The movie, starring Nicole Kidman and Dakota Blue Richards, has drawn criticism from religious groups, particularly Catholics, contending it pushes atheism on children. The movie is based on a trilogy by British author Philip Pullman, a self-proclaimed atheist.
"Golden Compass" pulled in $26.13 million in estimated ticket sales in its first week, Box Office Mojo reported Sunday, far outdistancing No. 2 "Enchanted," which tallied $10.71 million after topping the charts last week.
"This Christmas" remained No. 3 at $5 million, followed by "Fred Claus," which moved up from sixth with $4.66 million. No. 5 was "Beowulf," down three spots with $4.4 million.
Rounding out the Top 10 were "No Country for Old Men," the Coen brothers film that climbed four spots from 10th with $4.23 million in ticket sales; "August Rush, $3.53 million; "Hitman," $3.48 million; "Awake," $3.3 million; and "Bee Movie," which is still buzzing after six weeks among the leaders, $2.61 million.
"The Mist" burned off, falling out of the top tier this week.