Church hopes New Line will scrap trilogy

The Vatican is gloating over tepid box office returns for “The Golden Compass,” which it hopes will force New Line to scrap plans to shoot the remainder of the trilogy based on Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” books.

“If that should happen, it wouldn’t be a big loss,” said official Vatican daily l’Osservatore Romano in a long editorial on Wednesday.

The paper called “Compass” the “most anti-Christmas film possible” and found the family fantasy’s $26 million U.S. opening “consoling.”

In the Vatican’s most scathing attack against a novelist and a movie since “The Da Vinci Code,” l’Osservatore went on to blast Pullman — a noted British atheist whose books have ruffled the feathers of the U.S.-based Catholic League, which has also called for a boycott of the pic.

The Vatican daily slammed helmer Chris Weitz’s adaptation, saying that “honest” viewers “gifted with a critical spirit” will find the pic “devoid of any particular emotion apart from a great chill.

“… In Pullman’s world, hope simply does not exist, because there is no salvation but only personal, individualistic capacity to control the situation and dominate events,” it said.

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