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December 17, 2007 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | December 17, 2007 |

5. No Country for Old Men: I don’t think there was any consensus at all in last week’s mini-diversion, w/r/t your favorite Coen brothers film. Favorites seemed to be pretty evenly distributed among The Big Lebowski, Fargo, No Country, and Raising Arizona. Next up for the Coens: Another heist film, Burn After Reading starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Given the star power, and the critical resurgence they’ve found with No Country, maybe the guys can finally hit the $100 million mark.

4. Enchanted: I have to admit that curiosity got the better of me and I actually took myself to Enchanted, despite having no professional reason to do so (it mostly had to do with my fascination with Amy Adams). And while it is not a movie that I liked particularly, I didn’t have any objections to it, either. And, I suppose, that’s the kind of kid’s film that adults will appreciate. Hell, given my distaste for Disney 2-D films in general, if you can consider Enchanted among them, it may be my favorite. Not that that’s saying much. Oh, so this week’s mini-diversion: What is your favorite Disney 2-D film? Weekend: $6 million; Total: $92 million.

3. The Golden Compass: With $9 million, The Golden Compass is barely kicking, suffering a whopping 65 percent drop-off from its first weekend. Seriously, don’t hold your breath on the sequel, y’all. If there is one, it’ll be sans Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig and will probably be a completely animated straight-to-DVD sequel. Just a hunch. The performance of The Golden Compass doesn’t portend well for future fantasy flicks, either; so much for my dream project, Dragons & Douchebags, a 90-minute series of three minute shorts featuring fire-breathing dragons laying waste to Jaret Leto. Weekend: $9 million; Total: $45 million.

2. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Don’t give Jason Lee too much shit. After all, in the original script, the one that Jason Lee signed onto, Alvin and the Chipmunks was a stoner flick and the cartoon chipmunks were LSD hallucinations. Unfortunately, the Catholic League threw a fit when they found out that Alvin, Theodore, and Simon were the heathenistic apparitions of a coked out David Seville and the “Witch Doctor” was his dealer. In fact, once Lee realized that Alvin would be a children’s film, the producers had to use bundles of cash as stand-ins for CGI creations to keep Lee motivated.

Fun Fact: Jason Lee is the godfather to Kevin Smith’s daughter, Harley. Additional fun fact: Lee’s first studio film, opposite David Schwimmer, was Kissing a Fool, written by James Frey, disgraced author of A Million Little Pieces. In Frey’s follow-up, My Friend Leonard Frey takes several veiled potshots as Schwimmer.

Also, $45 million? Seriously? Who the hell? I mean, what the? Jesus … huh? I guess Kevin Smith fans came out in full force to support one of their own. I never got the memo. Had I, I may have used it to desoil lil Pajiba. But I love this quote: “Forty-five million acorns,” said Chris Aronson, senior vice president for distribution at 20th Century Fox. “Chipmunks are diurnal animals and they do hibernate, but not right now.” Don’t you just want to kick Chris Aronson’s teeth in?

1. I Am Legend: Well, apparently the threat of canine death in I Am Legend didn’t prevent half of America from turning out to see it this weekend. And the more I think about the worst ending to a studio film since Identity, the more I’m beginning to wonder if it wasn’t a genius move on the part of Francis Lawrence and the studio hacks. Don’t you just know that Lawrence has an acceptable alternative ending in the can? And considering how good the first 80 percent of I Am Legend was, I’m even inclined to buy the director’s cut edition on DVD to see if he can improve up an excellent first half. Ah, who the hell am I kidding? I think we all know that in the alternate ending, Jazzy Jeff breaks into the underground lab and thrusts a broken bottle into Will Smith’s neck and says, “Who’s jiggy with it now, bitch?”

But yeah: The Dark Knight trailer was totally worth the movie alone. And, I understand, those who saw it in IMAX got an even bigger Dark Knight treat. I’m not gonna bother embedding the bootleg copy of the trailer floating around the interwebs last week, mostly because it just doesn’t do it justice. You can, however, see the official version here. It’s definitely worth the look see. Weekend: $76 million.

Other notables: The Perfect Holiday opened weakly at number six. Our review will be up later today. Also, Dan will have a review of Youth Without Youth up this afternoon, and I’m curious because I have absolutely no knowledge of the film whatsoever. And, for the curious, Juno expanded to 40 theaters, and put up $1.5 million for another whopping $36,000 per screen average, tops among all releases this week.

On DVD this week, coinciding with the theatrical release of Alvin and the Chipmunks, Underdoghits your Wal-Mart shelves. Now, you can have a Jason Lee double feature, and then put a bullet in your right temple. If you find that you’re still alive, watch another of this week’s releases, Balls of Fury, and shoot yourself in the other temple. If, for some reason, that doesn’t do the trick, rent Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake, and that ought to put you out of your misery.

There are some good releases, though: The Simpsons Movie, Once and Stardust, all worthy of your $19.95.

The License Plate Said Fresh and It Had Dice in the Mirror

The Box Office Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Box Office Round-Ups | December 17, 2007 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

Golden Compass, The | Pajiba Love 12/17/07

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