Canadian box-office stats — July 13

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.

Cruising Bar 2 — CDN $1,560,000 — N.AM $1,560,000 — 100%
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — CDN $26,910,000 — N.AM $310,487,614 — 8.7%
Wanted — CDN $9,460,000 — N.AM $112,455,060 — 8.4%
Get Smart — CDN $9,230,000 — N.AM $111,564,176 — 8.3%
Kung Fu Panda — CDN $15,550,000 — N.AM $202,154,311 — 7.7%
Journey to the Center of the Earth — CDN $1,550,000 — N.AM $21,018,141 — 7.4%
Hancock — CDN $12,070,000 — N.AM $164,115,004 — 7.4%
Hellboy II: The Golden Army — CDN $2,500,000 — N.AM $34,539,115 — 7.2%
WALL·E — CDN $10,800,000 — N.AM $163,055,900 — 6.6%
Meet Dave — CDN $252,412 — N.AM $5,251,918 — 4.8%

A couple of discrepancies: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Cruising Bar 2 were #8 and #10 on the Canadian chart, respectively (the former film was #11 in North America as a whole, and the latter film does not appear on the North American chart at all), while The Incredible Hulk and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl were #9 and #10 on the North American chart, respectively (they were #13 and #17 in Canada).

Christopher Lee on going back to Saruman.

Last month, Empire quoted Christopher Lee to the effect that he would be willing to play Saruman again — probably not in The Hobbit, per se, since Saruman never appears in that book, but perhaps in that rumoured second film that would bridge the gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003):

“I’ve read the books time and again,” said the 86-year-old. “Originally Saruman The White and the rest of the wizards, or the Istari as they call them, were immortal. There were five of them, two of them never appear, I know their names but they never appear, and the only three that are mentioned are Saruman The White, Gandalf The Grey and Radagast The Brown who you never see – so basically it’s two wizards.

“They lived for thousands of years and they were sent to the earth and they are virtually immortal. When it all started, Saruman was the noblest, the finest, the bravest, the most dependable and reliable of them all, he was number one. But somewhere, somehow, and it was never actually explained, he turns and it’s probably the Palantír (the wizard’s crystal ball thingy) that makes Saruman realise that if Sauron can do this, why can’t I do it and Saruman wants to become The Lord Of The Rings himself.”

“I’d be interested in seeing how that transition from good to evil occurred and, yes, of course I would return to the role if I was asked.”

Now, however, Lee seems to be singing a somewhat different tune — and for reasons that are quite understandable, given his age:

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

John Connor — how central is he, again?

Christian Bale has been making the rounds lately, promoting The Dark Knight, but along the way, he has talked a bit about his role in the upcoming Terminator movies as well. recently posted this interview snippet:

CS: What attracted you to another big franchise like “Terminator?”
Christian Bale:
Well, initially, actually, that was NOT an attraction. I felt that I wasn’t sure where it could go to. Before I gave an answer, I went back and reviewed the other movies. I felt like “Okay, unlike ‘Batman Begins,’ this would be something where we would be respecting the previous mythology.” Certainly of one and two, not so much number three – but certainly you would be recognizing that mythology, unlike “Batman Begins” where we were saying that this is the beginning, right here. But what I view in it, and what has ultimately made me make the choice to make it, is that I see the same potential for reinvention and for breathing new life into the mythology. That’s what I view our responsibility as filmmakers to be. It’s pointless if we don’t succeed in doing that.

CS: How is filming going?
Good, good. They’re a number of weeks in. I’m just a week and a half in… It’s going well. It’s a tall order, it really is, and I recognize that and we have a lot of work to do, and I’ve just begun on it, because I only just finished working on “Public Enemies” a couple of weeks back.

It is curious that Bale would say the new film is going to “respect” the mythology of the first two films but “not so much” the third, since there wouldn’t even be a war between the humans and the machines now if it weren’t for the third film. Plus, Bryce Dallas Howard is co-starring in the new film as John Connor’s wife Kate, a character who didn’t even exist until the third film. Who knows, perhaps Bale is hinting that the new film will re-invent the events of the third film or something, which would be fair enough I guess, considering how the third film re-invented the first two films.

Also interesting is Bale’s revelation that he has just started work on the film, which began shooting way back on May 5. The Mansfield News Journal reported a few weeks ago that cameras will probably be rolling on this film until some time in September — so it would seem that Bale will be on set for a little more than half of the production schedule, if that. This may or may not have some bearing on those conflicting reports regarding whether or not John Connor will be the movie’s central character.

This could be my kind of cheese.

Outlander stars Jim Caviezel as an alien who crash-lands on Earth in Norway in the year 709. And he brings a monster with him, too. So Caviezel the alien teams up with some Vikings, played by the likes of Hellboy co-stars John Hurt and Ron Perlman, to go hunt the monster down. Awesome. Watch the trailer here.

Doug Jones on Hellboy and Christianity.

