Elliot says Church halted His Dark Materials
It's no big surprise really that after His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass the studio got scared of what was to come next in the series and how the books were going to adapt to the big screen, upset the various religious organisations, and lose a large target audience almost immediately, that is if they kept with the themes of the original novels.
Now Sam Elliot, one of the actors in the film, has said exactly that, and I think it might be the first time someone from the production has actually said it out loud in as many words.
"The Catholic church happened to The Golden Compass, as far as I'm concerned. It did incredible at the box office. Incredible. It took $85m (£52m) in the States. The Catholic church … lambasted them, and I think it scared New Line off."
There's a big target audience out there that is religious, and a big one in the studio's main marketplace of the U.S.. There was already a fair amount of debate and discussion about this film in religious circles from the beginning, and when the furore raised up again about the novels themselves, I'm sure the people at the studio realised that audiences and money were slipping away from them.
However the Guardian go on to point out that The Golden Compass wasn't well received with audiences or critics and say that this was the real problem with it, well I just wonder how many of them hold religious beliefs that were at odds with the moral messages of the books and of possibly the films to come.
I'm not saying that there was a conspiracy against the series, and I'm not saying that what killed the series were the returns and audiences, after all other series have continued despite poor figures. I think it was a mixture of the two, and it's right to say that the studio were scared of what the series was going to bring to the big screen next.
The Catholic Church especially was outspoken against the film, attacking it for what it said about its organisation and beliefs, and there definitely was a strong move to stop the film and the atheist message that could come from the novels, heaven forbid someone was allowed to voice a contrary opinion.
However it can't be denied that the studio weren't scared of the reaction, you only have to look a The Golden Compass itself to realise that, they altered the religious theme of the novel and removed it to the point that you wouldn't really believe the film was about that at all.
Now I think that's the real death of the film there, the fact that it stepped back from the novel and didn't take a stand. It should have been all or nothing. If it had followed Philip Pullman's original story then the fan base would have stood behind it more, as it was it stepped back from a big draw and delivered a sanitised version of the story so that neither fans nor religious organisations were happy.
I think that's what killed the series.