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`Quantum of Solace` opens in the UK, all eyes on the opening weekend box-office

31-Oct-2008 • Quantum Of Solace

The crucial U.K. opening of Bond pic “Quantum of Solace,” a fortnight ahead of its domestic debut is the key happening at the European box office this weekend, reports Variety.

The U.K. bow is critical on many counts. The Brit superspy franchise remains one of the crown jewels of the local film industry, “Solace” is the biggest release of the season in Blighty and it needs to go well early overseas to build buzz for the Nov. 14 U.S. release.

Therefore, Brit industryites have their eyes peeled on the all-important “Solace” home turf opening. Despite some pretty mixed reviews, bookers are very bullish about its opening weekend prospects with most forecasting a $21 million (£13 million) Friday-Sunday take. If it does those numbers, it would match “Casino Royale,” which did $21.8 million, including chunky Thursday previews.

Optimistic projections for “Quantum of Solace” are based on excellent advance ticket sales, the fact that today is a school holiday, and the impact of Sony’s marketing campaign, which reached a stunning crescendo Wednesday night for the royal world premiere at London’s Leicester Square. The lavish, no-expenses spared preem was attended by Princes William and Harry and got front-page coverage in the nationals.

While a boffo bow is firmly in the cards for 007 and co., exhibs are less certain of whether it will demonstrate the same excellent staying power of “Casino Royale,” which wound up with a $107.5 million cume in Blighty. Sony will certainly be striving for a small soph sesh drop-off to keep momentum for the U.S. launch.

Also opening in the U.K are a pair of critically lauded Brit pics that should earn high screen averages at upmarket arthouse sites. Terence Davies’ “Of Time and the City” (BFI Distribution) and Steve McQueen’s “Hunger” (Pathe) both turned heads at Cannes and have also got love from the Brit crix. Pair are being released as counterprogramming to frenetic actioner “Solace.”

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