Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Is "The Golden Compass" Franchise Alive?
"The Golden Compass" is doing gangbusters overseas. In the US, its almost done at $60 mil. But overseas it has grossed three times that ($187 mil) and looks easily headed towards $250 mil. That would mean more than $300 mil worldwide. Not great for a movie that cost $200 mil, but not awful either. Recently, dragon flick Eragon (itself based on a quartet of books) grossed a disappointing $75 mil in the US but another $175 mil overseas (its budget was about $100 mil) making what looked like a flop opener the first in a franchise. And of course DVD sales are extremely strong in the fantasy category. So the weak opening of the film meant New Line panicked and finally made nice with Peter Jackson so "The Hobbit" could go forward. But with huge overseas grosses and the possibility that some of the production cost for the sequels will be lower because of all the money poured into the first one, there's still a chance they could roll the dice and make both parts two and three at the same time. Two stumbling blocks remain: will Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig want massive paydays for an iffy franchise and of course the biggest problem of all is that parts two and three are a LOT more controversial. It may just not be worth the bother, but with $300 mil box office worldwide and another $200 to $300 mil worldwide from DVD (very conservatively), it won't be because they lost money.