Obviously, the Golden Compass doesn't point the way to riches, because weekend ticket sales were not good.
Don't believe me? GC brought in $2500 per screen. While it stomped the facile Fred Claus ($808 per screen) and beat Enchanted ($1800 per screen), it only just barely beat the re-release of the most boring SF movie ever, Blade Runner ($2400 per screen). When you're not killing a movie that's 25 years old, there is a problem.
Of course, all of these movies lost out to Santa versus the Snowmen, with a robust $2950 per screen. I presume it's some sort of sequel to Santa conquers the Martians.
Remember that GC cost 180 million. At the rate it's going, it should be profitable on its 25th anniversary release. Of course, it'll lose out to the sixteen-hour super-secret Producer's Cut of Blade Runner coming out for its 50th anniversary, with holodisk commentary by Harrison Ford's nephew's barber, complete with free caffeine pills to keep you awake through the monotonous skyscraper shots and inscrutably dark background scenery.
Personally, I think releasing a movie with a thinly-disguised story about killing God right next to Christmas is maybe not the best business strategy. Just because it takes place at the North Pole doesn't mean that it's a Christmas movie, guys.