The Golden Compass — marketed to Catholics?

For the past few months, I have been asking certain Christian movie publicists if New Line Cinema would be making any effort to reach out to the religious market, to dampen the controversy over The Golden Compass.

I have been on a few New Line junkets myself — for films like The New World (2005) and The Nativity Story (2006) — and last year another studio, Sony Pictures, made a point of “engaging” the religious media while publicizing the similarly controversial The Da Vinci Code (2006).

But apparently, no, I was told it did not seem that New Line would be doing anything of that sort on this particular film.

Now, however, comes word from Catholic blogger Amy Welborn that New Line is hoping to advertise their film in diocesan publications.

To make their case, the studio cites a positive review of the film written by Harry Forbes and John Mulderig of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Film and Broadcasting — and the studio even claims to have “spoken extensively about this film” with Forbes.

In response to that last claim, Welborn asks, “What does that mean?”

Good question. And I have no idea what the answer is.

But I will note that Forbes does sort of work for the studios, in the sense that he is the Catholic representative on the MPAA’s ratings appeal board, and I don’t think it would be a stretch to hypothesize that long-term chumminess with the studios could have influenced his critical sensibilities.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    Once again, Forbes’ review is published online, breaking the review embargo.

    What good are embargos anymore? Folks who break them don’t seem to be bothering the studios…

    I’ve been eager to publish a detailed review about what a lousy movie it is, but that was only because I thought the studio was serious about holding reviews…