'Stranger Things' Starcourt Mall Out of Business IRL ... Stay Away, Fans!!!

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Netflix

The Starcourt Mall from "Stranger Things" is indeed a real place and might look like a fun spot to visit ... but fans who try will be very disappointed.

Yes, the main setting for much of season 3 of the hit Netflix series is Starcourt, which was shot at a real location -- the Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth, Georgia -- from May to November in 2018.

The fun's all over now, though ... a publicist for the show tells TMZ the Starcourt scenes were all shot within one wing of the mall, and the set is currently being torn down. We're told security is on the scene turning people away if they try to get to the area where 'Stranger' was shot.

The mall was mostly vacant before production started, and the show was able to rent out an entire wing, including the food court, that wasn't being used.

That wing of Gwinnett Place was transformed into a late '80s-looking mall, complete with 40 stores like Sam Goody, Waldenbooks and the Scoops Ahoy ice cream parlor where Steve works.

Now that production's wrapped, we're told there is no plan to return to the location ... so it's business as usual inside the sleepy mall.

Sorry, die-hard fans ... you can still visit the mall, it just won't have that 'Stranger' feel. Almost as devastating as that season finale, right?

Millie Bobby Brown Screw the 'Stranger' Boys I'm BFFs w/ Brad & Angie's Kids!!!

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Welcome to the Upside Down -- where Millie Bobby Brown is apparently great pals with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's kids all of a sudden.

The "Stranger Things" star was spotted Monday hanging out in L.A. with Shiloh Jolie-Pitt and Zahara Jolie-Pitt -- two of Brad and Angie's kids who are about the same age as MB ... early teens. We're told they were grabbing lunch at Mel's Diner. 

Millie certainly seems friendly with both of them -- holding hands with Zahara, and with an arm wrapped around Shiloh. They were all smiles too as they strolled around together.

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We haven't seen the Jolie-Pitt kids much without one of their parents hanging off their hip -- it's usually Angie who's out with the children in public ... but this time, it looks like the kids are on their own (with at least one bodyguard close by, of course). 

As for Millie, she's befriended some super famous people in the biz since skyrocketing to fame as the star of the Netflix series -- everyone from Drake to Ariana Grande, as well as Aaron Paul and Maddie Ziegler, among others. She's kinda the It Girl of Hollywood.

Now, it appears the Jolie-Pitt family are getting their fair share of Eleven too, and the timing is nothing short of perfect. Season 3 drops this week ... it's supposed to be the best one yet.

Bust out the '80s music -- it's demogorgon season, kids. 

'Stranger Things' Plagiarism Lawsuit Dropped ... Days Before Trial

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The guy who was suing the Duffer Bros. for allegedly stealing the idea for "Stranger Things" from him is doing a complete 180 and yanking his lawsuit ... right before their trial was set to begin.

Charles Kessler reportedly withdrew his suit against Matt and Ross Duffer Sunday, issuing a statement as well that completely recanted any and all claims of plagiarism he'd made against them over the past year.

His reasoning is a bit odd, as it seems he just realized he had no case against them. Kessler wrote, "After hearing the deposition testimony this week of the legal expert I hired, it is now apparent to me that, whatever I may have believed in the past, my work had nothing to do with the creation of Stranger Things."

He added, "Documents from 2010 and 2013 prove that the Duffers independently created their show. As a result, I have withdrawn my claim and I will be making no further comment on this matter."

"MONTAUK"

TMZ broke the story ... Kessler sued the Duffers back in April of last year, alleging that he'd met with them in 2014 to pitch an idea similar to "Stranger Things" but never heard back -- only to see a show incredibly similar to his idea get greenlit by Netflix courtesy of the bros.

He claimed that his 2012 short film "Montauk" was the inspiration for the show, but he never got any credit ... or cash. The Duffers, meanwhile, fired back saying they had documented evidence that they'd been working on "Stranger Things" since at least 2010.

We reviewed some of those documents -- emails that the Duffers were sending back and forth -- and sure enough, it appeared to prove they were, in fact, developing a "Montauk"-like series well before Kessler came into the picture.

Netflix chimed in on the news as well Sunday, saying ... "We are glad to be able to put this baseless lawsuit behind us. As we have said all along, Stranger Things is a ground-breaking original creation by The Duffer Brothers."

The studio continued, "We are proud of this show and of our friends Matt and Ross, whose artistic vision gave life to Stranger Things, and whose passion, imagination and relentless hard work alongside our talented cast and crew made it a wildly successful, award-winning series beloved by viewers around the world."

