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July 23, 2008

Something dark

07compass600 It's astonishing how much power we Christians have, isn't it? We put a stop to further installments of the His Dark Materials film trilogy all by ourselves! So says The Independent: "When The Golden Compass was released last year, New Line Cinema had high hopes for the trilogy as the new The Lord of the Rings, and the sequel was due to be released by the end of 2009. But then the Christian boycotts started and the film sunk in the US, making a meagre $70m (£35m), although it took a hefty $300m internationally." It was all us.

Or maybe not. Blogger "Dirty Harry" offers an insightful analysis of The Independent's take (mild vulgarity):

I’d love for it to be true if only to shut up the liars who constantly claim religious protests are good for a film. Okay, uh, when? The last religious protest I remember was for the Scorsese snoozer The Last Temptation of Christ, and that sucker put the tank in “tanked.”

Some protests are good for box office. Bigots swamped the airwaves and editorial pages to light into The Passion of the Christ and it ended up breaking records. Gays and lesbians took to the streets protesting Basic Instinct and it was the hit of the year, making Sharon Stone a star.

Is there some sort of correlation here? I’d like to think so, but maybe it goes no deeper than the very simple fact that The Golden Compass sucked. It opened pretty well and couldn’t maintain momentum because it sucked. . . . Even through the FX fakery and precocious kids there was something dark in the heart of that story — something it couldn’t quite shake.

Read more here.

(Image © New Line)

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Chris Clukey

I think Dirty Harry is probably hitting the target with magnum force on this one. Had I not known the background purpose of this film and judged it solely by its marketing, it would have been exactly the kind of movie I'd be eager to see: Family oriented, inventive fantasy concepts, lots of adventure, steampunk (I'm a sucker for steampunk), cool effects and three actors I like very much: Nicole Kidman, Ian McKellen and Sam Elliott. In fact, if I hadn't been aware of Pullman's anti-Christian intent, I would probably have chosen this movie for my Cub Scout Pack's annual movie theater field trip--we saw "Enchanted" instead.

And yet...the movie cost $180M to make and made $70M in the U.S. And though its first weekend wasn't all that good--only $25.8M; compare that to Enchanted's $29M in its first two days (Thanksgiving and the day before) and $34M over the next three days--its revenue did fall off precipitously. Harry is right: Something about the film had a sudden impact on its word of mouth, and that did enough damage to make its planned sequels good candidates for a dead pool.

Super-Awesome Armored Polar Bear from The Golden Compass

I'm going to eat that Dirty Harry punk.

Chris Clukey

Dude...can you imagine how stringy Dirty Harry's meat is?

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