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McDonald’s-sponsored pic eats up Quebec B.O.

The Big Mac connection is already working wonders for “Matusalem.”

The Quebec-made pic, which is the first local film ever to be officially sponsored by McDonald’s, opened on a record 42 screens across the province Dec. 17, and the fantasy-packed children’s film pulled in $ C250,000 ($ 188,325) in its first 12 days of release.

At this rate, “Matusalem” will likely gross in the range of $ C600,000 ($ 451 ,980) over the course of the holiday season, according to Allegro Films Distribution acquisitions director Suzie Bergeron. With this quick start out of the blocks, it is already one of the top-grossing French-lingo Canadian pix of the past year.

‘We’re astonished.’

“It’s gigantic,” says Claude Chabot, senior veepee at exhibitor Cineplex Odeon. “We’re not pleased — we’re astonished. Do we blame it on McDonald’s or on the picture?”

McDonald’s, which is more accustomed to sponsoring Hollywood blockbusters, is helping promote the movie with coupons and a major TV ad campaign.

Quebec was hit by a severe cold snap right after Christmas. But the minus 30 -degree temperatures didn’t seem to dampen local enthusiasm for trekking out to see the comic-adventure film.

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