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Casino Royale hits the jackpot in overseas markets, dominates international box-office

20-Nov-2006 • Casino Royale

James Bond returned with a bang at the international box office as "Casino Royale" dominated the weekend with $42.2 million at 3,063 playdates in 27 markets - reports Variety.

"Casino" hit the jackpot in its U.K. launch with $25.6 million at 988, including $3.7 million in previews. Its Friday-Sunday take tied "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" as the second-highest weekend launch in Brit history, trailing only "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."

With Daniel Craig in his first turn as Bond, the Blighty opening handily topped the previous Bond pic, "Die Another Day," by 46%.

"Casino Royale" took in more than the combined foreign grosses of the next four pics -- "Borat," "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Open Season." Combined with its second-place domestic take, "Casino" totaled $82.8 million worldwide for the weekend.

Given the strong international track record of recent Bond pics -- with foreign gross accounting for nearly two-thirds of worldwide box office -- "Casino Royale" looks poised for potent offshore biz that could eclipse the $271 million mark set by "Die Another Day" four years ago. Sony has opted to wait until next weekend to launch "Casino Royale" in other major European markets, including France, Germany, Holland, Spain and Sweden.

In the second-largest "Casino" take, Russian B.O. Bonded with $3.8 million at 633 -- the eighth-largest launch for a non-Russian pic.

"Casino" set a record in India with $3.2 million at 427, beating "Spider-Man 2's" opening by 87% for biggest debut of a non-Indian pic.

Greece led the rest of the "Casino" territories with $1.34 million at 111, followed by Thailand with $1.1 million at 154, Taiwan with $1 million at 116, Singapore with $900,000, Malaysia with $800,000, Poland with $735,000 and the UAE with $635,000 -- the second largest launch in that market.

Despite the impressive start for "Casino," overall biz lagged the same frame of 2005, when "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" opened with $80 million. But foreign box office for the five major distribs (BVI, Fox, Sony, UIP, Warner) remains well ahead of the 2005 pace and should finish the year ahead of the 2004 record of $8.5 billion.

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