The Golden Compass Bombs - Is This The Death of New Line Cinema?

December 9, 2007
Source: SlashFilm

The Golden Compass Bombs - Is This The Death of New Line Cinema?

Is New Line Cinema soon to become the next Orion Pictures or United Artists (before Tom Cruise bought it and started it back up)? They've had an incredibly bad year with every movie they've released and were relying heavily on The Golden Compass to perform very well, especially with its rumored $150-200 million (or more) budget. Unfortunately things aren't going so well - The Golden Compass is doing very poorly at the box office on its opening weekend. It's being referred to as a "disaster", but is it enough to bring about the eventual end of New Line? I hope not. But at least I'm brave enough to ask the question that everyone is thinking but is too afraid to say.

The Golden Compass opened on Friday (December 7th) in 3,528 screens but only made an estimated total of $8.8 million on Friday. The film is expect to top out at $27 million for the weekend. It's expect to be the #1 movie for the weekend, but it's a very weak opening for the second weekend of December. In comparison, here are the #1 movie's box office earnings for the second weekend of December for the last 10 years.

2007 - The Golden Compass ($27M expected)
2006 - Apocalypto ($15M weekend total)
2005 - The Chronicles of Narnia ($66M weekend total)
2004 - Ocean's Twelve ($39M weekend total)
2003 - The Last Samurai ($24M weekend total)
2002 - Die Another Day ($13M weekend total)
2001 - Ocean's Eleven ($38M weekend total)
2000 - How the Grinch Stole Christmas ($19M weekend total)
1999 - Toy Story 2 ($18M weekend total)
1998 - Star Trek: Insurrection ($22M weekend total)
1997 - Flubber ($11M weekend total)

Box office analyst Steve Mason writes at SlashFilm that "$100M domestic is now a longshot, and the movie will probably finish only in the $80M-$90M range." Quite a low amount, well below the "reported" budget, not even considering the excessive marketing they've done. I'm even worried if we'll even see a sequel now! SlashFilm's Mason also lists out New Line's very bad year.

Hairspray - $27.4M weekend / $118.8M total (~$75M budget)
Rush Hour 3 - $49.1M weekend / $140.1M total (~$140M budget)
Fracture - $11M weekend / $39M total
The Number 23 - $14.6M weekend / $35.1M total (~$30M budget)
Mr. Woodcock - $8.7M weekend / $25.8M total
The Last Mimzy - $10M weekend / $21.4M total
Shoot 'Em Up - $5.7M weekend / $12.8M total (~$20M budget)
Rendition - $4M weekend / $9.7M total
Code Name: The Cleaner - $4.2M weekend / $8.1M total (~$20M budget)
Martian Child - $3.3M weekend / $7.4M total (~$27M budget)
Love in the Time of Cholera - $1.9M weekend / $4.3M total (~$45M budget)

Every studio goes through some big downtimes, and maybe this is just New Line's. I can't imagine founder Bob Shaye giving up so easily nor can I imagine the studio that put out the cash-printing Lord of the Rings franchise to disappear so quickly. But if you aren't making money and don't have any left over in the bank, then there's no other choice. However, I'm hoping they'll recover strong in the next few years and improve some of the areas that they really lack in.

I hate to say it, but I think the blame for this lies in their marketing department. Just look at Snakes on a Plane. They had no part in the internet buzz, but then they didn't know how to take advantage of it. Then Warner Brothers markets 300 to a huge success which had as much if not more internet buzz than Snakes on a Plane. Beyond that, I just feel like their marketing really doesn't amount to anything, or is even sometimes non-existent. They don't have a solid grasp on how to market well to the right places and really get the word out. That's the first area I'd look to improve if I were Bob Shaye.

I really don't want New Line to go the way of Orion Pictures. I actually really like some of their films (look at Shoot 'Em Up or Hairspray or Rendition), and I think they've got a great Hollywood company. They just had an unlucky set of films that no one cared about this year (and couldn't compete with other big ones) and some poor marketing. If I could help them in any way to improve, I would, but it's not up to me and I don't work at New Line.

