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The Golden Compass 'disappoints' at US box office

The Golden Compass

Story by Jack Foley

THE Golden Compass has failed to meet expectations at the American box office even though the $180 million epic took the top spot over the December 7-9, 2007, weekend.

New Line Cinema had hoped the film would amass between $30 and $40 million (and possibly more) and become the blockbuster of the Christmas season, especially since it’s based on the first part of Philip Pullman’s widely popular His Dark Materials trilogy.

But ticket sales of $26.1 million meant that the film, starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and newcomer Dakota Blue Richards, had under-performed.

Rolf Mittweg, president and chief operating officer of New Line’s worldwide distribution and marketing operations, conceded: “It’s a little bit disappointing.”

But he anticipated that word of mouth might help the film over the coming weeks, especially during the school holidays.

The Golden Compass has been adapted for the screen by writer/director Chris Weitz and takes place in an alternate world ruled by an oppressive religious authority.

It attracted controversy from The Catholic League earlier this year, who urged filmgoers to boycott it due to perceived anti-Catholic views. But Weitz has been at pains to point out that much of the controversy contained within the novels has been lost in the film.

Walt Disney fairy-tale fantasy Enchanted slipped to No. 2 at the US box office with a healthy $10.7 million, taking its three-week haul to $83.9 million.

The film, starring Amy Adams, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden and Patrick Dempsey, opens in UK cinemas this Friday (December 14).