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Box Office Challenge: 'Compass' points

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You Fall Box Office Challenge players didn’t need an alethiometer to determine that The Golden Compass would top the chart this weekend; some 72 percent of you guessed that the controversial fantasy film would open at No. 1. Similarly, 65 percent of you picked Enchanted to stay strong with a second-place finish. On the other hand, This Christmas stymied you for the third straight week, with 79 percent of you underestimating its legs and picking it to finish no better than fourth (it came in at No. 3). Congrats to winner mhilson, who did not send us a photo. Do send us those lovely self-portraits, since this weekend is the season’s last, and the overall winner will get his or her photo in the magazine. (Current frontrunner is Eric T. from Manistee, Mich., a.k.a. “TheBigE.”)

Since you’re all so wise in the ways of box office, let me ask you a question: to what do you attribute Golden Compass‘ mediocre $26 million showing? The boycotters are claiming credit for the lackluster opening, but remember, these are the same protesters whose complaints about allegedly anti-Christian content failed to keep people away from The Da Vinci Code (or, for that matter, any of the Harry Potter movies). The boycott may well have been a factor, but was it more important than Compass‘ so-so reviews, middling word-of-mouth, strong family-film competition from Enchanted (and, for that matter, This Christmas), and opening during a spell of bitter winter weather? Or maybe nature’s blustery box-office freeze-out was God’s way of keeping moviegoers from buying Compass tickets? Your thoughts, please.

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