2008 is already looking like a better year for New Line, but if they continue with their poor marketing, some of these may end up being flops, too. They've got my upcoming fave Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind, Will Ferrell's Semi-Pro, the likely-to-be-huge Harold & Kumar 2, an attempt at a Nancy Drew-like franchise with Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, two Brendan Fraser-starring films Inkheart and Journey 3-D which both probably won't do well, the holiday comedy Four Christmases, a sci-fi The Time Traveler's Wife, and their possible savior for 2008 - Sex and the City: The Movie.

I hope New Line stays in the game, but if they keep releasing bombs like The Golden Compass, they're bound not to last much longer. And it's sad, because The Golden Compass is actually one of the better fantasy films out and is worth seeing, so what happened to all the moviegoers? Once they figure that out maybe they'll make a recovery.

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Maybe people are just tired of LOTR/HP-clone-a-like family fantasy movies; there's been so many this year, and in recent years. Nicole Kidman is a terrible choice for any movie, too.

avoidz on Dec 9, 2007


Just because it does bad in the US doesn't mean it is doing poorly in the rest of the world. I think some people forget that there are other countries on this planet!

Leon on Dec 9, 2007


I'd like to just say that there is a major winter weather system over much of the mid part of the country AND there is major flooding and carnage on the west coast. People find it kind of hard to go to a movie when their houses are underwater. Why not put movie openings in context with what is happening around the country for a change. Sheesh

Sar'EnyaDor on Dec 9, 2007


I also believe that the major studios are making a rookie mistake by placing too much emphasis on the opening weekend numbers. As a HSX (Hollywood Stock Exchange) player, I know that I live and die by them, but the studios aren't playing with pretend millions, they are playing with real millions, and they're going through it like toilet paper at a laxative festival. There's something to be said for coming up with a coherent, proven marketing system for a movie. If they weren't throwing themselves on their sword or patting themselves on the back based on opening weekend numbers like a big d*ck contest, they would be smarter about it.

William Mize on Dec 9, 2007


I think it has more to do with the boycott by Christian viewers. Philip Pullman, the author of "His Dark Materials" trilogy, is a staunch atheist. His books are the atheist answer to "Narnia," a Christian series by C.S. Lewis. The largest boycott group on facebook is 137,568 strong. That is about 820 k$. Most likely, their parent are boycotting the movie as well. I am not stating it would have broken records had this boycott not happened, but it would have fared much better. I plan on seeing it today, add like 5.6$ to the total. In reply to comment 1: One could say the same thing about comic book movies. I would not, but I know plenty of people who would.

JosefG on Dec 9, 2007


shut it. if this movie bombs in the u/s its going to bomb everywhere else. i cant see a bunch of filipinos storming to the theaters to watch this film. the problem with the movies is its meant for kids but is targeting adults. no normal adult is going to watch this without their kids unless they live in their moms basement or dont date.

javier on Dec 9, 2007


YES! For both Snakes on a Plane and Shoot'em Up, the marketing was TERRRRRRIBLE. Be Kind Rewind is a step in the right direction and Semi-Pro and Harold & Kumar 2 will rake in dough regardless, but jesus New Line, get a new marketing department. Looking at those other clones....erm, films, the rest of their year (outside of Sex and the City: The Movie) ain't looking too good at all. And Christians should never have been brought up in regards to the Golden Compass numbers, before or after the weekend. Christians really took a chomp out of Harry Potter's numbers, right guys? *rolleyes* If anything, the first commenter hit the mark. Screw all these epic movies that add up to a watered down LotR. Their flat numbers get no sympathy from me.

Joe H on Dec 9, 2007


javier: It has a chance of doing quite well in England, where readers commonly rank the books as better and more popular than the Harry Potter series and other classics. The source material IS British, anyways; and there are a lot less people afraid of controversy over there. And the problem, actually, is the opposite -- the film is being marketed toward children, like it's a family film. However, it actually has a large number of very adult concepts about religion, class, and authority. I'm personally always quite shocked to find the novels in the kid's section, because despite the writing itself being easy for children to understand, the concepts are not. Most of the people that I know who love the books are, in fact, adults. And, rest assured, entirely normal people.

