With a budget of $180 million and a plot that the film's critics say promotes atheism, The Golden Compass, out next Friday, is an enormous risk for its distributor New Line Cinema — thankfully, the studio can count on the hardworking marketers at the Catholic League, who are doing everything in their power to raise awareness for the movie.
The group's president William Donohue, one of our nation's loudest religious leaders, has been issuing daily press releases and telling any reporters who'll listen (mostly ones at Fox News, but others too!) about Compass. "They want to make money. They want to make sure there's a second and third movie based on the books in the trilogy," he pleaded on CBS' Early Show this morning. This in addition to an aggressive e-mail campaign designed to inform parents about the books on which the film is based — atheist author Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy — any of which would make excellent Christmas presents for young children. "There will be a new children's movie out in December called The Golden Compass," reads the e-mail. "It is written by Phillip [sic] Pullman, a proud atheist who belongs to secular humanist societies … This is just a friendly warning that you sure won't hear on the regular TV." Though many of the book's anti-religious themes are absent in the film version, if the Catholic League has anything to say about it, The Golden Compass will likely be feeling the Holy Spirit at the box office!