What's strange here is the timing. The anticipated 5-day trial between Kessler and the Duffer Bros. was supposed to start on Tuesday in L.A. Hmm ... interesting.

David Harbour Damn Near Ruined 'Hellboy' Bodysuit with INTENSE Workouts!!!

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THROUGH HELL AND BACK

David Harbour gave "Hellboy" producers one hell of a scare ... he almost didn't fit into his demon superhero bodysuit because he was too jacked!!!

Harbour's trainer, Don Saladino, tells TMZ ... Harbour's 10-week workout regimen transformed him so much it set off a production panic. We're told producers were actually upset over the weight loss and body reshaping.

CREATING A BEAST
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Check out the vid ... the celeb trainer, who also started his own "Hellboy" program, says it wasn't the case. He concedes, yes, Harbour's body drastically transformed ... but by packing on serious muscle. Nevertheless ... Saladino says he had to have a talk with his client about actually NOT being too strict on his diet. Must be nice.

No doubt Harbour -- proudly strutting a dad bod in "Stranger Things" as Sheriff Hopper -- looks like a badass in the movie, released Friday.

BTW ... most people who hire famous trainers usually request the Ryan Reynolds look. Not Harbour though!!! Now, about those abs ...

'Ozark' Star Skylar Gaertner 'Stranger Things' Passed on Me ... But It's a Good Thing!!!

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HAPPY WHERE I AM
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Skylar Gaertner wanted to be one of the kids solving mysteries in Hawkins, Indiana, but he ended up being the son of a drug dealer in the Lake of the Ozarks ... and he's glad!

We got the "Ozark" star at LAX Tuesday. He plays Jonah Byrde on the show, but tells us that wouldn't be the case if he had not been rejected for another crazy popular Netflix's original series.

Skylar says he actually auditioned for 2 roles on "Stranger Things" -- back when it was called "Montauk" -- but didn't get them.

Silver lining -- he's on another mega-popular show now ... which is also entering its third season.

As for what Skylar's doing with his showbiz money, he says he's saving up and thinking about college. Good idea, kid ... but Jonah might have some different financial advice for you.

'Stranger Things' Star Sadie Sink Newbie Character Makes Newbie Cash Compared to Child Costars

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"Stranger Things" child actors need to put their time in before they can hit the 6-figure payouts, as one actress is learning after being added as a new character just last year.

Sadie Sink -- who was newly introduced as Max in season 2 -- isn't making nearly as much money as her very famous costars -- namely Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhard, etc. -- according to her minor's contact. She's raking in about $25k per episode.

According to the docs -- obtained by TMZ -- Sadie's S2 episodic compensation was a little over $23,000 per episode, with at least 7 episodes guaranteed. The season ended up producing 9 episodes, so she took home an extra $46k, more or less. Not bad.

For season 3, however, she got a raise of about $1,000 per episode -- and is set to get similar raises if the show continues until season 8. As we've reported ... the OG child stars of the show were on the same schedule at first, but reportedly negotiated HUGE increases as of late ... upwards of $200k per episode and possibly even more.

If Sadie's smart -- or has a good agent -- she'll also get to the negotiating table soon enough. Gotta be tough knowing your coworkers are making roughly 10 times more than you daily.

Finn Wolfhard After 'Stranger Things' Raise ... Scores $65k for 'The Goldfinch'

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"Stranger Things" star Finn Wolfhard's bank account is loving 2018 ... on the heels of his huge raise for the TV show, he's also scored a sweet movie role with a fat paycheck.

Finn, who plays Mike Wheeler -- ringleader of the 'Stranger' kids -- is co-starring in "The Goldfinch" ... a movie based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by the same name. If you know the story ... Finn plays young Boris (if you don't know it, the movie will be out next year).

He's not the lead, but it's a crucial character in the plot. Finn's only 15, so his contract has to be filed in court ... and according to the docs, his base salary will be $65,000. He can also earn up to an additional $50k if the movie is a massive worldwide hit.

His OT rate is pretty good, too. If filming exceeds the planned dates, Finn gets $4,333 per day!

By the way, Finn's day job is mentioned in the contract. If filming runs into "Stranger Things" production ... the movie has to take a backseat to the Netflix hit. The kid knows where his bread is buttered.

As we've reported, Finn and his 'Stranger' co-stars just got huge pay bumps ... around $250,000 per episode of season 3.

