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* Somewhere between a rumor an an actual story, the ‘net geek movie item of today has to have been the flurry of speculation around the notion of Harry Potter director David Yates taking on the two-film directing gig on “The Hobbit” recently vacated by Guillermo del Toro. The Playlist claims to know that Yates has actually been offered the position though, even if true, in Hollywood there are a millions slips twixt cup and lip, so to speak, and the fun debates over who would be available and appropriate for the job continue. My first response was that Yates, a highly competent craftsman, wasn’t really enough of a visionary for the gig but, considering that del Toro and Peter Jackson remain pretty deeply involved, perhaps they’ve got visionaries enough on that project.

* On a somewhat similar note, Robert Rodriguez has possibly been offered a shot at directing a Deadpool movie. Since I missed the Wolverine movie and haven’t read Marvel Comics in a very long time, I have no idea what this actually means. I’ll learn.

Deadpool_Wallpaper_by_Vulture34

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Harry Potter and the ginormous filmgoing hordes (updated)

We’ve got an early and rather light box office preview this week because only one new wide release is coming out. However, it’s already looking to be a doozy. Yes, it’s time for another highly profitable trip to Hogwarts with today’s (actually early as possible this morning’s) release of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

Anyhow, word of highly boffo early ticket sales outpacing the midnight opening of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” has proven out. Estimates of the Wednesday morning midnight take are roughly $20 million, says Variety and Nikki Finke. THR‘s Carl DiOrio wrote yesterday of roughly a $140 million five day gross and $100 million weekend. However, perhaps taking the fact that the $20 million figure beats both the Wednesday midnight opening of “The Dark Knight” by $2 million and “Transformers” by $4 million, the diviners reporting to Finke are telling her to expect $175-190 million, but with a $90-$100 million weekend a la DiOrio.

[UPDATE: The midnight gross turned out to be an even more whopping, more record breaking $22.2 million. Nikki Finke is now talking about the possibility of the fantasy flick breaking the $200 million mark in its first five days.]

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Monday Night Quickies

Not that kind of quicky. I’m referring to brief links to stuff around the interwebs, tonight with a geeky edge.

* The “actuals” are in on the weekend box office race. The “Transformers” sequel won by a wafer thin half a million smackers, dang it.

* I’m not sure how this started, but my pattern on the “Harry Potter” franchise has been to read the books just before the films come out. To avoid spoilers for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (I’m on page 139 and the story’s barely begun), I’m not reading any reviews right now. Thanks to the miracle of Rotten Tomatoes I can nevertheless say that the reviews for the film thereof are looking quite good thus far. That’s a good thing because director David Yates is finishing out the series, which seems to be wrapping up much better than it started. The choice of Yates, a specialist in TV miniseries, to wrap up the films makes a lot of sense, especially since that’s essentially what the Potter movies are — the most expensive miniseries ever made.

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