Lena on Dec 9, 2007


If it's over for NewLine it would be because of poor films. All the films they've put out this year were horrible. I think Golden Compass will do well overall. Forget about opening numbers. The real numbers are in DVD sales.

J Maurice on Dec 9, 2007


Well one crummy year won't bankrupt them Alex but seriously, Martian Child, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Last Mimzy, etc. did they really expect these to be sizeable hits?! The Number 23 was a miss along with a couple others on the list but I think they need to think about who would see the movies before they greenlight them. Hairspray I would call a hit, and Rush Hour 3 will break even with DVD sales but New Line seems kinda desperate with getting films lately. Golden Compass was a misfire but New Line has taken chances before (ie. Freddy vs. Jason and Lord of the Rings which were hits)....every studio has its misfires WB with Batman & Robin, Fox with...well...alot, but I think New Line will have a solid year in 08. Be Kind will be a sleeper and do 30-70 probably, Harold and Kumar 2 will probably do about 30 and make a lot on DVD, Semi-Pro will top 100, American Doll can go either way like Nancy Drew and Bratz or be a sizeable hit with its large fanbase, Inkheart I can't say yet, and Journey 3-D can do good or horrible like Inkheart, though I expect the latter. Four Christmases can do well and Time Traveler's Wife has potential. However, Sex and the City will be huge with probably 100-150 range. I think New Line needs to think and learn to market like they are doing for Sex and the City, face it, the film is on the cover of every magazine and gossip show and the new teaser is getting things going and its only DECEMBER!

Ryan on Dec 9, 2007


Box-office analysts predicted this film would open anywhere from 27.5-33 million (see Rottentomatoes news and boxofficereport.com). No one (including New Line) expected "LOTR", "Harry Potter" or "Narnia" numbers. Plus, the religious idiots put a hurting on the film. But the movie had a HUGE opening in the U.K. And will do much better overseas than here (like "Eragon" and "Stardust"). But most importantly, like J Maurice said, the real business these days is DVD. Personally I thoroughly enjoyed "The Golden Compass". I loved the sets, special effects and thought Dakota Blue Richards was amazing. Best child performance I've seen in a long time. This kid is going to be around for a while.

Rob on Dec 9, 2007


OMG New Line's making an American Girl movie?! How did I not know about this? That's fabulous.....

Jessica on Dec 9, 2007


Well I just saw the Golden Compass tonight and despite the comments about it bombing out, I think that it's an excellent film! Costumes? Superb! Special effects and CGI? Brilliant Adaptation of book? VERY well done - am a great fan of the book! Having read all the books, I am looking forward to the remainder being scripted! It was a very good adaptation of the book, and I was surprised in the way that the way I had visualised the characters, locations and scenes/events within the book where so close to the way they where actually presented! Here in the UK I think this will be a success!! Chris

Chris Hall on Dec 9, 2007


From the chatter online I thought the Golden Compass was doing pretty well...I've heard good reviews and I though I haven't read the books yet I plan on seeing the movie this week. I think Inkheart is a great book and the movie looks to be pretty good.The designs I've seen planned are looking beautiful. I do agree that they need to do something different with thier marketing for all thier movies. and I don't understand how Harlod & Kumar could do good. Sex & the City on the other hand seems to have a pretty good sized fan base and the potential to do very good.

Amanda on Dec 9, 2007


"...And it's sad, because The Golden Compass is actually one of the better fantasy films out and is worth seeing, so what happened to all the moviegoers?..." Perhaps they heard this movie is a big disappointment? I'm a fan of the books, but this film really missed the mark. If I had not read the books, I think I would have enjoyed it even less. It was poorly paced (too fast), poorly adapted, the characters were thin and overall the film was rather boring in my opinion. The CG was inconsistent. It's really too complex a story to be told in 2 hours. I blame the director and screenwriters and whoever hired them. Heads should roll. On a positive note, I actually thought most if the actors were well-cast, particularly Nicole Kidman, Sam Elliot and the girl who played Lyra. But the material they were given to work with did not take full advanatge of their talents. I hope they axe the sequels. Poor Mr. Pullman... at last his books have gotten more exposure this side of the pond.

