"Golden Compass" loses its way at box office

Sun Dec 9, 2007 4:18pm EST
 
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The Golden Compass," a $180 million family fantasy starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, failed to direct the masses to movie theaters.

The movie underperformed at the North American box office, opening at No. 1, but with weekend ticket sales of just $26.1 million, distributor New Line Cinema said on Sunday.

The struggling unit of Time Warner Inc had hoped the film would pull in between $30 million and $40 million during its first three days.

"It's a little bit disappointing," said Rolf Mittweg, president and chief operating officer of New Line's worldwide distribution and marketing operations.

The film's poor opening combined with a generally weak field to send overall year-on-year sales down for the fifth consecutive weekend, according to tracking firm Media By Numbers.

The top 12 films earned $73 million, down 12 percent from last year. Year-to-date sales stand at $8.8 billion, up 4 percent from last year, Media By Numbers said. But attendance is flat, indicating that higher ticket prices driving growth.

COSTLY DISAPPOINTMENTS

"The Golden Compass" is not the only big-budget film to stumble at the box office recently. The $150 million warrior epic "Beowulf," currently at No. 5 with $4.4 million, has earned $76 million after four weeks. The film's Viacom Inc -owned distributor, Paramount Pictures, hopes it will reach $100 million.   Continued...

 
<p>Nicole Kidman and Dakota Blue Richards in a scene from "The Golden Compass" in an image courtesy of New Line Cinema. REUTERS/Handout</p>