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The Newsdesk 01.19.09 – Brooklyn’s Finest Nabs First Sundance Sale; Paul Blart Guards Box Office

• The Richard Gere/Ethan Hawke/Don Cheadle cop drama Brooklyn’s Finest was the first sale at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend, scooped up by Senator Entertainment. Directed by Antonie Fuqua, it’s like Training Day meets Training Day

Paul Blart: Mall Cop was this weekend’s surprise box office champ, beating out Gran Torino and the remake of My Bloody Valentine with $33.8 million. In this era of uncertainty, it seems what audiences most want is a big dumb comedy where Kevin James rides around on a little scooter and gets hurt a lot.

• Joaquin Phoenix seems to be serious about giving up acting to pursue a rap music career, performing in full beard over the weekend at a Las Vegas club with brother-in-law Casey Affleck on hand filming the proceedings. Methinks we are all being “punk’d.”

• Spike Lee spilled details about Inside Man 2 cast and plot changes while at the Sundance Film Festival. The biggest surprise is original writer Russell Gerwitz’s script is getting tossed out. Hopefully this isn’t a surprise to Gerwitz.

• While many celebs are in Washington for the presidential inauguration, Sundance still had its fair share of stars like Zooey Deschanel, Ewan McGregor, and Paris Hilton in attendance. Our celebrity resources are dangerously close to being tapped out, people.

• While America comes together in D.C., SAG leadership is more divided than ever in Hollywood. Come on guys, this is a new era of togetherness.

• Patrick Swayze is back home from the hospital after being treated for pneumonia.

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