Dan on Dec 9, 2007


I saw the film this morning and really liked it. The characters and story are great. The ending was not the greatest, but from what I have read it is a good place to end the story. The greatest part about it is I don't think everything will work out fine. I have no clue where it is going, which is a far cry from Harry Potter, LOTR, and most of the comic book movies I have seen. In response to comment 15: Mr. Pullman was consulted in the making of the film. To quote from the official website under: "Into this Wild Abyss: Adapting the Golden Compass": "Weitz met on numerous occasions with Pullman and discussed the film throughout development and production." In response to comment 6: I probably should not have singled out Christians. I should have singled out those with a belief in God who feel threatened by nontheism. I went back to facebook global groups, my original sample, and looked at groups for "Harry Potter" and "The Golden Compass." On first page of results, all the groups were supporting "Harry Potter". There were 176032 members total. On first page of results, only one group was supporting "The Golden Compass" with 1596 members. There were 160044 members not supporting "The Golden Compass." When I search for "Harry Potter boycott," the first group up is "Boycott "The Golden Compass" and it's atheist message": 3023 members. The rest of the groups have 2 orders of magnitude less than that first group. This by no means is a very scientific result. It does show the numbers of people interested in what we are discussing over a random sample. Although these numbers are not astounding, they do contribute a lackluster performance. I realized I do not have a TV and probably missed all of the poor marketing. To those who stated marketing as a reason, I agree with you folks now.

JosefG on Dec 9, 2007


hopefully this will convince them to settle with peter jackson and get the ball rolling on the hobbit, and please god not in 3D

harrison on Dec 9, 2007


if the 2nd one doesnt get made then it will ruin the first one. its like the LOTR series in the way that if they had just made the first one it takes from the complete story thats there. not to mention they could of had a great ending, (the one in the book is amazing) but moved it to open the 2nd movie supposedly. it seemed ok, but now we are faced with weather or not the 2nd one will even come out. maybe they should of not risked it and had the original ending, is was still left open but had more closure than the one shown. also, the numbers may just be from bad timing, since we have and will have A LOT of fam-fantasy movies coming out. but at least its not a question of originality, being from a book series thats been out for a while. they are just flooding the market with the same genre, and at times the same premise even. seriously, read the books, so amazing. that bear fight is killer and in the book iorek eats the king bears heart! plus you can get the great ending and go on to read the other 2. p.s I am a christian and wonder why so many other christians would boycott the movie. yes the books have an atheist take on them, personaly i dont like the ending all that much, but i love the series. to all those people; IT IS JUST A MOVIE/BOOK. Its pretend, not real, and has a very fun adventure in it. are you going to boycott every book/movie just because they have a different outlook than you? do you do that to every person you meet as well?

sarah on Dec 10, 2007


It's looked shit from the trailers and reviews. Along with Stardust and the forthcoming Narnia film the studios are just killing this film genre. Even by the end of the LOTR trilogy it was beginning to wane. Huge battles but no one of consequence dying and hence no real feeling of tension or peril for the characters. In the case of Golden Compass when the trailer says "and the fate of the world lies in the hand of a child" you know it will be poor. Narnia was equally woeful. Kids going into battle hardly makes for an epic action packed tussle.

Paynebyname on Dec 10, 2007


It's really sad my fellow Americans are illiterate. These books are better than LOTR and give Narnia a run for it. The movie is beautifully executed and perfectly cast, but is rushed because they tried to keep all the major events in the book, but they left out the glue. Iorek's situation was badly mishandled. Much as I hate Nicole Kidman, she was PERFECT for that role. HDM by Pullman aren't a response to Narnia, they're a response to Paradise Lost. Obviously you've never Read PL, because HIS DARK MATERIALS is a line from it, for crying out loud. Pullman wasn't really writing for kids, he was writing for everyone. I doubt most westerners will read the books, but I believe they'll become part of the western epic canon as time wears on.

