Death of a President survives in Canada

Death of a President – the controversial mock doc from director Gabriel Range – may have bombed in the U.S., but its fictionalized assassination of George W. Bush has fared better in Canada where Maple Pictures distributes.

The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, hit theaters Oct. 27 on 90 American screens and 50 in Canada for a North American gross of $390,841 as of Nov. 6, according to RentTrack figures provided by Maple.

A total of $221,820, or almost 60% of that, was generated in Canada. Maple co-president Brad Pelman says he expected Canadian screens to generate about 10%.

‘We thought that the film would perform a little bit better on opening weekend, but we’re happy with the midweeks,’ says Pelman of the film’s overall performance.

U.S. distributor Newmarket Films was severely disadvantaged when America’s largest theater chain, Regal Entertainment Group, as well as Texas-based Cinemark USA and California’s Century Theatres all passed on DOAP due to its controversial subject matter. Major dailies and networks also refused to run ads.

Also on screens, Black Eyed Dog has been a major disappointment for distributor TVA Films, which is reporting grosses of just under $3,000 on the Pierre Gang (Selling Innocence) thriller after three weeks.

TVA’s director of programming Sylvain Brabant expected the film to perform better and says bad reviews contributed to its poor run.

The cast – including Brendan Fletcher (Tideland), Fred Ewanuick (Corner Gas), David Boutin (La grande séduction) and James Hyndman (Souvenirs intimes) – was intended to attract both French and English audiences, but the film appears to have failed in both markets.

The $2.6-million thriller opened Oct. 27 on one Toronto screen, where it closed after only one week. The film fared only slightly better in Quebec, where it opened Sept. 29 on two screens and closed after two weeks.

The coproduction by Montreal’s Saint-GlinGlin and Moncton, NB’s Grana Productions opened on two New Brunswick screens Nov. 10.

Meanwhile, Odeon Films’ Trailer Park Boys The Movie continues to be a huge success, with grosses of more than $3.7 million after five weeks in theaters. It could, however, be showing signs of slowing down.

The comedy added $135,757 to its cumulative gross between Oct. 26 – when it was playing on 179 screens – and Nov. 5, when it had dropped to 62. By comparison, from Oct. 13-15, the film brought in $678,244 from 203 screens.

Due in theaters this month are U.K.-made comedy Driving Lessons on Nov. 10 and Pedro Almodóvar’s Volver on Nov. 24, both released by Mongrel Media.

Two titles from TVA that were expected to open this fall have been pushed to next year. Mary Walsh’s Young Triffie’s Been Made Away With, slated for Nov. 3, is now due to hit theaters Feb. 23, and Fido, from director Andrew Currie, has been pushed from an October opening to March 9.

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NFB75Anniversary - (Left to right) Tricia Baldwin (Tafelmusik, managing director), Melissa Than (NFB publicist), Tenny Nigoghossian (Luminato, VP of Advancement), Anne-Marie Applin (former NFB board member), and Luisa Frate (NFB Director General - CFO, COO, CTO)

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