Whitney Houston is set to return to the big screen for the first time in 15 years for Sparkle, a remake of the 1976 drama based on the real-life tale of Diana Ross and The Supremes (yes, kind of like Dreamgirls, only Sparkle came first). The story follows the rise and fall of fictional girl group Sister & the Sisters, the members of which find their personal lives falling apart even as their act reaches ever higher levels of fame and success.

Houston, who’s also set to executive produce, will play the “not-so-encouraging” mother of the girls in the band. Houston has actually been attached to the project since back when it was supposed to star Aaliyah, who passed away in 2001. Also in the cast are Jordin Sparks making her cinematic debut in the title role, and Mike Epps in the part of destructive comedian Satin. Salim Akil (Jumping the Broom) is set to direct the feature from a script by his wife Mara Brock Akil. [Movieline]

After the jump: Dustin Hoffman snags some fine British talent (including two notable Harry Potter actors) for his directorial debut, and Twilight star Ashley Greene signs on for a weird, “ultra-modern” version of a Charles Dickens classic.

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What happens when a studio dedicates a decade to adapting one of the most popular novel series in the world, and does so with an eye for quality? In the case of Harry Potter, the result is a massive payoff. Warner Bros. upset its own record for the biggest domestic opening weekend box office take, set by The Dark Knight in 2008, as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 opened to a $168.5 million domestic haul and earned nearly half a billion dollars worldwide. Read the numbers below. Read More »

The full theatrical trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has hit a bit early this evening. The eighth film in the Harry Potter series depicts the Battle of Hogwarts and the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort. The trailer, appropriately, promises a conclusion on a massive scale. Check it out after the break. Read More »

Movie Trailer: Gnomeo & Juliet

Gnomeo & Juliet isn’t a bad concept. What if garden gnomes came to life when people aren’t around kind of like the toys in Toy Story. The idea is to use this concept to introduce Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet to kids. The film appears to go wrong is in the execution. The computer animated film has a very Dreamworks vibe to it, complete with unfunny popculture references. Gnomeo & Juliet features the music of Elton John and the voice work of James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Jason Statham, Maggie Smith, Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters, and Ozzy Osbourne. It should be mentioned that Kelly Asbury, who last directed Shrek 2, helmed this movie.

Asbury started on the Disney film The Black Cauldron, and worked as an artist on The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Toy Story and Shrek. Before Shrek 2, Asbury made her feature directorial debut with the 2D Dreamworks film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.

Watch the trailer now embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Dustin Hoffman to Direct Quartet

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Dustin Hoffman may be ready to make his directorial debut. He’s in talks to helm Quartet, which is being written by Ronald Harwood based on his play by the same name. The story is about an aging, retired intelligence agent who has to fend off violent attacks by younger, better armed operatives. Oops. Wait. That’s the story for Red, the movie with Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and many more. This one is about elderly opera singers. Close enough? The cast is great, and the names are after the break. Read More »

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