Lauren on Dec 10, 2007


As for international, it made around $55 million opening weekend internationally, which is a good amount. The issue here though, if you do your research, is that New Line sold the distrobution rights to lots of different regional companies. So they're probably making a cut (probably a %), but not as much as they would here. I can't even guess at what their cut is internationally, but they're hurting right now. If they've spent around $250M total with marketing and production and everything, then you put in the current totals, they've probably still made less than $50M total worldwide, and it won't get even remotely close to $250M at all.

Alex Billington on Dec 10, 2007


$27m doesn't look weak for this weekend given the list you posted -- it's the fourth highest.

Aaron S. Veenstra on Dec 10, 2007


At least some of Newline's woes may be fallout from their ridiculous nose-thumbing at the LOTR fanbase over who will be director for the Hobbit. And of course, Golden compass aims squarely at the same types of viewers as LOTR, even though it has a narrower appeal compared to LOTR (as evidenced by the religious boycott). The lesson here for Mr Shaye is don't make your customers angry. I have been boycotting Newline ever since Peter Jackson was turfed off the film and will continue to do so until they relent.

Still Peeved on Dec 10, 2007


Do Movie Critics ever go outdoors ? We had major snow & ice storms over half the country ... 400,000 people lost power. Despite poor weather, I went & saw movie. It is a very good ... the kind we all like go to the theater for. Another reason for reduced attendance to ALL movies this season is lack of promotion on late night talk shows due to writers strike... ( all reruns ) This has historically been a very important marketing venue for new movies.

Movie Viewer on Dec 10, 2007


I didn't see it simply because it looked like it would suck, from the previews and general plot line. FWIW I haven't see Narnia and probably won't, and didn't see any of the LOTR movies until they were out on DVD. It's making me laugh inside that the Catholic church thinks their petty, irrational, small scale boycott had any effect on me or the millions like me that didn't go see this movie simply because it looked like it was going to be garbage. As for New Line, hell, they turn out more crap than quality, like any other hollywood firm. Is this "the death of new line cinema?" No, not unless it's the death of hollywood as a whole.

allen in nh on Dec 10, 2007


My family won't be seeing, because it hates on Christians, and as you know, we have a right to ascend to presidency, and dictate our morality to all. At least, that's what Obama tells me. Actually, we won't go see it because I almost fell asleep in Narnia (I wish I had). What is this child friendly sub nitch of fantasy called? Because I and everyone I know or staying as far from it as we can. This will be rented for the kids some weekend when everything else is gone, and we've watched everything on Netflix's watch it now. Yes, that's how painful my mind already believes this movie will be. BTW the christian thing was a joke, I just think it's funny everyone loves Obama, but wants to attach christians, such as Obama. I personally am going to hell, as my grandfather pointed out when he saw a 'Bad Religion' sticker on my car. Luckily for my kids, Jesus saves. It's good to know that the true failing is us yanks lack of reading. If only we were adult readers who shopped in the childrens section and like to watch child actors, this movie would be a hit. Sorry, but that makes the average brit sound kinda creepy to me 😉

ASimpleDad on Dec 10, 2007


Maybe the boycott the Catholic League hurt the film a bit, but look at the Di Vinci Code. Awful movie that managed to make a boatload of money even with a boycott from the same organization. The difference is the popularity of the novel in the States. Everybody knew Lord of the Rings, and the Chronicles of Narnia are a fairly beloved set of books as well. The His Dark Materials trilogy is not nearly as known in the States. But I'm just going from personal experience here.

CajoleJuice on Dec 11, 2007


I find it interesting that some people are trying to call Compass a bomb or a failure when in fact it was the number one movie at the box office. I think this is a reflection on the fact that the weather was bad in most places in the country this past weekend than anything else. An awful lot of people didn't go out to see ANY movie this weekend. That is the real bottom line. The catholic league and Mr Billington here are just trying to spin a meteorological phenomenon into their particular viewpoint. Grow up.

