Canadian box-office stats — December 16

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 $4,730,000 — N.AM $40,968,000 — 11.5%
Awake — CDN $1,290,000 — N.AM $13,006,000 — 9.9%
Hitman — CDN $3,430,000 — N.AM $38,162,000 — 9.0%
No Country for Old Men — CDN $2,970,000 — N.AM $33,562,000 — 8.8%

Atonement — CDN $247,846 — N.AM $2,964,000 — 8.4%
Enchanted — CDN $6,660,000 — N.AM $92,271,000 — 7.2%
Fred Claus — CDN $4,860,000 — N.AM $68,965,000 — 7.0%
August Rush — CDN $1,850,000 — N.AM $28,065,000 — 6.6%
I Am Legend — CDN $4,100,000 — N.AM $76,535,000 — 5.4%
Alvin and the Chipmunks — CDN $1,440,000 — N.AM $45,000,000 — 3.2%

A couple of discrepancies: Awake and Hitman were #7 and #9 on the Canadian chart, respectively (they were #13 and #15 in North America as a whole), while The Perfect Holiday and This Christmas were #6 and #8 on the North American chart, respectively.

A love triangle in Apatow’s “biblical comedy”.

The Hollywood Reporter has an update on Year One, the “biblical comedy” that is currently being produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Harold Ramis:

Actress-screenwriter June Diane Raphael is in final negotiations to play Jack Black’s love interest in Harold Ramis’ biblical comedy “Year One” for producer Judd Apatow and Columbia.

Raphael will play Maya, a woman who becomes romantically involved with Zed (Black) and another man in her village. “Superbad” leads Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse also star in the ensemble comedy.

Oliver Platt, David Cross, Vinnie Jones and Juno Temple also are in final negotiations for the film, written by Ramis, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg. Principal photography is set to begin in January for the project, which Matt Tolmach and Jonathan Kadin are overseeing for the studio. . . .

FWIW, the only film I have seen Raphael in is David Fincher’s Zodiac, in which she played Mark Ruffalo’s wife.

Absurdism and fatalism redux.

Remember that scene near the end of No Country for Old Men that I singled out a few weeks ago? It stood out for Andrew Potter at Maclean’s magazine too, albeit in a different sort of way.

The missing ending — more bits leak out.

The last three chapters of The Golden Compass were cut from the film at a very, very late stage in post-production — so late, in fact, that bits of it had already been included in the trailers, as I’ve noted here before, and also in the video game, which came out only a week or two ago. Here is a clip from the game:

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Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.

In related news, Monica Edinger at the Educating Alice blog lists several references to the deleted ending that were included in The Golden Compass: The Official Movie Quiz Book.

He played Gollum … he played King Kong …

… so of course Andy Serkis had to be cast in the motion-capture adaptation of the Tintin comics currently being developed by Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg. Interestingly, though, Variety reports that Serkis will be playing someone other than Tintin himself — though who, exactly, the studio won’t say.

UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter says “it is believed Serkis will play the role of Capt. Haddock, a temperamental sea captain”.

The Golden Compass tanks some more

How badly is The Golden Compass doing at the North American box office? So badly that, despite the film’s reported $250 million production budget — a figure that does not include marketing costs! — has added the film to its “showdown” chart for “Mid-Range Fantasy” movies, pitting it against the modest likes of Eragon and Bridge to Terabithia rather than the all-time blockbusters whose ranks it clearly wants to join. And The Golden Compass is actually making less money after one week in release than those other films, which ended their North American runs with grosses of $75 million and $82.3 million, respectively.

And the news gets worse — for the people who made the film, that is — as the film goes into its second week. Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily reports that the film “earned only an anemic $2.6 million Friday from 3,528 nearly empty runs”, a figure that prompted Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere to quip:

The projected haul will mean a 60% drop from last weekend, give or take. The Golden Lion of the Rings & the Wardrobe & the Order of the Magical Polar Bear is dead, dead…deader than dead. If this were Japan, certain New Line executives would be getting out their samurai swords in preparation for ritual seppuku.

Of course, the film seems to be doing well enough overseas — but even there, who knows how long that will last. Variety reports:

Despite the strong start for “Compass,” “the jury’s out on its legs,” says a Spanish booker. “It can’t be compared with ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ Audiences are eager to find something similar, but they will soon realize that ‘Compass’ is not on par with it.”

It will be interesting to see how this film is packaged when the DVD comes out. Quibble though I might with some aspects of the film, I would still be very interested in a commentary by director Chris Weitz — and/or author Philip Pullman, come to think of it — to say nothing of all the possible making-of featurettes. And since it looks increasingly unlikely that the sequels will ever be made, I would really, really like to see the original ending, which was cut from the film after bits of it had already been shown in the trailers. But depending on how badly the film flops, the studio might decide it’s simply not worth the effort. And it might be kind of embarrassing to have anyone provide a commentary on a cliffhanger ending, when everyone knows the cliffhanger will never be resolved.