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'Breaking Dawn' and 'Harry Potter' two of the most newsworthy movies of 2011

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Joel Ryan/AP

(Read caption) 'Breaking Dawn' was expected to score big at the box office but has been performing even better than expected, currently the number 3 earner in box office standings.

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In the last News Bites of the year, it would be remiss of me not to talk about some of the most newsworthy films of the year – or, at least, films that, in my opinion, deserve a mention.

This has been a year of film farewells, and no one did it better than one of the most loved movie franchises of all time. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II was the perfect ending to this series. It had action. It had drama. It had romance. In short, it was epic. The acting was fantastic, and the moviemakers did wonderful job of bringing J.K. Rowling’s books to life. I will be the first to admit that I’m a latecomer to this series. But this is the film of the series that sealed my love for it. And if you can watch the last five minute without smiling, then I think we need to have a talk.

Another beloved film franchise, The Twilight Saga, began its final run with Breaking Dawn Part 1. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of this series but even I’ve been stunned at the money it’s earned in just a few short weeks of release. I’ll put it this way – every single opening night screening was sold out at all of my local theaters. That’s a whole lot of Team Edward/Team Jacob love right there.

I’m hoping that one movie that has to do with money racks up big-time during awards season. I loved Moneyball, and Brad Pitt’s performance in it deserves some recognition. Sometimes you can’t just throw money at a problem to fix it. Sometimes it takes some creative thinking. And I appreciate Pitt portraying all of the aggravation that goes along with trying to fix a problem like that and the pride when you finally get it right. I’m thinking it will be Pitt, along with Ryan Gosling for Drive and George Clooney for The Descendants in the Outstanding Actor races.

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