The latest James Bond’s adventure, “Quantum of Solace,” made $70.4 million over the weekend, breaking the previous opening-weekend record for a 007 film, according to the Associated Press.
“Quantum of Solace,” the first direct sequel in the long-running franchise, stars Daniel Craig as the British secret agent, out to avenge the death of his lover, Vesper Lynd, at the end of 2006′s “Casino Royale.” The AP reported that ”QOS” made nearly $30 million more over its opening weekend than its predecessor.
The opening weekend of “QOS” also topped the previous opening-weekend record for a Bond movie: $47 million for 2002′s “Die Another Day,” according to the AP.
“With ‘Casino Royale,’ people were rediscovering the franchise in a way with Daniel Craig as James Bond,” Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony, told the AP. “Quite frankly, they loved it. They loved the movie, and they loved him in the role, so I think by the time `Quantum of Solace’ was ready, audiences in the U.S. as well as the world audience was way ready.”
“Quantum of Solace” began opening overseas two weekends before its U.S. debut, and its worldwide box office take is currently about $322 million.
DreamWorks Animation’s “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa,” the previous weekend’s top movie, fellto second place with $36.1 million, bringing its 10-day total to $118 million.
“QOS” was the only new film to open in wide release over the weekend, and it gave Hollywood revenues a big jolt. The top 12 movies took in $142.9 million, up 54 percent from the same weekend a year ago, when “Beowulf” led the box office with $27.5 million, according to AP.
Movie revenue is about 1 percent ahead of 2007′s record pace, when the movie biz took in $9.7 billion, according to box-office tracker Media By Numbers. However, when you take inflation into account, the number of tickets sold this year is 3.5 percent behind 2007 figures.
Hollywood is gearing up for Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally one of the biggest movie weekends of the year. Of course, this week brings a potential powerhouse with the vampire romance “Twilight,” plus the animated Disney movie “Bolt.”
“Hollywood is in the best possible position right now, because it’s all about momentum, and the industry certainly has that heading into the all-important holiday period,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers, told the AP.
The AP also noted that Fox Searchlight’s “Slumdog Millionaire” debuted strongly in limited release, scoring $350,434 in 10 theaters for an average of $35,043 a cinema. By comparison, “QOS” averaged $20,400 in 3,451 theaters.
A film festival favorite, “Slumdog Millionaire” is the latest film from Danny Boyle, director of “Trainspotting,” “28 Days Later”; it focuses on a poor young Indian man who becomes a contestant on his country’s version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”
Here is the box office top 10, from the AP:
1. “Quantum of Solace,” $70.4 million.
2. “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa,” $36.1 million.
3. “Role Models,” $11.7 million.
4. “High School Musical 3: Senior Year,” $5.9 million.
5. “Changeling,” $4.2 million.
6. “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” $3.2 million.
7. “Soul Men,” $2.43 million.
8. “The Secret Life of Bees,” $2.4 million.
9. “Saw V,” $1.8 million.
10. “The Haunting of Molly Hartley,” $1.6 million.