Buried deep in Variety's box-office roundup this morning — amid the usual stuff about Enchanted making another boatload of money — is some dire news for New Line, and for those of us crossing our fingers that The Golden Compass will be successful enough to spawn films of the other two books in Philip Pullman's trilogy:
New Line Cinema sneaked big-budget fantasy "The Golden Compass" in 873 theaters Saturday. Studio reported that shows were at 85% capacity. In holding the sneaks, New Line was looking to boost interest in the film, which has been lagging in tracking, although awareness is high. "Compass" cost $180 million to produce.
Now, we're no Paul Dergarabedian, so we don't exactly know what "lagging in tracking" means. But we do know that 85 percent is less than 100 percent, and we really would have expected that any sneak preview of The Golden Compass would be, y'know, 100 percent full. Like, remember back when Lord of the Rings was coming out? Could you imagine if they'd had a sneak preview of that a week before it opened? It would have played at 218 percent capacity, and hundreds would have been injured in the ticket-line riots.
Box office remains 'Enchanted' [Variety]