I believe that New Line Cinema are to blame for their own demise. Many are blaming in on the fact that The Golden Compass under performed in the US, but it was New Lines stupid fault for selling the overseas rights. Variety point out that The Golden Compass is on course to make box office history as the first film to gross $300 million in foreign, while failing to reach $100 million in North America. If New Line didn’t sell the international rights they would be rolling in money now, of the golden kind. So now things are being handed over to Warner Bros, will there be a sequel?
The Golden Compass has grossed more money than Fantastic Four and Meet The Parents, which got sequels, and is just behind National Treasure and Rush Hour 2, which also got more films. Add the fact that it has just won an Oscar, and there is no doubt that there should be a sequel. There is obviously a market for it, it was just how New Line went about the marketing, as Variety point out.
In the U.S., the pic’s biggest demographic was young adult males, who came looking for the next “Lord of the Rings,” left disappointed and told all their friends not to bother.
In foreign markets, distribs managed to bring in the family audience — Armentano says she laser-targeted 8- to 13-year-olds in schools early on — whom New Line failed to attract Stateside with a much broader campaign.
To be honest it wasn’t hard to realise it was a family film. The main character was a little girl and it had talking animals. I don’t know what the marketing was like in the US, apart from the trailers, but I can only assume it had shots of the armoured polar bears fighting and a shot of Daniel Craig with a gun in his hand. Boom! Young male demographic sorted. New Line screwed up and it is a shame that they paid for it, in more ways than one.
New Line have apparently realised their mistakes and will be marketing the DVD as a family film. The future of the franchise looks slightly brighter with Warner Brothers in charge. New Line probably would not have continued due to their financial loss, however the script for The Subtle Knife has already been written, it is just waiting for the green light.
Producer Deborah Forte seems determined to carry the franchise forward,
“I will make ‘The Subtle Knife’ and ‘The Amber Spyglass,'” she vows. “I believe there are enough people who see what a viable and successful franchise we have.”
What are your thoughts? Did New Line screw it up with the marketing? Should The Subtle Knife make it onto the big screen?