As Hunger Games: Catching Fire lights up the box office this weekend, recall 2007's The Golden Compass. This was the movie version of the first installment of His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman's phenomenally successful series of books that put the literature in children's lit. But what happened to the sequel? Why did this atheist parable of a small girl and her talking polar bear not ignite a movie franchise? Hard to blame the kid, but the burden on 11-year-old Dakota Blue Richards was too much. Embodying the impish, brave, complex and devastatingly smart heroine Lyra Belacqua would have taxed even, well, Jennifer Lawrence. In the end all that goodwill, CGI and countless former Hogwarts staffers counting on a new meal ticket could not compensate for an unlucky casting decision. The franchise fell from the sky like a dead witch.