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Quick Takes: $24-million start for 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1'

November 20, 2010

The boy wizard couldn't beat the teen vampires.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1" sold

$24 million in tickets in its debut late Thursday night with shows that started at or soon after midnight, according to an estimate from Warner Bros.

That's $1.8 million more than the last movie in the series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," brought in from midnight shows when it debuted in June 2009. It's well short, however, of the record set in July by "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," which grossed more than $30 million during its late-night launch.

In fact, "Deathly Hallows" is the No. 3 midnight opening of recent years, also coming up behind November 2009's "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," which kicked off its opening weekend with $26.3 million.

—Ben Fritz

'Hurt Locker' suit proceeds

A judge has ruled that a lawsuit by an Iraq war vet against the makers of the Academy Award-winning film "The Hurt Locker" can proceed, but in a different venue.

U.S. District Judge Dennis Cavanaugh's ruling published Friday shifts the case from New Jersey to California. The judge denied the defendants' motion to dismiss the suit.

The lawsuit was brought last spring by Master Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver, an Army bomb disposal expert. Sarver claims that the film's lead character is based on him and that he was given no credit or compensation.

Screenwriter Mark Boal wrote about Sarver in an article published in Playboy magazine in 2005. Boal has said the film was a work of fiction.

Among the defendants in the suit are Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow.

—Associated Press

CBS cancels 'Medium'

Did Allison Dubois see this one coming?

After seven seasons, two networks and more than 125 episodes, CBS has finally pulled the plug on "Medium," the crime drama about suburban mom Dubois (Patricia Arquette) who helps solve mysteries with her psychic gifts. Its last original episode will air Jan. 21.

"Medium" has had a fairly tumultuous scheduling and production history, with five time slots on two networks. NBC premiered the series, where it was initially a strong performer on Mondays. But ratings began slipping during Season 2. When NBC axed the show in May 2009, CBS immediately picked it up for its Friday night lineup, where last year it averaged 9.1 million viewers at 9 p.m., according to the Nielsen Co. But this year, at 8 p.m., ratings have sunk to 7.3 million viewers.

—Scott Collins

Day-Lewis to star as Lincoln

Daniel Day-Lewis will tackle the part of Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's long-anticipated biopic about the 16th president.

At one point, Liam Neeson was supposed to star in the film, but in August the actor said he was no longer attached because he was past his "sell-by date." He's 58, and Lincoln was assassinated at 56. Lewis, the star of such films as "There Will Be Blood," "My Left Foot" and "Nine," is 53.

The DreamWorks film, whose screenplay was written by Tony Kushner, will center on Lincoln and his Cabinet during the final stages of the Civil War. Production is to begin next fall, with a release planned for the end of 2012.

—Amy Kaufman

Górecki tape

to be broadcast

Henryk Górecki, the great Polish composer who died last week, was known to have conducted his famed Symphony No. 3 ("Symphony of Sorrowful Songs") only twice — once in Poland and once (to the memorable amazement of the music world and maybe to Górecki himself) with a student orchestra at USC, on Oct. 3, 1997.

A tape of that performance has been located in the archives of KUSC-FM (91.5), which will broadcast the performance at 4:30 p.m. Saturday as a memorial to the composer.

—Mark Swed

Danes to star in Showtime series

Claire Danes, who recently won an Emmy for HBO's "Temple Grandin," has been signed to star in a new Showtime drama, "Homeland," which will begin production in January.

The series revolves around an American soldier taken prisoner during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. After being left for dead, the soldier returns to the U.S. after spending many years in captivity. Danes will play Carrie Anderson, a CIA officer battling psychological demons who becomes convinced that something is not right and that the returning soldier might be connected to an Al Qaeda plot to be carried out on American soil.

The role of the soldier will be cast shortly, Showtime executives said.

—Greg Braxton

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