Magical Box-Office Weekend for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" 

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the sixth-installment of the super popular series, continues to spread magic at the box-office. The fantasy film took in $79.5 million for the weekend, and $159.7 million since its debut Wednesday.

The sixth movie came in $20 million ahead of the last film, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" which took in $139.7 million in its first five days two years ago. It's second only to "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" to have the highest box-office start for a Wednesday debut.

Meanwhile, the huge robots had to settle for No. 3 this weekend with $13.8 million right after "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" which took in $17.7 million putting it at the No. 2 spot.

The previous No. 1 film, "Bruno" plummeted to No. 4 with $8.4 million, down a whopping 73 percent!

Here's the Top 10 films at the box-office for weekend of July 17th:

1. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," $79.5 million.

2. "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," $17.7 million.

3. "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," $13.8 million.

4. "Bruno," $8.4 million.

5. "The Hangover," $8.32 million.

6. "The Proposal," $8.3 million.

7. "Public Enemies," $7.6 million.

8. "Up," $3.1 million.

9. "My Sister's Keeper," $2.8 million.

10. "I Love You, Beth Cooper," $2.7 million.

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Russell Crowe to Set Sail in New "Master & Commander" Film? 

Russell Crowe is in early talks to reprise the role of British sea captain Jack Aubrey in a new movies based on the "Master & Commander" series of novels by Patrick O'Brian.

A script has been written and it's based mostly on the eleventh novel of the series called "The Reverse of the Medal."

Crowe starred in the original 2003 film "Master & Commander" which was based on several novels of the O'Brian-written series.

The actor gave no indication on when the production will begin and was just heard saying, "there's still a long way to go."

Meaning -- he's probably not happy with the script and would like a rewrite.

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You've Read it, Now Watch it! "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" Movie Review! It's Quite Magical! 

Here's my "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" movie review.

If you want to read my in-depth take on the film, as well as the differences between the book and the movie, click here. Caution, there are many spoilers in that post.

For now, enjoy my magical review, and see why I'm calling this "Harry Potter" the best of the franchise!

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"

Warner Bros. Pictures

Directed by David Yates
Produced by David Heyman, David Barron
Written by Screenplay: Steve Kloves
Novel: J. K. Rowling

Daniel Radcliffe
Rupert Grint
Emma Watson
Michael Gambon
Jim Broadbent
Alan Rickman
Tom Felton
Helen McCrory

Music by Nicholas Hooper
Themes John Williams

Cinematography Bruno Delbonnel
Editing by Mark Day
Studio Heyday Films
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date: July 15, 2009
Running time 153 minutes

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The Great "Straw Dogs" to be Remade with "True Blood" Star 

Sam Peckinpah's 1971 masterpiece is getting a remake makeover!

Screen Gems has attached Kate Bosworth ("Superman Returns") and Alexander Skarsgard ("True Blood") to star alongside James Marsden (he and Bosworth co-starred in "Superman Returns") in this remake.

The fantastic Rod Lurie ("Nothing but the Truth") wrote the script and is set to direct.

In the original, Dustin Hoffman starred as David Sumner who comes to rural England with his English wife. There, the couple face vicious harassment from the locals. It's nail-biting drama at its best, shown with the trademark Peckinpah style.

In the remake, Marsden will play the David Sumner character, but this time, he and his wife (Bosworth) are relocating to her hometown in Mississippi. Gothic south replaces England in this film.

Skarsgard will play Bosworth's high school sweetheart who sees the return of his ex-girlfriend as a way to reclaim victory.

The original has shades of social commentary, and I highly expect Lurie to capture its tone and spirit!

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"Taken" Director's Next Movie Will Be... 

Pierre Morel, the guy who gave us the hit "Taken" has been pursued by Universal Pictures for the action-thriller "Pursuit."

This is based on real-life events revolving around the early career of conflict photographer Jason Howe.

(Click here to see Howe's conflict pictures)

"Pursuit" will focus on Howe's involvement with a woman in Colombia who turned out to be an assassin.

Wow, intriguing! And this happened in real life!

Morel tells Variety, "Aside from the d.p. and camerawork, I have been shooting still photography since I was a kid and have been fascinated by the reportage in war zones."

"If I'd been courageous enough, I might have done that myself. There is the sentimental side of a man in love, and a journalist trying not to become involved in the story he is covering."

As far as the inevitable "Taken" sequel is concerned? Morel and producer Luc Besson are taking their sweet time to come up with a plot worthy of a follow-up. The big question -- who will be "taken" this time, and how can lead actor Liam Neeson get involved?

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