American actor Sam Elliott has accused the Roman Catholic Church of scaring Hollywood producers into shelving the two planned sequels to hit movie THE GOLDEN COMPASS.
The film, which starred Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, was the first of author Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy to be adapted for the big screen.
Two further films based on Pullman's novels - The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass - were due to be made following the box office success of 2007's The Golden Compass - but plans were stalled last year (08), seemingly as a result of the downturn in the economy.
But Elliott is convinced the real reason is down to opposition from church leaders, who he claims put indirect pressure on officials at studio New Line to pull the planned sequels.
He tells Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, "The Catholic church happened to The Golden Compass, as far as I'm concerned.
"It did incredible at the box office, taking $380 million. Incredible. It took $85 million in the States.
"The Catholic Church... lambasted them and I think it scared New Line off."
Bill Donohue, of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, led the mission, calling on parents to boycott the film for attempting to "introduce Christian children to the wonders of atheism in a backdoor fashion at Christmas time." And he's delighted his move seems to have worked: "I knew if we could hurt the box office receipts here, it might put the brakes on the next movie."