Not being huge fans of Coca Cola or CGI-'d polar bears we'll admit any drama behind the scenes of Chris Weitz's 2007 film, "The Golden Compass," aside from the anti-religion-themes or lack thereof controversy, sort of passed us by.
But in a candid interview with DealMemo which perhaps explains his depressive, almost-quitting quote this week, Weitz says he was basically fucked over by the studio New Line and it was a brutal, ignominious experience. Evidently New Line cut 30 minutes of footage and blunted any of the edge from the original novels (like the anti-religious themes that New Line was afraid would turn off mainstream audiences). Suffice to say it sounds like Weitz will never work with them again.
"It was an utter violation of my status as a director, and the worst thing that has happened to me professionally" he said.But apparently Weitz didn't say anything at the time out of respect for all the other creatives who worked on the film (which explains why we probably never heard about it before). "I practically bit through my tongue, but I would be very happy to see 'New Moon' surpass ''The Golden Compass.' Now, that dish is cold, and I’m ready to eat. I was treated badly, it was almost like they never read the books. They seemed frightened of offending the Right. This was a wonderful experience by comparison. I got to work with terrific young actors at the top of their game, and see Taylor Lautner perform so well.”
While it remains to be seen whether any of the 'New Moon' cast were acting at the top of the game (at least for this writer; and our review today sure doesn't indicate otherwise), what is perfectly clear is that "New Moon" will not only surpass any 'Golden Compass' box-office records ($372 million worldwide which is not bad, but only $72 million domestically), but it will likely shatter them.
Summit Entertainment announced today that "New Moon" completely trounced midnight opening records by "Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince" ($22.2 million) and "The Dark Knight" (previous record holder with $18.5 million) by taking in a whopping $26.27 million in midnight screenings from 3,514 theaters last night. Predictions for box-office receipts this weekend are ranging in the $90-$100 million range which is outrageously good numbers if they can hit those targets and pretty good indication that no matter how much critics and many adults hate "Twilight," it is here to stay.
Earlier this week we wondered if fickle tweens would still be interested around the time of "Eclipse" and "Breaking Dawn," the third and fourth installments of the series and the answer will surely be — much to our chagrin — yes.
Now that he can taste vengeful success on his lips, apparently Weitz is not holding back in several interviews. Talking to the Wrap, he reiterated that New Line abused him and went over the line.
"It was a terrible experience because I was able to shoot what I wanted to — and then the cut of the movie was taken away from me and any reference to religion or religious ideas was removed. And the darkness and threat at the end of the story — anything that made it not a happy, popcorn-type movie — was removed. The voice of the key character was redone, all of this against my will."Revenge is sweet payback — if you want to look at it that way, it's not as if Weitz stole money out of New Line's pocket or anything — but apparently he has to say, "In your face, New Line," as a satisfying way to get over the experience and we suppose we get that. Though it is a bit funny that Weitz is going to be congratulated and awarded for delivering from what most accounts is a piece of shit movie. Ah, irony. Meanwhile, who's got that "Facepunch" poster already?