Catch up on your holiday news with Deadline’s best film stories of the week:

Hobbit 2 box officeChristmas Box Office: Weekend Up 10% On More Movies In Marketplace, ‘Hobbit,’ ‘Frozen,’ Together Take 34% Out Of Weekend, ‘Anchorman 2,’ ‘Hustle,’ ‘Wolf’ Follow
By Anita Busch – What a weekend. Box office was up overall about 10% from a year earlier Christmas weekend and may just slightly surpass last year’s overall record of $10.8B, according to Rentrak, to a bit over $10.9B. It’s actually just around 1% ahead so let’s not get all breathless here as there are simply more movies in the marketplace this year and ticket price and attendance figures are not yet available.

Year-End: Will Big Media Companies Hit Their Stride, Or Their Peak, In 2014?
By David Lieberman – People in and around the media business stock market may look at 2013 as the calm before the storm. The Dow Jones Media Index, up nearly 39% this year (as of mid-December), is the highest it’s been in at least a decade while stock prices are at or near all-time highs for industry leaders including CBS, Comcast, Discovery Communications, Disney, Netflix, and Viacom.

OSCARS: Ballots Are Out And The Race Is On, But Will Voters See The Movies In Time?
By Pete Hammond – OK Oscar voters, the pressure is on. Ballots are in the mail — or should we say email – as of today, and the Academy has been bending over backwards to make sure everything is going to go smoothly this year after a well-documented bumpy inaugural ride with electronic voting last season.

Brad Pitt - 12 Years a Slave posterItalian Distributor Apologizes After Recalling ‘12 Years A Slave’ Posters
By The Deadline Team – BIM Distribuzione has officially apologized for the 12 Years A Slave posters in Italy that featured more Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender than the film’s main star Chiwetel Ejiofor – ones that were unauthorized by Summit and Lionsgate.

OSCARS: Sundance Selects Ramps Up ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Star’s Best Actress Bid (Video)
By Pete Hammond – At just 19 years old, new French acting sensation Adele Exarchopoulos became the youngest winner ever of the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or when the jury — led by Steven Spielberg — made an unprecedented move this past spring. It awarded not only Blue Is The Warmest Color‘s director Abdellatif Kechiche the festival’s top prize as is the norm, but in a surprise move also its two extraordinary stars (Lea Seydoux rounded out the trio onstage at the Palais).

WGA West & Scribe Sued For Fraud By Nu Image/Millennium Over ‘Expendables’ Credit
By Dominic Patten – There might be one less name on the credits for The Expendables 3 if Millennium Films and Nu Image get their way. The producers have taken the Writers Guild of America West and scribe David Callaham to court this week for fraud, unjust enrichment and declaratory relief over the original Expendables. They claim a flawed and misinformed 2009 Guild arbitration gave the writer undeserved credit on the successful Sylvester Stallone-directed retro action pic as well as its sequels.

‘Dhoom 3′ Sets New Worldwide Records For A Bollywood Film
By Nancy Tartaglione – Indian actioner Dhoom 3 has set new benchmarks for a Bollywood movie at home and abroad. Distributor Yash Raj Films made a calculated decision not to release the movie with Thursday night previews and to instead go out day-and-date in key markets on Friday, increasing the frenzy surrounding the title.

Fast & Furious 7 release dateUniversal Sets ‘Fast & Furious 7′ Release For April 2015; Paul Walker Remains Front And Center In The Sequel
By Jen Yamato – Universal has formally announced the new 2015 release date for Fast & Furious 7, after Vin Diesel revealed it on his Facebook page. The studio has also given a sense that the late Paul Walker’s character will remain part of the movie, an outcome that was among the wildly speculative reporting that followed his tragic death in a car crash.

Jared Leto Talks ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ And “Finding The Voice”
By Anna Lisa Raya – After a six-year break—during which he wrote and directed a documentary (2012’s Artifact) and toured the world with his band (30 Seconds to Mars)—Jared Leto dug deep to portray Rayon, a transgendered woman battling AIDS and drug addiction, in Dallas Buyers Club.

OSCARS Q&A: Alexander Payne Returns Home For ‘Nebraska’
By Anna Lisa Raya – Much has been written about the decades-long journey Nebraska took to the big screen. For director Alexander Payne—who spent a year of that time just scouting locations in his home state—the gap allowed him to distance himself from his other road-trip movie, Sideways, and get Paramount behind his desire to shoot in black-and-white (having 2011’s well-received, George Clooney-starrer The Descendants under his belt surely helped).

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