20 movie franchises that never were
Failed film series include 'Speed Racer,' 'The Shadow,' 'Jonah Hex' and more
The Golden Compass (2007)
Why it got the green light: After the recent success of fantasy book adaptations including "The Lord of the Rings", "Harry Potter" and "The Chronicles of Narnia", "The Golden Compass", directed by Chris Weitz and based on the first novel in Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, seemed about as close to a sure-fire hit as you could get.
Why a franchise never materialized: Garnering only mixed reviews and underperforming Stateside with barely $70 million in domestic box-office, "The Golden Compass" managed to rake in over five times as much money overseas but also became the subject of controversy from both the Catholic Church (for a perceived anti-Christian bias) and secular organizations (for toning down the book's anti-religious themes). Produced for an estimated $180 million, New Line decided to quit while they were (barely) ahead by putting the film's two proposed sequels on indefinite hold. - CE