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James Newton Howard replaces Danny Elfman as “Hunger Games” composer

James Newton Howard replaces Danny Elfman as “Hunger Games” composer (photo)

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How loyal is Tim Burton’s frequent collaborator Danny Elfman? Enough that he’d drop out of one of the most high-profile projects of the year to help finish the enigmatic director’s upcoming “Dark Shadows.” With that film and “Men in Black III” filling his plate, Variety reports that those scheduling conflicts have caused Elfman to ankle from the hotly-anticipated “The Hunger Games.”

Replacing Elfman on “The Hunger Games” is fellow Hollywood vet James Newton Howard, who has racked up credits on such pictures as M. Night Shyamalan’s “Sixth Sense,” “Unbreakable” and “The Village,” “Dave,” “Outbreak” and co-composer duties with Hans Zimmer on “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight.”

Fellow scorer T. Bone Burnett, who snagged an Oscar for “Crazy Heart,” is reportedly still attached to the project.

Songs play an important part in “The Hunger Games” mythology, whether it’s the father of lead character Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) singing a haunting ballad or a critical lullaby involving the young character of Rue. Elfman and Burnett had been responsible for crafting many of these important moments, and the studio promises the transition to the new composer will be as seamless as possible.

“The Hunger Games” follows the residents of the dystopian nation of Panem located within the ruins of the former North America. As retribution for the twelve outlying districts rising up against the Capitol nearly 100 years prior, two teenage subjects from each district are chosen to compete in the annual Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death.

“The Hunger Games” hits theaters on March 23, 2012.

Are you bummed by Danny Elfman dropping out or excited to see what James Newton Howard brings to the project? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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