How badly is The Golden Compass doing at the North American box office? So badly that, despite the film’s reported $250 million production budget — a figure that does not include marketing costs! — BoxOfficeMojo.com has added the film to its “showdown” chart for “Mid-Range Fantasy” movies, pitting it against the modest likes of Eragon and Bridge to Terabithia rather than the all-time blockbusters whose ranks it clearly wants to join. And The Golden Compass is actually making less money after one week in release than those other films, which ended their North American runs with grosses of $75 million and $82.3 million, respectively.
And the news gets worse — for the people who made the film, that is — as the film goes into its second week. Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily reports that the film “earned only an anemic $2.6 million Friday from 3,528 nearly empty runs”, a figure that prompted Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere to quip:
The projected haul will mean a 60% drop from last weekend, give or take. The Golden Lion of the Rings & the Wardrobe & the Order of the Magical Polar Bear is dead, dead…deader than dead. If this were Japan, certain New Line executives would be getting out their samurai swords in preparation for ritual seppuku.
Despite the strong start for “Compass,” “the jury’s out on its legs,” says a Spanish booker. “It can’t be compared with ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ Audiences are eager to find something similar, but they will soon realize that ‘Compass’ is not on par with it.”
It will be interesting to see how this film is packaged when the DVD comes out. Quibble though I might with some aspects of the film, I would still be very interested in a commentary by director Chris Weitz — and/or author Philip Pullman, come to think of it — to say nothing of all the possible making-of featurettes. And since it looks increasingly unlikely that the sequels will ever be made, I would really, really like to see the original ending, which was cut from the film after bits of it had already been shown in the trailers. But depending on how badly the film flops, the studio might decide it’s simply not worth the effort. And it might be kind of embarrassing to have anyone provide a commentary on a cliffhanger ending, when everyone knows the cliffhanger will never be resolved.