Chris Weitz, alongside his brother Paul, became known for their small-scale comedies "American Pie" and "About a Boy." But Weitz, seeking a bigger prize, lobbied to direct the big-budget "Golden Compass," the first film in Phillip Pullman's complicated fantasy trilogy. Weitz openly sought to learn from Peter Jackson how to handle a big studio movie, but the pressures involved led him to leave the director's chair only to be lured by later by Pullman. The film attempted to walk the line between inoffensive studio fare and the fiercely anti-religious story that appealed to Pullman's fans. The result satisfied few, though it did well at the box office, earning $372 million worldwide. The studio has not given a green light to any further films in the series.
Laurie Sparham / New Line Cinema
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