New Line Cinema has a dud on its hands. They spent upwards of $180 million making “The Golden Compass,” and American audiences just aren’t buying it. After debuting with a mere $26 million, it plummeted to a measly $9 million its second weekend out.

Compare the numbers for “Golden Compass” with those of the Will Smith flick “I Am Legend,” also rated PG-13: “Legend” brought in over $76.5 million opening weekend. And “Alvin and the Chipmunks” opened at number two, raking in $45 million.

The success of “Chipmunks,” “Legend,” and the recent Disney film “Enchanted” (which opened with $34.4 million and took in $16.4 the next week) gives lie to the claim that the problem is just that people aren’t going to the theater. While it may be a tough time for studios across the board, there are still plenty of families willing to plunk down the cash for movie tickets. That is, of course, if the movie isn’t based on the first book of a profoundly anti-Christian and pro-atheist trilogy.

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