It was the movie that made me pick up the His Dark Materials books. As gabez says, it did very well outside the USA. I thought the movie was great, didn't think Lyra's actress was wooden at all. And there's no way the cutoff point (which gave the movie a happy ending) was anywhere near the cliffhanger that the book ends on.
Also, the real anti-establishment stuff comes in books 2 and 3, it's really not that big of a deal in Northern Lights.