Franchise Fails: The Planned Sequels We'll Likely Never See at Salon explains why my computer guy will probably never see ice bears on the big screen again. It was pretty much what I'd heard. Though The Golden Compass movie made a bundle, it didn't make a bundle here in the U.S., and evidently that makes the difference. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. You'd think someone would make the next movie and just forget about the U.S. audience. Or you'd think a foreign film studio would make it in French or Chinese or something and, again, forget about US. Computer Guy would watch it on DVD with subtitles so long as the ice bears came back.
Take a look at the material on the City of Ember movie, another potential franchise, in the Salon article. You don't suppose that movie tanking had anything to do with the big fat spoiler in the first couple of minutes of screen time, do you? I wasn't a big fan of the book, it being dystopian and all, but the number one interesting bit was...Well, I don't spoil. I will just say that as far as I was concerned, after the first few moments of the movie, you could get up and leave the theater.