I haven’t got time to say much about Hellboy II: The Golden Army right now, but suffice it to say that it might be my favorite comic-book movie of the year so far.

I mention it now simply so that I can link to this interesting interview that Twitch did with Doug Jones, who plays Abe Sapien and a couple of other characters in the film:

Guillén: When Guillermo and I sat down to talk, we spoke a bit about the Catholic underpinnings prevalent in much of his manifested world. I’m aware that you are also a practicing Christian, are you Catholic?

Jones: I’ve been a lot of denominations over the years but I call myself a generic Christian, yes, and am attending a church now that would remind you of Catholicism. It’s more orthodox. On the first Hellboy, when I was given the script the first day and was told to go home and read it that day and get back to him that night, I’m reading the script called Hellboy and he’s a demon from Hell. I’m thinking, “Okay, I have to respectfully find a way to tell Guillermo I can’t do this movie.” That was my first thought before I cracked open the script. Then I started reading it and realized, “Oh my goodness, I am so not offended by this. In fact, I’m enlivened by it. I’m finding my faith being nurtured and challenged by this story. This is good.”

I loved seeing images in that first movie, where Hellboy had a decision to make. He was being enticed and tempted by the nemesis in that film to regain his princely place in Hell. “Here is the power you can have. Here is what you were meant to be really. And here’s what I can offer you.” That’s when his horns grew back, during this decision, when he was feeling tempted by that offer. Well, that’s when our young agent Myers was watching this, got Hellboy’s attention, and tossed him the rosary that his father Professor “Broom” had given him and that he grew up with as a boy demon. Hellboy caught that rosary in his hand and the image of the cross was burned into his palm. Looking down at his palm is when he realized who he is now and what decisions he had made in the life he’d chosen for himself. That was such beautiful imagery for me. Anyone who comes from the faith that I come from can relate to it and understand.

Guillén: Guillermo excels at expressing the rockbed of faith within even the lapsed Catholic. He pronounces these lines of faith so clearly and—as you said—respectfully in his visual imagery. While filming in Budapest, was your faith heightened by the proximity of orthodox practice?

Jones: Being in Eastern Europe—or Central Europe, as they’re calling it now—has always done that, yes. I love walking around in an old city like that and walking past a cathedral that has so much history. In Budapest, as well as Prague where we filmed the first Hellboy, a dear friend of mine, Brian Steele—who has played a lot of creatures alongside of me over the years; he was Sammael in the first Hellboy and plays Wink and three other creatures in Hellboy II as well—he knew I was a churchgoer and on Easter Sunday while we were shooting the first Hellboy movie he said, “I’d like to go to this Catholic cathedral you’ve been attending for Easter, if I can join you?” I said, “Of course! Come with me.” We walked into this old cathedral, which was absolutely ornate and gorgeous with art work that has been handed down through centuries, and sculptures of Jesus and angels, amazing art work, a building that had so much history to it, and had been active with church services happening almost on a daily basis for hundreds of years, Brian walked in there with me and he said, “Wow!”—we’re whispering in the back of the church because the service had already started—”You can tell a lot of prayers have been answered in this building.” So, yes, that part of Europe is steeped in tradition like that and with history.

DC and Warner — getting their act together?

Marvel Comics has been having lots and lots of success lately, first with its standalone franchises such as X-Men (2000-2006) and Spider-Man (2002-2007), and now with Iron Man and, to a lesser extent, The Incredible Hulk, the two of which Marvel plans to bring together in a few years with a couple more superheroes for a major, major cross-over called The Avengers.

Meanwhile, what is DC Comics doing? They’ve got a successfully rebooted Batman franchise, of course, but beyond that? There are rumours of all sorts of superhero projects in the works — from Wonder Woman and The Flash to Green Lantern and the Justice League — but it’s not clear which of these projects are related to each other and which are not. And in any case, everything — even the Superman franchise, which Bryan Singer tried to revive a couple years ago — seems to be stuck in development hell right now.

Well, it sounds like someone at DC Comics or Warner Brothers, the studio that has dibs on all of DC’s properties (both companies are owned by Time-Warner), has had enough of this confusion too. Variety and the Hollywood Reporter say “a big shake-up” could be in the works, as the head honchos of both companies have been meeting recently “to discuss a new direction for film adaptations.”

Meanwhile, there has been some buzz over an interview that Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier gave in France, where he seemed to suggest that Warner had asked him if he would be interested in making the next Superman movie.

This comes only a week or so after comic-book writer Mark Millar said that he and a “very well known American action director” were pitching a Superman reboot to Warner. Is Leterrier, who is French but recently made the move to Hollywood (having just rebooted the Hulk franchise, he is now attached to Warner’s remake of Clash of the Titans), the “American action director” in question? Or is that a whole different round of discussions?

And is Warner still talking to Bryan Singer, as well?

Well, whatever is going on with that franchise, it’s probably safe to say no particular project will be greenlit until DC and Warner have come to some sort of agreement on their master plan.