The Golden Compass movie, based off the books by Philip Pullman, cost around $180,000,000 to make.
In its first weekend, it was a box-office disappointment. While it was the #1 movie, it didn’t make nearly as much money as the studios would have hoped.
In North America, it made an estimated $26,100,000 (more optimistic projections put the estimates at $28,000,000).
For the sake of comparison, The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, the first movie in that trilogy, opened at $47,200,000.
New Line, a struggling Time Warner Inc unit hoping to launch another franchise along the lines of its blockbuster “Lord of the Rings” series, said last week it was hoping the film would open to between $30 million and $40 million.
“It’s below expectations, but it’s not an out-and-out debacle,” said [Paul Dergarabedian at Media By Numbers, a tracking firm].
If you factor in overseas markets, you can add another $55,000,000 in ticket sales.
But it’s still not enough to recoup the money spent on the film. Not unless the movie holds steady at or near the top of the weekend box-office lists for another couple weeks. And even then, it’s still a stretch.
The movie hasn’t been getting a thrilling reception from most audiences, including atheists like the members of the Central Valley Alliance of Atheists and Skeptics (in California), who weren’t very impressed:
So, what did I think of the movie? Atheists everywhere have been hoping that the movie doesn’t suck. It’s odd, Atheists are so used to having people think of us as being immoral, or arrogant, or evil that it no longer really bothers us so much. However the general Atheist opinion seems to be that they would hate to be represented by a poorly made Hollywood movie.
So here’s my take. The movie didn’t suck, but it also wasn’t nearly as good as I hoped it would be.
(A local ABC affiliate took some of the group’s members to see and discuss the movie, along with some Christians. Check out the video here.)
Critics aren’t huge fans, either. Metacritic.com gives the movie a combined rating of only 51/100.
Here’s Peter Travers of Rolling Stone:
Me, I just think it blows. What does it matter if you spend millions on a movie – love the talking, battling bears! – if the effects are cheesy, the story runs off on tangents and after watching the movie fail utterly to be the next Lord of the Rings, you just want to go home.
(One notable exception was Roger Ebert, who gave it four stars. That counts for something.)
In any case, this could put the two potential sequels in the trilogy in limbo. Production on those films was only going to begin depending on how the first movie did financially.
Molten Thought has these incorrect ideas about why the movie bombed:
1. There aren’t that many atheists in America; the LWM and academia where most of them reside simply lie about their number.
We are in the tens of millions. That’s an underestimate.
2. Atheists don’t have kids, so there’s no reason to make atheist “family” movies.
We have plenty of kids. There are even books about how to raise children without religion.
3. Atheist movies stink, since they’re motivated by propaganda rather than story or character.
I seem to recall Contact being a fairly popular film.
There are many reasons the movie may not have done so well. Those particular reasons have nothing to do with it.