Canadian box-office stats — December 30

Here are the figures for the past weekend, arranged from those that owe the highest percentage of their take to the Canadian box office to those that owe the lowest.

The Golden Compass — CDN $8,050,000 — N.AM $58,869,000 — 13.7%
P.S. I Love You — CDN $2,140,000 — N.AM $23,398,000 — 9.1%
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street — CDN $2,110,000 — N.AM $26,719,000 — 7.9%
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep — CDN $1,210,000 — N.AM $16,821,000 — 7.2%
Charlie Wilson’s War — CDN $2,470,000 — N.AM $34,506,000 — 7.2%
Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem — CDN $1,920,000 — N.AM $26,880,000 — 7.1%
I Am Legend — CDN $13,680,000 — N.AM $194,575,000 — 7.0%
Juno — CDN $1,420,000 — N.AM $25,681,000 — 5.5%
National Treasure: Book of Secrets — CDN $6,480,000 — N.AM $124,035,000 — 5.2%
Alvin and the Chipmunks — CDN $6,280,000 — N.AM $142,375,000 — 4.4%

A couple of discrepancies: The Golden Compass was #5 on the Canadian chart (it was #12 in North America as a whole), while Enchanted was #10 on the North American chart.

My interest in The Lovely Bones just went up.

This may be old news to some people, but I just read this story by the Associated Press which notes that Saoirse Ronan, who is so compelling as the young Briony Tallis in Atonement, is playing the lead role in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lovely Bones. I am suddenly quite a bit more interested in this film than I was before.

In semi-related news, Variety magazine recently ran an article on the curious similarities between Atonement and The Kite Runner, both of which feature “a terrible transgressive act by a child,” after which “the wronged parties are condemned to suffer through war and turmoil, while the children who wronged them — both of whom grow up to be writers — become aware of their ‘crimes’ as they mature and must make amends for their wrongs.”

Variety doesn’t mention it, exactly, but both films also feature the rape of a minor — as does The Lovely Bones, apparently. (Believe it or not, the rape is not the “terrible transgressive act” in either of the two films examined by Variety; in both cases, the rape is committed by someone else, and it is the catalyst for the “terrible transgressive act” committed by the child in question.)

PG ratings — still not really for grown-ups

Last year, I kept track of all the G- and PG-rated films that cracked the weekly top ten lists, to see how many of them were aimed primarily at families or children, and how many of them were basically for grown-ups. Six months ago, I posted a follow-up list of the G- and PG-rated films that had been released so far this year. Now, with the year basically over, it’s time to update the list.

The G- and PG-rated films that have cracked the weekly top ten lists so far break down into the following categories (with the ones that were #1 at the box office for at least one week in bold):

Family films (for children, tweens, or religious audiences):
  1. Happily N’Ever After
  2. Arthur and the Invisibles
  3. Bridge to Terabithia
  4. Amazing Grace
  5. TMNT
  6. The Last Mimzy
  7. Meet the Robinsons (G)
  8. Firehouse Dog
  9. Are We Done Yet?
  10. Shrek the Third
  11. Surf’s Up
  12. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
  13. Nancy Drew
  14. Evan Almighty
  15. Ratatouille (G)
  16. Underdog
  17. Bratz: The Movie
  18. Daddy Day Camp
  19. The Game Plan
  20. The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising
  21. Bee Movie
  22. Fred Claus
  23. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (G)
  24. Enchanted
  25. August Rush
  26. Alvin and the Chipmunks
  27. The Perfect Holiday
  28. National Treasure: Book of Secrets
  29. The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

Inspirational true-story sports movies set in the ’60s or ’70s:

  1. Pride

Films for grown-ups that just happened to be rated G or PG:

  1. The Astronaut Farmer
  2. Hairspray
  3. No Reservations
  4. Mr. Bean’s Holiday (G)
  5. Martian Child

As you can see, the bulk of the new films that got the G or PG rating in the United States have been “family” movies, just like last year.

