Best ever Bond opening weekend for `Quantum of Solace`
Hollywood let out a collective sigh of relief as moviegoers set aside worries about the economy to deliver a $70.4 million opening for Sony/MGM's "Quantum of Solace," the biggest opening ever for a James Bond title and a major victory for a film franchise nearly half a century old - reports Variety
Previous record-holder for best Bond opening was the $47.1 million for "Die Another Day." Director Marc Forster's "Solace," playing in 3,451 runs, opened 74% higher than the 2006 critically acclaimed "Casino Royale," which gave a new look and feel to the Bond franchise, as well as a new 007--Daniel Craig.
The specialty side also made headlines over the weekend. Fox Searchlight's "Slumdog Millionaire" scored the best location average of the year among specialty titles and the fourth best of the year among all titles. Film grossed an estimated $350,434 from 10 theaters for a per-screen average of $35,043 and a cume of $418,131. (It opened Wednesday.)
Weekend was up a staggering 50% over the same frame last year on the strength of "Quantum of Solace" and several holdovers, led by "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," which jumped the $100 million in its second weekend, according to Rentrak.
"Madagascar" sequel declined 43% to an estimated $36.1 million from 4,065 runs for a cume of $118 million. Universal's R-rated laffer "Role Models" also continued to surprise with its popularity, declining only 39% in its second weekend to an estimated $11.7 million from 2,798 theaters; cume is $38.1 million.
Competing studios applauded the "Quantum of Solace" performance as a sign that the box office is withstanding the current economic crisis. The Bond pic tied with "The Incredibles" for the fourth best opening in the month of November. The "Harry Potter" franchise owns the first three spots.
Meanwhile, "Quantum of Solace" continues its worldwide domination. Through Sunday, pic had earned an estimated $251.6 million at the international B.O. for a worldwide total of $322 million. Craig's second outing as Agent 007 began rolling out internationally over the Oct. 31-Nov. 2 weekend.
"I think Daniel Craig works in a big way," Sony prexy of domestic distribution Rory Bruer said. "There's no doubt about it, 'Solace' hit it out of the park."
Box observers believe "Quantum of Solace," produced by Bond home Eon Prods., will have no trouble eclipsing "Casino Royale's" $167.4 domestic cume and $426.8 international total. Unlike "Casino Royale," "Quantum of Solace" wasn't well reviewed.
Pic's domestic opening is more impressive for the fact that it played to an older crowd. Some 58% of the aud were over age 25. As with other Bond titles, "Quantum of Solace" skewed male, or 54%. Sony insiders put the pic's production budget at $200 million; others put it well higher.
The 22nd official Bond pic ends Sony's involvement with the franchise, with MGM taking over completely.
The Bond franchise had grown up at United Artists but came into the MGM fold when the Lion bought UA. It fell into Sony's hands when Sony and a consortium of investors bought MGM.
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