Box office: Manchester by the Sea leads a pack of Oscar hopefuls in limited release in an otherwise slow week


There was very little change among the top ten movies at the box office this week.

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Box office: Moana sails to the top of the charts


Disney added another film to its growing list of box-office hits this week.

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Box office: Fantastic Beasts underperforms Harry Potter in North America but outperforms it elsewhere


J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world came roaring back to the big screen this week.

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The Shack moves its release date from August to November


The Shack has blinked.

The film version of William P. Young’s novel was originally set to come out on August 12 — but then, a few months ago, another movie based on a best-selling novel that features Jesus as a supporting character, i.e. Ben-Hur, claimed that date.

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Newsbites: The spin-offs and re-hashes edition!

Remember when there was talk of turning The Tales of Beedle the Bard into a movie? Well, it turns out the inevitable Harry Potter spin-off movie will actually be based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, one of two Hogwarts “textbooks” that J.K. Rowling released in 2001. The book was credited to Newt Scamander, a wizard born in 1897 who worked on his book between 1918 and 1927 — and it sounds like the film will take place during this period.

It’s worth noting that Rowling herself will write the screenplay for this film; all of the previous movies were based on her books but were adapted by other writers. Also, the first film in this new series will be set in New York; it is tempting to suggest that Rowling has finally given in to studio pressure to Americanize her very-British series, but Scamander supposedly traveled “across five continents” to research his book, so this could very easily turn out to be a globe-trotting series like the James Bond or Indiana Jones films.

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Rowling quickies are reasonable fix for Potter junkies

Quidditch Through the Ages / Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
J.K. Rowling
Raincoast Books

To the great disappointment of her many young fans, J.K. Rowling has admitted that there will be no new Harry Potter novels this year. Between consulting on the movie version of her first book, due later this year, and promoting her last book, the massive Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, she just hasn’t had time to finish the next installment.

But to keep her readers happy, Rowling has turned out two quickies, a pair of tiny books that are, supposedly, replicas of texts used by the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And while Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them obviously aren’t as exciting as a new story would be, these books do exhibit the same black humour and cheerful absurdism that make the original novels so much fun to read. They also provide an intriguing glimpse into the history and politics of the wizarding world.

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