The failure of The Golden Compass to make money in the United States will always be associated with the demise of New Line; it’s quite probable that had the film been a major moneymaker Warner Bros wouldn’t have folded the company into its giant studio bosom. But it may turn out that New Line going under will actually make it possible for the next two films in the trilogy, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, to be made.

New Line’s failure with the film domestically has become a big embarrassment after the movie has gone on to be a major success overseas. Some people were pointing to this success – The Golden Compass may make 300 million dollars in foreign markets – as a sign that the franchise could continue back when New Line lived, but the truth was that New Line had sold off all the international rights. They only kept domestic money, where the film earned a wildly disappointing 70 million dollars.

But a terrific analysis piece in last Friday’s Variety (via The Frodo Franchise blog – a blog for a book that I thought cited CHUD, but I do a Google Book Search I get nothing. Turns out I’m cited in a Harry Potter book, though. Cool. Maybe CHUD is just cited in From Hobbits to Hollywood?) ponders the idea that new Big Daddy Warner Bros, who has an international marketing division, could very well look at the overseas success of the movie and decide damn the US, we’ll make this anyway. Hell, there’s already a script that’s in place. All of a sudden the unthinkable becomes kinda plausible.

I imagine this is one of the hot button issues in the halls of Warner Bros right now, especially with The Golden Compass DVD hitting next month. If numbers are high enough on that – and it’s being sold in less of a Lord of the Rings manner, apparently, which should help – expect rumblings that His Dark Materials is not quite over.