Sunday, December 09, 2007

Golden Compass sinking like a stone

Apparently, atheistic fantasy for children isn't a big seller.

Steve Mason, an LA-based talk-show host reporting box-office receipts, says Golden Compass looks to get about $28 million for its opening weekend.

He offers these comparisons:

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire - $102.6M opening
Harry Potter & the Prioner of Azkaban - $93.6M opening
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone - $90.2M opening
Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets - $88.3M opening
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - $72.6M opening
The Chronicles of Narnia - $65.5M opening
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - $62M opening
The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring - $47.2M opening
The Golden Compass - $27M opening (estimate)
Eragon - $23.2M opening
Bridge to Terabithia - $22.5M opening
Stardust - $9.1M opening

Lesson? Don't mess with the Magisterium!


Wolfie said...

i had a conversation with a friend about TGC and i predicted it would tank. WOOHOO!

besides the subject material, the film appears weighed down with over-rated under-talented power actors and special effects, not to mention a lame story.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

In fairness, Father, it should be mentioned that the film grossed an additional $55 million internationally in its first 10 days. It was also the top grossing film in the US (which likely says more about the schleck they produce these days than the quality of this film).
So it won't be the hoped-for blockbuster but will probably post a fair income for its producers. Although as Art Buchwald put it, some of the best fiction is Hollywood is written by the acctountants.
I just hope that when the sequel comes out somebody will ask the author why he chose the term "Magisterium" for the evil side when that word has only one real meaning - yet he claims that it's not intended to be in opposition to the Catholic Church.

Fr Martin Fox said...


I don't know beans about what's a good opening weekend for a movie. What I know is that people in the film industry say it wasn't a good opening. Thus the comparison I gave (which came from someone who, presumably, knows about these things), which puts this movie way down the list.

I.e., yes, it earned more internationally; but presumably, so did every other movie on that list I gave. The makers of this film were clearly hoping for a lot more--they hoped this would be a Harry Potter-type franchise. That doesn't look too likely at this point.

Anonymous said...

I'm not nearly as worried about movies liek this as I am about the music that kids listen to nowadays. Their blatently anti-Christian lyrics that sell in the millions, virtually drowning out the exhausted whistle blowers that can hardly keep up.

One song is about 3 minutes long, and is inconspicuous in the sea of commercial music. Yet children are saturated daily with these lyrics with no opposition from authority figures.

I liken it to a swarm of moquitos, which I have much more reason to fear than, say, a polar bear.

Anonymous said...


Let me assure you that $27 million is a poor showing for (1) a movie that cost this much, (2) had this kind of surface subject matter (CGI polar bears, etc.) and (3) was released at this time of year.

Nevertheless, whosoever shalt call Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig overrated and undertalented ... anathema sit.

Rachel said...

I loved the last line of this post. "Lesson? Don't mess with the Magisterium!"

Of course, liberal "theologians" and others mess with it all the time, with apparent impunity... but at least this movie isn't getting away with it. :)

Bernard Brandt said...

While I agree with your conclusion that atheistic storytelling is less profitable, I doubt seriously that the failure on Hollywood's part was in "messing with the Magisterium". It is important to note that neither Tolkein's, Lewis', nor even Rowling's works make any reference to the Magisterium of the Church, nor are even explicitly Christian.

The point, I believe, is that the stories mentioned which the three writers are modern evocations of the old faery story, which has been endemic in Old Western Culture for the past four or so thousand years. You know, the type of story that starts with a mundane beginning, that involve fights against great odds, and in which good and justice triumph. The sort of story which has been popular since the Odyssey and Beowulf, and which continues in popularity now.

The thing that Hollywood apparently has not yet gotten is that even a six year old child can tell the difference between a true faery tale, and a counterfeit such as "The Golden Compass" or "Mr. Magorum's whatever".

Fr Martin Fox said...

My final line was simply meant to be humorous, insofar as the sinister holders of power, in the movie, are called "the Magisterium."

Bernard Brandt said...

Dear Fr. Fox (Father, Bless!):

Thank you for the correction, and my apologies for not getting the joke. That last comes from the fact that after having seen the trailers and read the plot synopsis for "The Golden Compass", I don't intend on spending my money or wasting my time on watching it in the theatres. Like "The DaVinci Code", it will just have to wait until it comes on cable, and I don't have to contribute to the decline of Western Civilization, save perhaps in my own living room.

It is always a pleasure to read your weblog, by the bye

Fr. Ron Williams said...

Bernard: On the contrary, Tolkein intended Christian themes and symbolism to play a part in his Lord of the Rings stories. For examples, the triple munera of Jesus Christ (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church) is reflected in three principal characters; Frodo represents Christ the priest, Gandalf represents Christ the prophet, and Aragon represents Christ the king. There have been a number of books that elaborate on this subject; many of them have been published by Ignatius Press. May I suggest you check them out for more information

Bernard Brandt said...

Dear Fr. Williams (Father, bless!):

I fear that you may have misread what I have written. If I recall correctly, I had said ". . .It is important to note that neither Tolkein's, Lewis', nor even Rowling's works make any reference to the Magisterium of the Church, nor are even explicitly Christian."

This is not to say that those writings are not implicitly Christian. And while I have read at least one of those books by Ignatius Press (a very good publishing house, by the bye), one need go no further than the Collected Letters of either Professor Lewis or Tolkein, or J. K. Rowling's recent statements, to know that those writers had intended that the Light of Christ shine inwardly within their books.

I must however thank you for drawing my attention to the prophet/priest/prince aspects of Gandalf, Frodo, and Aragorn. That insight makes a very pleasant pre-Christmas gift for me.

Fr. Larry Gearhart said...

The following data can be found at

TW LW Title (click to view) Studio Weekend Gross % Change Theater Count / Change Average Total Gross Budget* Week #
1 N The Golden Compass NL $25,783,232 - 3,528 +2,649 $7,308 $25,783,232 $180 1

All I can say is, given the original production budget and the advertising budget, they better hope for a lot in residuals.

Anonymous said...

Last week offered some doubt (traditionally the worst week of the season to open a new film)


Here's the icing on the cake. For the second weekend:
Gross: $9,025,000
Compared to previous week: -65.0%
Total US box to date: $40,968,000

Not Good for the producers.

Anonymous said...

Good Job! :)

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