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US opening weekend may top $65m for `Quantum of Solace`

15-Nov-2008 • Quantum Of Solace

Several studios tell Deadline Hollywood that, based on very early reports, all those huge pre-sales for "Quantum of Solace" tickets are adding up to at least $26M today from 3,451 theaters, and a possible $65M weekend total -- which is phenomenal.

But Sony is now crossing its fingers that Quantum Of Solace could open with North American grosses in the high $60sM and even possibly $70M. The bigwigs have been watching all night "and it just keeps getting better," one insider just told the site. "That's more than 60% better than the opening of Casino Royale and $20M or more over the best Bond U.S. opening ever."

Maybe the final figure will split the difference for, say $65M. Talk about pent-up demand for Hollywood's holiday season product because the new Bond's reviews among top critics were dismal (only 35% positive on Rotten Tomatoes as opposed to 95% for predecessor Casino Royale). Around midday, movie analysts found that MGM/Sony's Quantum of Solace was selling spectacularly -- certain that the eventual numbers will blow away the $40.8M North American debut of Daniel Craig's James Bond in MGM/Sony's Casino Royale (November 2006), and easily beat the $47.1M debut of Die Another Day (November 2002) that set the 46-year-old 007 franchise's record. Hollywood has been confident that Quantum Of Solace would set a new high of at least $60M -- even if Sony has been trying to lower expectations to $50M. Meanwhile, the studio says this 22nd Bond has reached a staggering $200M internationally. Now it looks like a savvy distribution and marketing move for the new pic to follow its overseas bow by three weekends.

Prior to this weekend, the new Bond film had opened in 60 markets overseas and was #1 in every territory where it debuted. In virtually every market, Quantum Of Solace exceeded the opening of Casino Royale, which earned just under $600 million worldwide.

Meanwhile, rival studios say this may be the costliest film ever made minute-by-minute: $261 million for a 105-minute movie, which comes out to almost $2.5 million per minute. (Highest is the $300-million price-tag for 165-minute Pirates of The Caribbean 3.) But Sony sources say that number is off base by more than $60 million. Plus they claim tax credits from filming. Which is why one veteran film financing source said today, "The film cost a fortune, and they spent a fortune to release it so it better do well. Everything is relative."

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