January 9, 2010
Who Killed The Golden Compass Sequels?
Co-star Sam Elliott blames it on the Catholic church; author Pullman is miffed
When asked what happened to the film trilogy, Sam Elliot, one of the actors in the first movie, told London's Evening Standard, "The Catholic Church happened to The Golden Compass, as far as I'm concerned. It did 'incredible' at the box office, taking $380 million [worldwide]. Incredible. The Catholic Church ... lambasted them, and I think it scared New Line off." (New Line Cinema was the studio behind the film.)
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights took some of the credit for shutting down the franchise, citing his call for a boycott of the first film: "I am delighted the boycott worked," he told the Evening Standard.
In response to Donohue's comments, Golden Compass author Phillip Pullman, an atheist, told Wales Online, "It’s disgusting, but only the sort of behaviour I expect of these people."
Pullman went on to tell the publication about his new novel, coming out this spring -- The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, in which he denies Jesus was the son of God. He also recently finished writing his own version of the New Testament in which he imagined Jesus being given a fair trial and walking free instead of crucified.
Finally, London's Guardian isn't so sure the Catholics are to blame for the demise of The Golden Compass. Their film blog recently concluded, "Maybe The Golden Compass wasn't given any sequels because it didn't deserve any. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a score of 42%, ranking it alongside such masterpieces as Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, with reviewers calling it "bland," "patchy," and "a crushing disappointment." . . . It's a little sad that Elliot has to blame a shadowy religious conspiracy for [its] failure, especially since he was just about the film's sole redeeming feature, but the truth is that not many of us could bear to sit through any more sequels if there was any chance they would be as ropey as the first film. Nice try, though."