Christian boycotts against The Golden Compass didn’t seem to do too much. While the movie fell short of New Line Cinema’s projection of $30M in the first week, it’s still in first place at the box office.
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — “The Golden Compass” proved a mild fantasy at the box office, pulling in $26.1 million, a modest opening weekend compared to such recent December heavyweights as “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Chronicles of Narnia” flicks.
New Line Cinema’s “The Golden Compass,” whose cast includes Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, also took in $55 million overseas since it began opening last Wednesday in 25 other countries.
New Line, which had enormous success with its three “Lord of the Rings” films, had hoped for more out of “The Golden Compass,” expecting it to reach at least $30 million domestically over its first weekend, said Rolf Mittweg, the studio’s marketing chief. The film cost $180 million to make.
“The Golden Compass” follows the adventures of an orphan girl hurled into a parallel world of witches, strange flying machines and talking polar bears.
Parents with children accounted for half of the film’s audience, so New Line is counting on family crowds that flock to theaters over the holidays to keep the movie afloat, Mittweg said.
The three “Lord of the Rings” films released from 2001 to 2003 had opening weekends ranging from $47.2 million to $72.6 million. Disney’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” opened with $65.6 million in 2005.
Those were based on very familiar fantasy literature from J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, while “The Golden Compass” was adapted from the first book of Philip Pullman’s lesser-known “His Dark Materials” trilogy.
Mittweg said he was uncertain about the effects of a backlash against “The Golden Compass” by some Christians, who said Pullman’s books preach atheism.
“It’s very hard to say. Historically, protests of these sorts tend to be ineffective on box-office results,” Mittweg said.