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'Airbender' tax credit shows how far states will go to woo filmmakers

Pennsylvania film officials were understandably eager to have the "The Last Airbender" shoot in their state.

The $150-million movie would burnish Pennsylvania's reputation as a growing film hub and provide work for hundreds of crew members. A former Navy seaplane hangar in Philadelphia would be converted into one of the largest soundstages on the Eastern Seaboard as part of the project.

They also had the film's director, M. Night Shyamalan, in their corner. Shyamalan grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia and has long favored Pennsylvania as a location, shooting half a dozen of his films there, including "The Sixth Sense."

There was one problem. The 2010 film would be driven by digital effects, and Paramount Pictures wanted to have them produced at George Lucas' Industrial Light

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'Fury' pushes 'Gone Girl' from top spot at box office

The new World War II film “Fury” starring Brad Pitt battled to the top of the weekend box office, pulling in an estimated $23.5 million in the U.S. and Canada and pushing “Gone Girl” out of the No. 1 spot.

Strong reviews and word of mouth propelled "Fury." As of Sunday, the film had notched an 80% positive rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. It received an A-minus grade from audience polling firm CinemaScore.

About 60% of the audience was male, and about 51% was older than 35.

"Fury," which was backed by Sony's Columbia Pictures with QED International and LStar Capital, cost about $68 million to make.

“We’re so proud of this film…. It’s a really good start for us,” said Rory Bruer, distribution president for Sony Pictures. “It’s a film that’s going to provoke discussion, and I think people who would maybe not be the first on the list to go see a movie about war will be really blown away by it.”

The David Ayer-directed film follows Sgt. Don Collier (Pitt), who leads a U.S...

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'The Walking Dead' premiere rises past 22 million viewers with DVR views

“The Walking Dead’s” attack on TV ratings just got bigger.

The AMC drama already had industry folks marveling with its fifth season premiere performance, with a series-record of  17.3 million that made it the night’s top program (even coming out ahead of NBC's Sunday night NFL game).

Now comes word that the zombie drama has cemented its ratings grip in the first round of its time-shifting reports for the season, which were made available Friday.

The drama rose 29% to 22.37 million viewers when time-shifted viewing over three days is factored in—making it the most watched non-sports telecast in cable history. Zoom out further, and it registered a 10% improvement from the comparable number last season.

And it seems the advertiser-desired 18-49 demo was especially interested in the neck-splitting action. When DVR numbers were factored in, the drama drew 14.5 million viewers, up 32% from the original airing. That gave its demo rating a siginificant boost to a whopping 11.7, outpacing...

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'Fury' grosses $1.2 million in Thursday night showings

The World War II film "Fury" starring Brad Pitt pulled in $1.2 million in Thursday night showings, putting it on track to top the box office this weekend.

The $68-million war movie, backed by Columbia Pictures with QED International and LStar Capital, opened in 2,489 locations Thursday night.

By comparison, the George Clooney war film "Monuments Men" opened to $550,000 in Thursday night showtimes in February.

Box-office forecasters said the latest Pitt action filmcould take in up to $30 million in ticket sales through Sunday in the U.S. and Canada.  

As of Friday, the film had notched a 76% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Nicholas Sparks' movie adaptation "The Best of Me" grossed $525,000 at Thursday night showings in 2,936 theaters in the U.S.

The film, which cost about $26 million to make, is the third Sparks adaptation for Relativity Media, which partnered with Sparks and DiNovi Productions for this release. Relativity said its exposure for the film is $5 million.

The romantic...

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TV ratings: CBS wins with football; ABC stays strong with 'TGIT'

ABC's Thursday night block of Shonda Rhimes shows continues to dominate the ratings, according to Nielsen.

"Scandal," the political drama starring Kerry Washington, was the most watched non-sports program of the night in the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

The show, part of ABC's "TGIT" ("Thank God It's Thursday") lineup, earned a rating of 2.9 in the key demo, making it second to Thursday Night Football on CBS. With about 9.8 million viewers, the show was also second most watched overall. 

The network's new Rhimes show, "How to Get Away With Murder" fell 13% from last week but still nabbed the No. 3 spot in the key demographic and overall. The Viola Davis-starring show earned a rating of 2.7 in the key demographic and averaged 9.7 million viewers.

For the fourth consecutive week this fall season, ABC's Thursday was up from the same night last year in total viewers and adults. The network was second overall and in the key demographic, averaging 9.3 million viewers and a rating of...

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CBS offers streaming service, a day after HBO's action

The Internet video streaming business suddenly is a lot more crowded — and messy.

CBS became the latest programming giant to launch a subscription service that, for $5.99 a month, will enable viewers to stream live television and access on-demand shows like "NCIS" and "The Good Wife." It follows HBO's groundbreaking announcement that it will offer a stand-alone streaming service next year.

This is a win for consumers who are tired of paying hefty cable bills for hundreds of channels, some that they barely watch. The moves by HBO and CBS demonstrate how Hollywood's programming lions are determined to continue their dominance into the digital era rather than retreat to the sidelines.

Wall Street received the message.

Investors dumped shares of Netflix, long considered the leader in video streaming, at a breakneck pace. After missing its third-quarter growth targets, the stock plunged 20% on Thursday to $361.70, wiping out billions of dollars in market value in just a matter of hours.

The...

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