New Bond film heads to U.S.

Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:14am EST
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By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - You know there has been a seismic shift in the global marketplace when a big Hollywood picture can ring up $200 million before it opens in North America.

That's the likelihood with this weekend's lone domestic opener, the James Bond film "Quantum of Solace," which had registered $180 million internationally by Tuesday and was ringing up foreign coin at a daily clip of $10 million this week. The Daniel Craig starrer has been playing in dozens of countries worldwide before its domestic debut on Friday.

Partly because of the global buildup, the 22nd Bond film appears likely to mount the biggest domestic Bond opening ever, well outpacing the $47.1 million debut for 2002's "Die Another Day." Many pundits believe a $50 million-plus opening is likely, with a first-weekend haul of $60 million doable.

"I certainly believe the buzz is out there, with regard to what it's doing throughout the world," said Rory Bruer, president of domestic distribution at Sony, which partnered on the $200 million film with MGM. "The world is a much smaller place, and that resonates back to the U.S. as well."

Reviews haven't been as solid for the Marc Forster-directed film as they were for 2006's "Casino Royale" -- which marked Craig's first assignment as 007 -- and that Bond installment proved a far greater hit internationally than in the U.S. and Canada. "Royale" rang up $40.8 million during its first weekend in domestic release, en route to $167.4 million U.S. domestically and $594.2 million in worldwide box office sales.

Sony and MGM launched "Quantum of Solace" in Britain, France and Sweden two weeks ago, and expanded it to most foreign territories last weekend. Japan is the key exception; "Solace" won't travel there until January.

Elsewhere in North America, DreamWorks Animation's reigning champ "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" will seek as much moolah as possible before rival studio Disney bows its animated feature "Bolt" next weekend. Animated films tend to play longer than the average release, but the overlap could cause some tumult.

Universal has a pair of holdover titles targeting different core audiences than "Solace." Yet each could get jostled in a marketplace that will get only more competitive with each successive frame.   Continued...

<p>British actor Daniel Craig poses during his photocall for the Italian premiere of the latest James Bond movie 'Quantum of Solace' in Rome, November 5, 2008. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi</p>