The ads are playing on TV, and if you’re interested in fantasy flicks, you might be tempted to check it out. But we’re hoping moviegoers will stay away in droves when New Line Cinema’s $180-million new movie, “The Golden Compass,” opens Dec. 7.
Michael Foust at Baptist Press explains why:
It’s a fantasy universe where witches are good, the church is bad, and at the end of it all, God dies.
It’s the world of author Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, and on Dec. 7 a movie based on the first book in that series, “The Golden Compass,” hits theaters. For weeks now, the movie has been the focus of e-mails from concerned Christians, curious if what they heard about it is true. In this instance — as even the truth-or-fiction website Snopes.com affirms — the rumors mostly are fact.
Pullman himself is not sure whether he’s an atheist or an agnostic, but his own words leave little doubt that he has a strong distaste for Christianity — at least Christianity as he sees it.
The entire series has been dubbed the “anti-Narnia,” with Pullman regularly expressing disdain for C.S. Lewis’ fictional world and even once calling it “propaganda in the service of a life-hating ideology.” He has sought to write a completely different fictional tale, and he has succeeded. He said in a 2001 interview, “I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief,” and two years later told another newspaper, “My books are about killing God.”
Pullman has been more toned down in recent interviews, perhaps because New Line Cinema has invested more than $150 million in the first installment and because it needs to be successful if the final two books are to make it to the big screen.
Update 12/6/07: Daniel Heimbach says the movie, “marketed as a wholesome family story … [instead] is a dose of spiritual poison packed in sweetness designed to capture and mislead trusting children.”
Update 12/7/07: If you want to understand why “The Golden Compass” is so poisonous, you need to know where the movie trilogy is headed. This Baptist Press article explains.
Update 12/9/07: The movie grossed $26 million on its opening weekend — only 14.4% of its production cost. Some media suck-ups (AFP called it a “children’s film” and Reuters said it was a “family fantasy”) will spin the news by emphasizing that it was in first place at the theaters, but it’s a loser out of the gate and isn’t likely to ever even break even. Maybe next time Hollywood’s money men will think twice before throwing away dollars on poisonous anti-God propaganda. … Naw, probably not.
Update 12/10/07: Ryan Stewart at cinematical.com says the movie’s production cost was $250 million or higher, which makes it a real stinker indeed. Even if it does really well overseas, making up the production cost will be truly difficult. And only then could they start talking about clearing a dollar or two in profit. Read more here.
Update 12/16/07: Boxofficemojo.com reports worldwide revenue for the movie stands at $91.9 million, with revenue outside the US accounting for $50.9 million (55.4%).
Update 12/18/07: (BP) ‘Golden Compass’ disappoints at box office
Update 1/1/08: Worldwide total now at $150.3 million, with $91.5 million (60.9%) of that overseas.