'Stranger Things' Star Serenades the Crowd At The Troubadour

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STRANGER SINGS
BACKGRID/Troubadour

Gaten Matarazzo's more than just the mop-haired, potty-mouthed Dustin from "Stranger Things" ... the kid's also got some pipes as the lead singer of a rock band.

Gaten's band -- Work In Progress -- jammed at the legendary Troubadour venue in Weho Friday night for not just one show ... but 2. The group mostly does cover songs -- including tracks by The Fratellis and Noel Gallagher -- but we're told they busted out some original stuff, too.

Gaten's older sister, Sabrina, is also in the band backing him up on vocals.

Strangely enough -- Matarazzo's not the only kid from the hit Netflix show with a rock band ... his co-star Finn Wolfhard's the guitarist and singer of Vancouver alternative rock group Calpurnia.

Talented bunch!

'Stranger Things' Duffer Brothers Have Proof They Didn't Steal the Show!!!

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The Duffer Brothers have a smoking gun to prove they didn't rip off "Stranger Things" ... TMZ has learned.

The brothers are being sued by Charlie Kessler, who produced a short film back in 2012 called "Montauk." He claims he had a meeting with the Duffers in 2014 where he pitched them a series based on the short film. He says he never heard back, but was shocked when "Stranger Things" debuted in 2016, using his script idea and story.

"MONTAUK"

TMZ has obtained emails showing the Duffer Brothers were developing a "Montauk" series as far back as November, 2010 -- 3 1/2 years before Kessler claims he even pitched the show to them.

In 2 emails in November, 2010, the brothers set out their vision ... a "real," "paranormal" "gritty eighties" show. In one of the emails, it specifically says the show is set in Montauk. There is a reference to "the Montauk experiments."

A Google document dated October, 4, 2013, would become the premise for "Stranger Things" ... "Benny (renamed Will for the show) leaves his friend Elliot's house, a bunch of kids are there, eating pizza, dungeons and dragons ... Benny leaves on bike, hears voices, goes into strange world, taken by some evil force."

Two emails from 2014 -- February 27 and April 4 -- both written before the alleged meeting between the Duffer brothers and Kessler, lay out the vision for the show. It reads, "...set in 1980s Long Island" with "a vintage Stephen King feel." The April 4 email mentions a location scout in Montauk.

The lawyer for the Duffer Brothers tells TMZ, "These documents prove that Mr. Kessler had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of 'Stranger Things.' The Duffer Brothers were developing their project years before he claims to have met them."

'Stranger Things' Casting Call Supports Claim Duffer Bros. Stole the Show

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10:45 AM PT -- The attorney for the Duffer Brothers tells TMZ, "Mr. Kessler's claim is completely meritless. He had no connection to the creation or development of 'Stranger Things.' The Duffer Brothers have neither seen Mr. Kessler's short nor discussed any project with him. This is just an attempt to profit from other people's creativity and hard work."

A "Stranger Things" casting call looks like a smoking gun in the lawsuit accusing show creators, the Duffer brothers, of ripping off a short film -- because it's black and white proof they jacked the film's title.

We've obtained the casting call, from Aug. 2015, for the role of "Barbara." It includes the following, "You have a self tape request for the Netflix series 'Montauk' starring Winona Ryder." The references to Barb (the description's hilarious and dead-on) and Winona make it clear this was "Stranger Things."

The document also lists Matt and Ross Duffer as writers and directors of the series. TMZ broke the story, the bros were sued by Charlie Kessler, who says he not only made a short film about top secret government experiments entitled "Montauk" ... but he pitched the Duffers a project based on his film.

The timing of the casting call is also super suspect. Kessler says his pitch meeting with the Duffers went down in April 2014. They did NOT strike a deal, but lo and behold, in August 2015 the Duffers were casting for their series, "Montauk."

Netflix had even proudly announced in April 2015 they were buying the series WITH that title.

So, neither the Duffers nor Netflix was bashful about copying Kessler's title ... at the very least. Whether they copied his script could fall to a jury, with the casting call being exhibit A.

'Stranger Things' Duffer Brothers Sued ... You Ripped Me Off, Bros

EXCLUSIVE

The creators of "Stranger Things" did not have an original idea for the paranormal show ... instead they allegedly ripped off a writer who handed the idea to them on a silver platter.

Charlie Kessler claims in a new lawsuit, he produced a short film called "Montauk," which premiered in 2012 and even won an award at the Hamptons International Film Festival. The centerpiece of the flick involves top secret government experiments ... a key plot point in "Stranger Things."

