LOS ANGELES, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- The controversial fantasy adventure film "The Golden Compass" debuted at No. 1 in U.S. theaters this weekend.
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.