TexasMan on Dec 11, 2007


Hi The BBC reports it doing well in the UK "Fantasy adventure The Golden Compass has topped the UK box office chart with a first weekend haul of £7.2m. The news will be welcomed by the film's distributors following its lacklustre opening weekend in the US. The Philip Pullman adaptation's takings - which include two days of previews - make it the seventh highest opening of 2007 in the UK, Screen Daily reports." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7140131.stm

Scott Hughes on Dec 12, 2007


Seeing as how 7 out of the 10 movies on that list of second-week openers made less (in some cases, far less) than The Golden Compass, that particular claim of "it's a very weak opening for the second weekend of December" doesn't really hold up, does it? No, it hasn't made the same as the three 'big' winners (Narnia, Ocean's 11 & 12), but considering the amount of editing re: Catholicism that went into the writing and which may have put off some of those who were looking for a more faithful adaptation, I think it's safe to say that it's made a pretty good showing of itself - especially if you consider that while the trailers made it look like Narnia II: Now With More Bears!, the people who see it say that it's a good movie. That sort of audience response it what is going to make the real difference. Snakes on a Plane failed not just because of poor marketing; it failed because those who DID go see it on it's opening weekend let the rest of us know that it was crap, saving us time, money and self-respect.

Sam on Dec 12, 2007


Yes, the atheism of the series hurt it. Why not the Da Vinci Code or other movies? Because of kids. There is a huge difference between reading or viewing something that challenges beliefs when it is geared towards your kids, esp. if you feel it undermines what you are trying to teach them. Also, Rendition? No one wants to see movies like that. Hollywood lives in a bubble. Hey, let's make a movie about interrogating terrorists. If you want to make money, make G and PG movies that are family-friendly.

Geoff on Dec 16, 2007


There are also a lot of folks who aren't going to the movies in support of the Writer's Strike.

Joseph Teller on Dec 18, 2007


It is the height of arrogance to put all your eggs into something that will be understood as an insult to 40% of the viewing audience. The secret of Narnia and LOTR isn't the fantasy genre, it's the family audience content in a quality special effects adventure. Consider King Kong. It did OK, but the unnecessarily excessive violence at the beginning caused the family audience not to do the second trip, so they did not make what they could have. It would have been a better film, had a better box office, and lasted much longer in DVD if Jackson hadn't been so obsessed with preserving the shock effect of the first film that he (as George Lucas would say) "went over the top." I didn't go to "Obsession." I didn't even want to give the guy admission, because he was targeting kids with his "darkness."

Joe Makley on Dec 18, 2007


Hate to be the one to drop a reality bomb, but it ain't the marketing. The movie stinks. ok. It doesn't matter how much money you put in the movie or the marketing if the product is rubbish, people will av oid it and tell their friends Customers of our cinema are upset. Readers of the books are upset. and where's the theology everyones been talking about. Anyway. Happy holidays.

oh my god on Dec 19, 2007


I agree with the above comment. The movie is NOT good. The acting was okay, but the script was not all that great, and the effects were cheesy more often than they were good. It doesn't help that every dollar that is spent on it goes into an outspoken atheist's pocket - the 80% Christian population of the U.S. simply won't spend it's money on this movie. And you know what? That's their prerogative. Harry Potter had some opponents, but it was obviously not an anti-religion series of books or movies. And LoTR and Narnia both have positive reflections and references to Christianity. Know your audience.

