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Minnesota Atheists Meetup Group Message Board › 'The Golden Compass'

'The Golden Compass'

A former member
Post #: 7
I just saw the opening day estimates for "The Golden Compass" and it took in a frighteningly low $8.8 million dollars for its first day. As a statistics buff, I always love to play those prediction games as to what things like movies will do in terms of ticket receipts as it's a game in guessing human nature.

I've never read the "His Dark Materials" series, let alone have heard about it before this whole movie "anti-Christian" hysteria started making Fox News and the Catholic League throw a tizzy. Now I know of it and will eventually put down some money on seeing the movie and getting the books. But, I still have to wonder just how much farther we Atheists have to expose people to our way of beliefs (or lack thereof), if we're ever going to become excepted members of mainstream society.

How much of that $8.8 million on Friday (a number I was seeing was expected to be in the 12-15 range) was because of the media and Believe Tank generated "hysteria?"

On a less important note, it's nice to know that "The Golden Compass" has a great chance of passing such wonderful masterpieces in the Fantasy - Live Action all time rankings as the 1985 classic "Return to Oz" and should be able to pick off "The Neverending Story" (shudder) by the end of the weekend. Maybe we can give "Willow" a run for it's money! ($57M in 1988 $$/$91M today)


P.S.: All information courtesy of Box Office Mojo at
A former member
Post #: 8
With a resounding thud, I believe it to be safe to say, there will be no sequal.
"The Golden Compass" barely pulled in an estimated $26.125 million its opening weekend.
It couldn't even pass "The Princess Bride"'s total box office receipts in its first weekend.
Jack C.
user 3043821
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 10
With foreign receipts, it took in $55 million. Maybe the outlook is not so bleak, especially since there don't seem to be any other big-budget family movies coming out this December.

I saw it with my family and enjoyed it. I've read the books and didn't find too many compromises; there are plenty of hints for the observant freethinker.
A former member
Post #: 9
It's weird with the foreign receipts that it almost, kinda'-sorta' parallels the acceptance of Atheists and Freethinkers in Europe versus the United States.

I just got a BN gift card from work from our holiday party on Friday and think that the "His Dark Materials" box set will be courtesy of them.
A former member
Post #: 3
His Dark Materials never really had a shot at being good movies--not without massive amounts of compromise that would have satisfied no one. And not because of the atheological content, either, but because of its complexity. The Narnia Chronicles and Harry Potter books are simple, even simplistic, by comparison. Adults read those kinds of books because of their simplicity. But children love His Dark Materials mostly BECAUSE of its complexity. Puzzles and depth and richness. None of which translates well to the screen.

By the way, the other movie from a book by an atheist (opening the same day as "Golden Compass") is, while a critical success, a bore. The story is thin, the acting is only passable. Absolutely astonishing cinematography almost saves it from being a total loss, except that it feels like misdirection. Maybe if we're distracted by the pretty pictures we won't notice that the story takes too long to make too much of too little. Which, in fact, is precisely the opposite problem that "Golden Compass" has--it doesn't take enough time to plumb the profundity of the story or the vividness of the characters.

So all in all, a rather disappointing time at the movies for this atheist, who was cheering for these films all the way.
A former member
Post #: 5
Maybe worth noting that "Atonement" (the "other movie from a book by an atheist" in the previous post that I unaccountably failed to name) and "Golden Compass" each snagged an Oscar, though not for something major. Visual effects for "Compass" (beating the visually impressive though otherwise empty "Transformers") and musical score for "Atonement." Now, this hardly gets the word out that living a godless life is a mature, satisfying choice. BUT. Having atheists associated with technical excellence is not a bad thing. And raising the profile of atheists in culture should have the effect of making us less shocking, more normal. I notice that Penn Jillette and Adam Carolla are both slated to compete on "Dancing With the Stars," and both men are outspoken atheists. Not a show I'd personally be caught dead watching, but again...having pop icons who are known as atheists and who don't sport horns and pitchforks can only help the movement.
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