“The Golden Compass” isn’t doing so well.

It appears as though The Golden Compass isn’t exactly raking in the cash:

There was no Saturday miracle surge for New Line. The Golden Compass, an effects-laden family film starring Nicole Kidman with a reported budget of $200M, received a modest 16% increase from its opening day, posting an estimated $10.2M on Saturday. Assuming a Sunday drop of 33%, Compass will finish its opening weekend with a disastrous $25.84M. (For a comparison to other big budget, family-oriented films in this mold along with details about New Line’s dismal 2007 and Nicole Kidman’s box office cold streak, scroll down to my Friday Night report.)

Disney’s Enchanted blew past $80M domestic with a $4.9M Saturday, and the live action/animation hybrid with a sure-fire Oscar nomination for Amy Adams will cruise to an estimated $10.98M. This Christmas (Sony), Fred Claus (Warner Bros) and Beowulf (Dreamworks/Paramount) have finished 3-4-5 on Saturday and for the 3-day frame.

The reason appears to have more to do with the movie being not all that great as opposed to any effects of a boycott, though you can be sure that the Catholic league and the Evangelicals will claim their boycotts were successful. Most of the reviews I’ve read have said that the movie is technically stunning to look at, but just doesn’t have the spark you’d expect it to have. It’s currently holding a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s probably a safe bet that, unless it does really well overseas, the sequels will probably fail to materialize. Which is a shame as it’d be interesting to see how they’d handle the follow ups given the increasingly anti-religious tone the contain. At the moment it doesn’t appear we’ll ever find out.

8 thoughts on ““The Golden Compass” isn’t doing so well.

  1. Advertising and genre I presume, people dismiss fantasy and no one took that into account so there was not enough good enough advertising.

    Les you know the opening sales have no relation to if the movie is good or not.

  2. The problem I’m guessing is the way they have had to cut the book so much, coupled with its not really an action movie- no Quidditch etc. Jonathon Ross on BBC’s Film 2008 criticised it for too much exposition, saying in a film you should be showing, not telling.

    The problem is much of the book is exposition, especially at the start.  The whole alternate world needs to be set up- daemons, the different geo-politics, the tech etc.  The first 30 minutes or so seemed very choppy, as they tried to pack all the info needed in, and get to the main plot of the book.  The action sequences all happen later in the film

    JKR writes in a ‘filmic’ way- I don’t believe she did so with Hollywood in mind, but I think it was probably subconciously copying the style of story telling she was most used to- visual.  I’ve argued before on this site and others about the quality of her writing.  It’s very thinness means it is easy to screenwrite.

    LotR had the advantage that much of the writing was ‘visual’- Jackson just had to stick it on the screen, rather than have 30 seconds of explanation- Dead Marshes, Mordor, vast armies, and crucially battles- action sequences that move the plot on– not just their because some producer has said ‘12 minutes since the last crash/fight/chase’ etc.

    Pratchett has been filmed 3 times, but always for TV.  They come across slow for those unfamiliar.  This is because there is not much in the books you can cut- things set up later things.  I intend to re-read Hogfather this side of Christmas, as its seasona. I will have a look as I do to see what could be cut.  The TV adaptaion was a two parter.

  3. Saw it last night.. it was fluffy, predictable, and lacking. I read the first book and it sustained me through the hamfisted second and third books. This movie was boring and meaningless, no matter your perspective on the “controversy” and I wouldn’t see a second movie (in theaters anyway).

    Too bad since the source books had a lot of good stuff in them. They couldn’t decide if this move should be true to the books or mainstream and wound up doing neither.

  4. The stupid wacko boycott people can’t claim any sort of “victory” in having something to do with this.  While box office sales were disappointing, The Golden Compass was still first at the Box Office. The only thing that’s been proven is that all the movies that are out right now are somewhat shitty in terms of mainstream appeal.

  5. Well, I had not read the book, and I had not heard anything about this ‘boycott’ thing (nor am I interested in that).

    I actually liked the movie. Yes, the pace was a bit slow… When the curtain came down, my immediate thought was, they were more interested in setting the stage for a part II, and in the process left this movie hanging, and did not create an impact for us, this time, in this movie.

    So (as another person wrote), I am not sure I would see part II in the movies, but, I would probably rent it to see how the story progresses.

  6. Some of book one seems to have been moved to film 2 (a la LotR). The guide to the film books mention something Azrael does (and whose ommision has been criticised on various sites), with stills. I’m guessing the final edit moved them- from my understanding it’s quite pivotal. (I know what it is, but not spoiling)

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