Bizarre modernized biblical tales, times two.

Speaking of Britney Spears, Us Weekly reported a couple weeks back that she has been offered the part of the Virgin Mary in Sweet Baby Jesus, “a satirical retelling of the nativity story” that is being produced by Frenchman Philippe Rebboah:

The character Mary is a pregnant 19-year-old unsure of her baby’s paternity who goes into labor on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem, Maryland, as rumors swirl that the birth is Jesus Christ’s second coming.

Meanwhile, in completely unrelated news, Variety just posted a review by Robert Koehler of Johnny 316 (pictured above):

A true curio for Vincent Gallo’s hardcore fan club, vet musicvid director Erick Ifergan’s “Johnny 316″ takes Oscar Wilde’s “Salome” and transfers it to Hollywood Boulevard. This “Sally” never dances, but she does meander the boulevard in a movie that similarly wanders and never finds a groove, tone or point of view. The rather inspired central idea of Gallo as a modern-day John the Baptist goes undeveloped, with a ton of pretense in its wake. Well-received in Locarno, pic will lure fests with its indie name cast and may score with buyers at Euro art labels.

Lensed in 1998 (while Gallo was struggling to get completion funds for his first film, “Buffalo 66″), pic was then reworked with added shooting and finally finished in 2006 (with a corresponding copyright date). Gallo’s co-star Nina Brosh, who plays Sally, was one of the world’s hottest supermodels at the time of shooting, and seemed prime for a film career. Nine years later, Brosh has retired from modeling and showbiz for a quiet family life in her native Israel, leaving behind “Johnny 316″ as her only film credit. . . .

Roughly following some beats of Wilde’s bizarre drama, the script traces Sally’s initial fascination with the self-proclaimed holy man, her erotic attraction and his rejection, followed by her final act of vengeance. The vast difference with Wilde’s version (or with any other, even the compressed version in such films as Nicholas Ray’s “King of Kings“), is that this Salome’s reaction is so dramatically delayed that it seems to come out of nowhere.

As a work capturing the atmosphere of life on Hollywood Boulevard, “Johnny 316″ offers up a genuine time capsule of the street’s seedy, late-’90s condition before recent renovations. A slightly younger Gallo convincingly summons a spiritual and peaceful guy (in an ice cream suit), in what amounts to a solo performance. By contrast, Brosh looks out of her element. . . .

For what it’s worth, the IMDB currently has the film listed under its original, almost decade-old title Hollywood Salome (1998).

And hey, whatever became of Al Pacino’s Salomaybe?

How have I avoided seeing this until now.

And why couldn’t I have avoided it a little while longer. Ah well, I might as well share my pain. From the people who brought you Epic Movie — the extremely stupid-looking Narnia-spoofing flick that came out earlier this year, which I still have not seen — comes this trailer for Meet the Spartans, a spoof of 300, the tabloid exploits of Britney Spears, and who knows what else:

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The Golden Compass — box-office update

It opened three weeks ago at #1. Then it slipped to #3, and then to #9. And now, in its fourth weekend, The Golden Compass has fallen off the weekly top-ten chart altogether, landing at #12 with a “domestic” cume of $58.9 million — and thus it continues to trail behind last year’s considerably cheaper fantasy flick Eragon. And don’t even bother trying to compare this film’s grosses to those of the recent fantasy blockbusters whose ranks this film so desperately wanted to join.

But wait. Variety reports that The Golden Compass is still #2 overseas — surpassed only by the unexpectedly huge hit I Am Legend — and out there, the film has grossed $187 million, more than triple what it has made in North America (and more than Eragon made overseas in its entire theatrical run).

So the film isn’t a complete bust. Then again, as noted here three weeks ago, New Line Cinema sold off the foreign distribution rights to cover some of its production costs before the film had even come out, so there is only so much comfort the studio can glean from the overseas receipts.