Planned sequels to failed pro-atheism children’s film are increasingly unlikely.
The controversial children’s film The Golden Compass, which has accomplished only very weak box office appeal in the United States, has fallen off in foreign appeal as well, landing in second this past weekend, behind I Am Legend.
The Golden Compass has earned $130 million in non-U.S. markets and is fading.
None of this foreign money will go to the studio that made the film, New Line, because the company sold off the foreign rights a couple of years ago in order to raise enough money to produce and market the film. It has earned only $48 million in the United States since opening three weekends ago.
As a result of the poor U.S. showing, it is unlikely that any sequels will be made.
The film brought in only $4 million in U.S. box office last weekend, dropping to ninth place and indicating that its theatrical run is basically over.
Given that The Golden Compass cost $180 million to make (according to most reports; the price may well have gone over $200 million, say others), plus at least half again that much for promotion and distribution, and has taken in less than $50 million, New Line cannot continue the series unless some other entity wants to invest an enormous amount of money on a project for which the potential return is basically nil and the suffering of a huge financial loss is almost a certainty.
U.S. Christian groups had expressed concern about possible sequels because the film was based on the first of a trilogy of novels, "His Dark Materials," by UK writer Philip Pullman, which the author intended as an atheist alternative to C. S. Lewis’s celebrated Narnia series of children’s books. Pullman hoped to use his series to persuade children to become atheists, as Lewis had used his books to prepare children to accept the concepts of Christianity.
The filmmakers deliberately suppressed the pro-atheist, anti-Christian tone in the first movie, but that was unlikely to be possible with subsequent installments, as the ideas were even more deeply embedded in the second and third books.