There is no magic potion for surefire Hollywood success. Not even the magic potions in fantasy films can guarantee a box-office hit anymore.
The latest evidence comes from The Golden Compass, which pulled in roughly $26 million in gross receipts on its opening weekend. That would be a decent take for low-budget movies released into the usual heavy competition, but Compass cost about $180 million to make and was the only major release this weekend.
The fantasy genre has been an easy cash cow for Hollywood in the past few years. Scare up a simple plot, throw in some dragons and a wizard, collect the profits. But it isn't that easy anymore.
I don't think the genre is dead yet. It's just that the studios will have to put some TLC into making these movies, unless they like that empty-theater smell. Disney
You knew LotR would be good when Peter Jackson signed up for the job, and the kids love Harry too much to pass up even a mediocre adaptation. But by all accounts, Compass and Dark Is Rising both slaughtered some excellent source materials. They stooped to flash and cliche where they needed a story and some heart.
Spiderwick Chronicles is coming up early next year, and it looks like Viacom's