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On The Lot: Box office winners, Benedict Cumberbatch and more

Benedict Cumberbatch (L) and director Bill Condon of
Benedict Cumberbatch (L) and director Bill Condon of "The Fifth Estate."
The Fifth Estate

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Time for On The Lot, our weekly look at the business of entertainment with Nicole Sperling of the LA Times. 

How did "12 Years A Slave" do at the box office? Wasn't there a concern that the film was going to be too dark for audiences?

Another film based on real events came out last Friday, "The Fifth Estate," the story of Wikileaks' Julian Assange. Benedict Cumberbatch is the lead character. Was he a big draw for this movie? How'd he become so popular? He's also in "12 Years A Slave," what is his character like?

Let's move onto a new movie with an unlikely star, rapper Ja Rule. It's called "I'm In Love With A Church Girl." What's it about?

Ja Rule did just get out of prison for weapon possession and tax evasion. Was there a concern that he wouldn't be received by the religious community?

There's another movie about religion coming out, "Noah," directed by Darren Aronofsky. Now he's running into some issues with studio execs after the film tested poorly. Was it because its a bad film or because it might not be 100 percent biblically accurate. If you don't stick to the centuries old script don't you run the risk of ticking off potentially your biggest audience?

How important is the religious audience for films like this? Aronofsky has never gotten into bed with a big studio before. First of all, could he be regretting his decision and second who's going to win this creative tug of war?