Friday, December 14, 2007

Hollywood Box Office Analysis: 'Golden Compass' Leads the Way


HOLLYWOOD - Fantasy family movie “The Golden Compass” took the top spot this weekend at the North American box office with $26.1 million, pushing reigning champ “Enchanted” down to second with $10.7 million.“The Golden Compass”, however, didn’t quite measure up to its fantasy predecessors. The three Lord of the Rings films released from 2001 to 2003 had opening weekends ranging from $47.2 million to $72.6 million. Disney's “The Chronicles of Narnia” opened with $65.6 million in 2005.New Line, which had enormous success with its three Lord of the Rings films, had hoped for more out of “The Golden Compass”, expecting it to reach at least $30 million domestically over its first weekend, Rolf Mittweg, the studio's marketing chief told The Associated Press. The film cost $180 million to make.Based on Philip Pullman's lesser-known His Dark Materials trilogy, Mittweg said he was uncertain about the effects of a backlash against “The Golden Compass” by some Christians, who said Pullman's books preach atheism."It's very hard to say. Historically, protests of these sorts tend to be ineffective on box-office results," Mittweg said.The Top 12 movies took in a total of $73.1 million for the weekend, down 15.97 percent from last year’s total of $87 million and down 3.57 percent from last weekend’s total of $75.8 million. The Top Three films at the box office this time last year: Buena Vista’s “Apocalypto”, which opened at No. 1 with $15 million in 2,465 theaters, averaging $6,087 per theater; Warner Bros.’ “Happy Feet”, which dropped to second place in its fourth week with $12.9 million in 3,650 theaters, averaging $3,535 per theater; and Sony’s “The Holiday”, which opened in third place with $12.7 million in 2,610 theaters, averaging $4,896 per theater.

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