The Golden Gamble doesn't pay off

I got a little bit of stick from people when I hinted that THE GOLDEN COMPASS was heading to be a flop. Indeed I got one very vicious E-Mail from somebody claiming that I was wanting the film to fail because I supposedly have had a problem against Daniel Craig ever since he was cast as James Bond. While I'll admit, there's more versions of Bond I enjoy over Craig's than vice-versa, I have said since day one of CASINO ROYALE'S opening that he did a fantastic job with the Bond that Columbia wanted and he deserves all the plaudits he gets for it. And here me now when I say the reason I kept panning THE INVASION this Summer and the reason I did the same for THE GOLDEN COMPASS, is because it was terribly marketed and just plain didn't look very good.

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This SHOULD have been the Christmas epic movie that I just had to see on the opening day, just like KING KONG and THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE two years ago. Instead it's turned out to be another ERAGON. But this time with names like Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman, it's so much worse... THE GOLDEN COMPASS took home a quite frankly AWFUL $8.6 million on Friday and it will now have a battle on it's hands as to whether it will make $25 million by Monday. To put that into perspective, ERAGON's opening weekend total last year of $23 million resulted in a $249 million worldwide taking, which if THE GOLDEN COMPASS does the same... will result in a peanuts profit (some say it is budgeted at $200 million) and will be no where near enough for the time and effort of a sequel. Some said I was a fool to liken the film to BEOWULF but if you look at the numbers, I wasn't wrong. That movie opened to $27 million, a figure that COMPASS will not exceed and is now faltering at a $147 million worldwide. Not enough. Not nearly enough.

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New Line's biggest and most ambitious film since THE LORD OF THE RINGS ended four years ago has proven to be a lot of hard work and very little return at this point. It just goes to show that productions like RINGS just don't come around very often and try as you might by pumping in money to popular tales (BEOWULF, COMPASS) it takes a special kind of talent to make something special. THE GOLDEN COMPASS will be praying that the long festive season will convince audiences to make the trip to the cinema but with I AM LEGEND, SWEENEY TODD and NATIONAL TREASURE 2 soon to open... it's not guaranteed that will be the film people will see. Oh and I didn't see the film. Might see it during the week but I have more interest in catching screenings of THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, I'M NOT THERE and IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON which are playing on limited release near me. source - variety
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.