Sunday, October 28, 2012

Skyfall's Opening Weekend

Skyfall has had a strong opening weekend in Britain, earning over 21 million pounds in its first three days of release. This makes it the country's second-biggest opening weekend gross ever, trailing only the concluding film of the Harry Potter series, while exceeding by a healthy margin the then-record gross of Quantum of Solace in its first weekend (15.5 million GBP).

The four year wait for this most recent film, the tie-in with the Olympics earlier this year, and the highly publicized fiftieth anniversary of the series make the film that much more of an event. It may also help that this has been a relatively tepid year for grounded action thrillers not featuring comic book superheroes (The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises) or futuristic or otherworldly settings (Prometheus, The Hunger Games) - this year's Expendables, Jason Bourne and Taken movies selling tickets, but not blowing away audiences, or enjoying anything close to the earnings of the first-rank blockbusters, nothing comparable stealing its thunder. There is also the fact of higher ticket prices, the prospect of the series' first-ever earnings from IMAX screens, and the strong response the film has elicited so far among the generators of buzz, the critics, and those audiences which turned out for the movie so far.

Even taking into account the degree to which the earnings of highly anticipated sequels are "front-loaded" (that is to say, concentrated early in their runs), the wide expectations that Skyfall would beat the earnings of the previous Daniel Craig films would appear to have been confirmed, and it now seems safe to say it will break the $600 million mark globally. Wherever it stops past that point will, of course, be hailed as a new record gross, perhaps fairly, perhaps a bit mendaciously. (The series' latest will have to gross at least $685 million to beat Casino Royale's performance when inflation is counted in, and better than that to approach the heights of '60s and '70s-era blockbusters like Thunderball, Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice and Live and Let Die.)

In either case the movie opens in North America on November 9. So far I've seen far fewer commercials on TV than I would have expected given that Skyfall's release is less than two weeks away, but there is good reason to expect the film will set some comparable records in the course of deriving a healthy share of its earnings in this market.

Anticipating Skyfall
New in Print . . . (The Many Lives and Deaths of James Bond)
New and Noteworthy (Battleship, Skyfall, Superheroes)
New and Noteworthy (James Bond Edition)
The 50th Anniversary of the James Bond Film Series

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