talk show host and media magnate Oprah Winfrey, British actor Idris Elba and actress Kerry Washington. The NAACP paid tribute to the late South African president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela with a presentation from Winfrey, who opened a girls school in South Africa to honor the statesman, and a musical performance by Stevie Wonder.
By Piya Sinha-Roy HOLLYWOOD (Reuters) - When Hollywood was its own little town at the start of the 20th century, it banned movie theatres and liquor, except for medicinal purposes (wink, wink). Today, Hollywood is at the crossroads of creativity and business, generating $35 billion a year at the global film box office and drawing 40 million tourists annually. It's not all debauchery and late-night clubbing in Hollywood, although there is a lot of that. Whether you are hip and gorgeous or trying to get there, an aspiring actor or couch-bound film critic, here are tips to experience Hollywood from Reuters, whose 2,600 journalists around the world offer visitors the best local insights.
"Fifty Shades of Grey" has wrapped! Shooting on the film has been completed, according to E L James, author of the erotic trilogy, which inspired the movie. "One of us is drinking... It's a wrap," she captioned a photo posted on Instagram on Friday night, showing her holding a cup while posing with "Fifty Shades" director Sam Taylor-Johnson. Dana Brunetti, a producer on the Dakota Johnson/Jamie Dornan-led film, also Tweeted about wrapping the movie.
By Ronald Grover LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Joe Newcomb, a failed minor league baseball player who struck it rich as a Texas chemical trader, will be among those crossing their fingers in the Dolby Theatre audience on March 2 when the Academy Awards are handed out. Newcomb financed scrappy best picture Oscar contender "Dallas Buyers Club." In the category of film financiers, he'll be joined by Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison's daughter Megan, who provided funds for "American Hustle" and "Her," by "12 Years a Slave" backer Bill Pohlad, whose family owns the Minnesota Twins baseball team, and financiers who assembled investors in Asia and the Middle East to back "The Wolf of Wall Street." There have always been oil men and others eager to invest in Hollywood, the last few years indicate they are playing an increasingly important role in financing Oscar contenders. Five of the nine films nominated for best picture this year made it to the big screen with the help of investors who are outside the Hollywood studios.