"MONTAUK"

Kessler says in April 2014, he and his agents pitched the concept to the Duffer Brothers as a full-blown series, but the idea seemed to die right there.

Kessler says he was shocked when "Stranger Things" came out in July 2016 and claims the brothers used his script, idea, story and film to make the hit show. He even claims the show was initially sold with the name of his short film -- "The Montauk Project."

Kessler wants money and destruction of all materials that were allegedly ripped off from his concept.

Millie Bobby Brown New Season of 'Stranger Things' Means ... I'm $3 Mil Richer!!!

EXCLUSIVE

Millie Bobby Brown must've channeled Eleven's superpowers when it came time to renegotiate her "Stranger Things" contract ... because she's getting an ENORMOUS raise.

Brown -- who plays the teen girl with psychokinetic abilities -- was scheduled to get paid just shy of $25k per episode for season 3 of the popular Netflix series ... according to her original contract, obtained by TMZ.

That would've been an increase of about $1,000 per episode from season 2, but as we reported ... the main cast of kids renegotiated and got fat pay bumps for season 3 to around $250,000 per episode.

Millie's raise is reportedly even more, though ... possibly as much as $350,000, which would match the salaries of the adult stars of the show, David Harbour and Winona Ryder.

That means for a 9-episode season 3, Brown could haul in as much as $3.15 million ... as opposed to the roughly $225k she'd have gotten in her original contract.

It's good to be Eleven.

'Stranger Things' Star Thanks to Renegotiation Season 3 Raise is MASSIVE!!!

EXCLUSIVE

Gaten Matarazzo -- who plays curly-haired, potty-mouthed Dustin on the Netflix smash hit "Stranger Things" -- didn't just get a raise for season 3 ... he hit the jackpot.

According to Gaten's original contract, he was scheduled to get a slight salary increase for the upcoming season, much like he did for season 2. The docs, obtained by TMZ, show he was due a bump of slightly less than $1,000 per episode -- from $16,800 to $17,640 per episode in season 3.

Nothing to sneeze at, but according to multiple reports, Gaten and his co-stars renegotiated their deals and will now make between $200 to $250 THOUSAND per episode for season 3!!

Now, we know how sweet a deal it is -- around a 1,200 percent raise ... for a 15-year-old.

Kudos to his agent!

Kim Kardashian I Might Act with Millie Bobby Brown 'Stranger Things' Have Happened!

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KEEPIN' UP WITH THE UPSIDE DOWN
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Kim Kardashian has broken her silence with the paparazzi -- and the first words out of her mouth are gonna send "Stranger Things" fans into a frenzy.

We got Kim Wednesday leaving her DASH store and fired off a bunch of questions to see if she'd finally bite for once. Turns out, Millie Bobby Brown got her talking.

Kim recently gifted Millie a set from her new fragrance line, Kimoji Hearts, and Millie was clearly grateful. The 2 ladies have kinda been fangirling over each other as of late.

In light of their newfound friendship, we ask Kim if she'd ever consider a guest spot on the hit Netflix show. It's possible ... apparently it's her fave. Well, 2nd fave ... Millie, too, actually.

Millie Bobby Brown Puppy-Love Views Watching BF Backstage

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SWOON!
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Millie Bobby Brown became the definition of "young love" while watching her pop star BF from backstage -- and after watching this ... you'll be saying AWWWWW.

TMZ obtained video of singer Jacob Sartorius' Wednesday night concert in Atlanta, where his new gal and fellow child star was perched behind a curtain looking on with a big fat smile.

There's no hiding it now -- Millie and Jacob are definitely a thing. The role of backstage girlfriend has been well established in relationships ... just ask Selena Gomez.

Hopefully things end differently for Millie and Jacob than they did for Selena and Abel. Then again ... they're teens ... so, who knows?

'Stranger Things' Kids Fat Joe, Cardi B Got Us Like ...

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LEAN BACK!
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The kids from "Stranger Things" got in each other's face ... for an awesome dance-off!!!

The kiddos were getting down Sunday night at the Sunset Tower Hotel for the Netflix SAG Awards after-party ... and leading the way were Millie Bobby Brown and Gaten Matarazzo as Fat Joe's "Lean Back" blared from the speakers.

Actors Lonnie Chavis ("This is Us") and Marsai Martin ("Black-ish") also joined in on the fun. The kids went wild when Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow" came on. Huge little fans for sure.