Don on Dec 20, 2007


I disagree with the two above comments. Oh, and by the way, you shouldn't say that the move 'is' horrible, or that it stinks, you should say that in 'your opinion' the movie was bad because everyone else has an opinion too. In my opinion, the movie was great. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and thought it was well cast, had beautiful special effects and scenery and, having read the books, I thought that they kept close to the storyline (with a few omissions, notably the ending). Of course there are still some parts of the movie that need improvement, such as the fast-pace. I didn't mind the pace because I already understood the story, but I can understand that it would be difficult to grasp the concepts presented in the movie and the plot when it is thrown at you rather quickly. Other than that, I thought that the movie was excellent. Unfortunately, the movie did not make as much money as it could have because of a chain of events. Many Catholics, and that is a large group in America, did not go and see the movie and I have even seen some Catholics who have not seen the movie pretend they have seen it and give it a horrible review which, in turn, makes others decide to not see the movie and it continues in a chain. This is really too bad as the movie deserves more than it received (money and rating). It is really sad that people will go out of their way to take shots at this movie and lessen the chance of a sequel, which I am hoping for. I love the fantasy genre and it is sad to me that many people do not respect the genre and they consider it 'childish.' I truly hope that fantasy will live on despite all of this.

Greg on Dec 22, 2007


I would have to say that the movie was disappointing. We loved the books and felt that they would have been difficult to bring to film. This movie needed to be more cohesive - it seemed to skip around. In any case the Christian thing is hilarious. I am Catholic and I never pay ANY attention to people telling me not to watch something because its anti-Christian. If your religion and your religious faith cannot stand up to criticism (let alone an entertaining fictional fantasy book) then you probably ought to be an atheist. Sheesh. In any case, I hope they make enough to justify the sequel and I hope they get a better adaptation for the next editions, and a better director. THese books are very thought provoking and deserve a better treatment. By the way , the first movie could definitely be fixed by an extended edition since their was a distinct shortage of exposition, which is really at the heart of the movie's flaws.

Mr Blint on Feb 7, 2008


I rekon that this movie is great, the books of "His Dark Materials" definately are influenced by Paradise Lost. Now, Christians consider this athiest, because technicly (sorry if not correctly spelled), the book features christians taking the roles as villains. This is influenced by the fact that they toke a role as villains when they threatened to put a scientist to death during middle ages for discovering the truth that our planet orbits around the sun. There are depictions of christians executing explorers from the "His Dark Materials" trilogy for trying to learn the truth, like trying to discover other worlds. Harry Potter franchise gives moral lessons in what is right and what others say. "His Dark Materials" gives moral lessons on how power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, along with moral lessons in politics and religion. I have seen "The Golden Compass" film before, and I am almost done with the book, and I have plans to read the other books in "His Dark Materials".

Ben Tracey on May 11, 2008


Some people say that the movie was 'disappointing'. I prefer to use the word 'horrifying' or 'sickening'. The book was based on concepts, philosophies, and characters. The movie had none of these (unless you count people wearing costumes as "characters" and those people having nonsensical verbal exchanges as "story"). If I taught a class on how to write a good story, His Dark Materials books would be on the required reading list. If I taught a class on how NOT to write ANYTHING, the Golden Compass movie script would be the centerpiece of the curriculum. If New Line Cinema previewed this movie and thought it would save them from a bad year, then they deserve what they get.

JRP on Aug 28, 2008


His Dark Materials more popular than Harry Potter in the UK?!? Oh please that is just a lie. Please read up the actual figures, you make me laugh. & yes I'm a Brit. Truth is the film was rather stupid, it moved away from the books, but put nothing in its place. And the first book/film is already dark for children, the latter two will make poor films, whereas the dumbing down will make them a disaster for adults. And the actual fact is that Tolkien and Harry Potter have stood up well to time and are just plain more interesting and enjoyable. The religious debate is neither here nor there, some religious types complained about Harry Potter, attempted a boycott, and it didn't affect performance one bit. You are trying to make excuses. The fact is the books probably are anti Catholic, I'm not surprised they aren't too keen, I'm not Catholic myself, but I can see their point, but that wasn't what caused the problem. New Line gave up its overseas rights (where the film turned a small profit) and made an enormous loss in the US (where the films are financed and made). Bye bye newline. It has probably put pay to the rest of the series, but given what the film did to the book that is just as well. Personally I am unconvinced that the second book will make a good film and the third one certainly won't. So perhaps its all for the best. If you are interested read the book, and stop bothering trying to make further films.

Bronwen on Dec 8, 2008

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