Monday, November 26, 2012

The Weekend Box Office, November 23-November 25

As just about every observer seems to have predicted, the final installment of the Twilight saga (Breaking Dawn, Part 2) continued to do stellar business over Thanksgiving, raising its take to $226 million domestically by the end of its second weekend, and almost $578 million globally. New releases Rise of the Guardians, The Life of Pi and the Red Dawn remake posted more modest grosses - $32 million, $30 million and $22 million respectively between Wednesday and Sunday, with the first number judged by those analysts I read a significant disappointment given the budget and expectations, the second regarded as quite solid given the difficulty of marketing the material and the expectations of strong international business (the film has already picked up another $17 million overseas), and the third not too shabby given that it too has been difficult to sell - albeit for very different reasons.

As these numbers indicate, however, none of them made the number two spot, to which Skyfall held on, taking in $36 million over the three day period, and almost $44 million over the four day period. This brought its American total to almost $222 million, and helped bring its global total up to an astonishing $790 million - well past Casino Royale's inflation-adjusted earnings (and those of Moonraker, The Spy Who Loved Me and You Only Live Twice too), so that it is in fact running behind only three previous Bond films, Live and Let Die, Goldfinger and Thunderball. The movie seems nearly certain to overtake Live and Let Die (which grossed a little under $840 million in today's terms) over the coming week, to have a fairly good chance of overtaking Goldfinger ($930 million in 2012 dollars) some time after - and as some have suggested, even a shot at the number one spot (occupied by Thunderball, with its $1.035 billion in ticket sales).

I have to confess that I am mystified by the scale of the film's success. Even granting the response to the previous Daniel Craig films, the year's special marketing opportunities, the critical adulation, the boost from IMAX revenues, it is a surprise that the film has done quite so well. Whatever else may be said about it, Skyfall clearly does not seek to provide the sorts of pleasures with which the Bond films were associated in their heyday, nor those of the other films we expect to see in the billion-dollar club - quirky robots, giant extraterrestrial robots, adolescent wizards, superstars of comic book superherodom.

So what do you think? Is Skyfall's success just noise, or is it signal?

The Weekend Box Office, November 16-18
My Posts on James Bond


Anonymous said...

I think the Olympia-Stunt helped to bring Bond back in the global conscience.
And the movie, even if it keeped the Casino-Royal-formula, had some more elements of the old movies, some more humour, some more scenes of Bond seducing a woman, the Austin Martin etc, etc. At the end we even have the classic Bondverse restored with a male M, a new Q and a new Moneypenny.
And maybe its part of the Zeitgeist. Bond has his best times of crisis but also of closure. Flemming started the novels as Britain still hadn´t economical recovered from WWII, but still you can say, that the post-war-time had ended and the people started to realize that it was peace.
The Bond-movies started after the Cold-war reached his peak and full Bondmania happend after the death of Kennedy. Today we still have a economy crisis, but the War of Terror seems to wind down as something we can handle with Drones. Maybe we still have the feeling that we need a hero, but we also have the feeling, that we can relax a bit. And so Bond can amuse us.
Forgive me my bad english. Maybe something more later.

Nader said...

Thanks for writing, and no need to apologize; what you're saying's coming through quite clearly.
That is an interesting argument - that it's the older elements that have sold the film, and that these may have become more acceptable as the atmosphere changed, as you say, because the attitude toward the War on Terror changed (just as the Cold War had pretty much peaked before the Bond films became a phenomenon). Perhaps a lighter approach to this kind of material is more salable now - interestingly, something missed by the professional critics, who have been so fixated on such things as a "dark and gritty" tone as praiseworthy.

Anonymous said...

I think the dark and gritty tone will still stay for a time, but I expect more and more elements of the old Bond-movies will return. I expect in Bond 24 we will at last have again a final with Bond sailing to the sunset with a girl.
I also wants to mention, that Skyfall has with Silva a really great, over-the-top Villain, more related to Heathers Joker then Le Chiffre.

There is something other I noticed, but maybe I´m just overanalizing it:
The movie trys to restore Bonds status as tradional masculin symbol. He "dies" at the beginning, and after that he has to go to several trials to prove his manhood. The trials including not just the villains but also Bond allies, like the new Monneypenny, which starts as an Jinx-like field agent and the new Q, a young Nerd, who questiones Bonds relevance. Through the movie Bond win this trials and seem to overcome all the fears of the modern man. He prove his physical fitness, his relevance, his ability to seduce a woman. He also proves his superiority to Moneypenny and Q and stays cool, as Silvas question his sexuality. The series go full circle as M,which called Bond a anachroistic Dinosaur in Goldeneye, holds a enthusiastic speach why the world stil needs men like Bond. At the end M, Bonds dominatin Über-mother dies (strange thing that nobody mentions that Silvas actually wins), but Bond seems in the Epilogue actually more secure of himself then in Casino Roval and QoS. His new boss is a man and Moneypenny is a secretary again.
Like I said, maybe I overanalysing it.


Nader said...

Actually, all that sounds quite plausible - certainly much more than a great deal of professional literary criticism I've read. And certainly well worth considering as part of the movie's appeal.

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