The Golden Compass points to the top of the box office

But it doesn't earn big money...

Despite the blitz of publicity, the first outing for the planned His Dark Materials franchise – The Golden Compass – failed to score big at the US box office.

The movie had no real competition this week, but it could only muster up $26.1 million, hardly Lord Of The Rings-style success. There’s still time, of course, for it to build word of mouth (and it has made some money overseas), but it can’t exactly cheer the executives who greenlit the nearly $200 million budgeted film.

Enchanted, meanwhile, held well, dropping just 34% to earn $10.7 million in its third week. The Disney movie has made $84 million so far. This Christmas held on to third place, making $5 million this weekend for a current total of $42 million.

Fred Claus dragged itself back up to fourth place as Christmas fever kicked in, making $4.6 million this week, boosting its total up to $65 million. Beowulf, meanwhile, slipped down to fifth place, with a $76 million total sitting in its coffers.

At sixth, No Country For Old Men added more cinemas and took in $4.2 million, while August Rush hung around at seventh for $3.5 million. Hitman has begun to slide down the charts, arriving at eighth with $3.4 million in its third week, performing better than Awake, which has slumped from second to ninth in one week and has taken just $10.7 million. Finally, at 10th, Bee Movie prepares to leave the charts, with a triumphant $125.5 million in total.