By Keith Williams
HOLLYWOOD,CA(RushPRnews/Hollywood Today)11/18/08 – James Bond blasted his way into box-office Heaven this weekend mowing down an estimated $70.4 million from 3451 shoot-outs, by far the biggest opening for the 007 franchise ever, beating not only Pierce Brosnanâ€™s Die Another Day ($47m) and Daniel Craigâ€™s Casino Royale ($40m) but surpassing the $69 million achieved by The Bourne Ultimatum last year.
The first of the major blockbusters to be upon us for the imminent Holiday season, Quantum of Solace (aka Casino Royale 2) won no love from reviewers for its less than attractive title, awful theme song, incoherent script, flat direction, and lack of chemistry between Craig and femme lead Olga Kurylenko (rumors abound on sites such as Hollywood Elsewhere of dramatic scenes being heavily pruned due to them not working as well as they should, hence making it a cut-to-the-bone action pic and the shortest of the Bond films so far).
None of this made any difference to audiences who flocked in record numbers, positioning QOS to become the most successful Bond film to date, so donâ€™t expect many changes if any when the next one down the pipeline comes along.
Dame Judi Dench: Cruel and cool as ever as M
Rebooting Bond ala the realism of Bourne and the early Ian Fleming novels where 007 had more brutishness than Britishness and gadgets, has paid dividends beyond most Bond-watchers dreams, even though many still hanker for the blue skies, palm trees, comic-strip villains and naff quips of the past. Already having opened outside the US – thank Harry Potter and Batman for this – Solace has taken in $230 million worldwide in two weeks, having registered no.1 openings in virtually all its 58 markets.
The nagging price-tag of $260 million (denied by Sony) may have contributed a worrying doubt to actual profit margins. Key will be longevity through word-of-mouth, but from reactions and continued attendances in the UK and globally, Sony-MGM have very little to fear.
With shrapnel flying everywhere from such a phenomenal debut, last weekâ€™s champion, Madagascar Escape 2 Africa, sought refuge in second position but still took a potent $36.1 million on a 42.7% decline. How steep this drop will be next week when Disneyâ€™s Bolt 3-D targets the same demographic is uncertain, but with an impressive $118 million in the jungle kitty so far, DreamWorks arenâ€™t exactly adding the word â€œrecessionâ€ to their vocabulary yet.
Role Models continued to amuse in third place, assuming $11.7 million on a decent 38.9% fall in its second week of release, High School Musical 3 sang its way to $5.8 million on a cheery 35.8% drop, Changeling transformed another $4.2 million whilst dropping 41.4%, whilst hapless Zack and Miriâ€™s would-be porno could only muster a soft-core $3.2 million on a less than sizzling 49% fade. At no 7 in the charts, Soul Men plunged by 55.1% for $2.4 million, Secret Life of Bees at 8 droned 22.3% for $2.4 millionâ€™s worth of honey, Saw V eviscarated $1.7 million on a 56% plunge (steepest in the top ten), leaving the no 10 slot recently vacated by Eagle Eye to The Haunting of Molly Hartley which exorcised a post-Halloween $1.6 million on a 50.3% drop.
Apart from Bolt 3-D next week, all eyes, including Mr Bondâ€™s, will be fixed on the arrival of teen sensation Twilight of which adults like me know absolutely nothing about.
Weekend Estimates courtesy boxofficemojo.com
WEEKEND TOP 5 STUDIO ESTIMATES, NOVEMBER 14-16, 2008
Rank. Movie Title (Distributor) Weekend Gross | Theaters | Total Gross | Week #
1. Quantum of Solace (Sony / Columbia) $70.4 million | 3,451 | $70.4 million | 1
2. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Paramount (DreamWorks) $36.1 million | 4,065 | $118.0 million | 2
3. Role Models (Universal) $11.7 million | 2,798 | $38.1 million | 2
4. High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Buena Vista) $5.9 million | 3,202 | $84.4 million | 4
5. Changeling (Universal) $4.3 million | 1,896 | $27.6 million | 4