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Box Office: "SKYFALL" SET TO SOAR
Source: Jeff Bock
Date: Nov 8, 2012
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Bond, James “Box Office” Bond. Don’t you dare cross him…end of story. How else do you explain the fact that no other studio even challenged 007 this weekend? As the only new flick in wide release, Sony will surely stir up a #1 debut, but the question really is, just how high will “Skyfall” fly?

We all know the latest Bond film is always “the best” one, but the longer fans have to wait for a new installment, the more true that seemingly becomes. It’s been four years since we’ve last seen Agent 007 and apparently there has been some of the pent up anticipation. The overseas grosses have overflowed mightily--$156 million last weekend and over $320+ million internationally. And at Bond’s home base, the UK, it’s already the highest grossing movie of the year.

In most territories, “Skyfall” debuted much higher than “Quantum of Solace,” mostly for the reason that Sony has marketed this one much better and that word-of-mouth has been tremendous, but I contend that it’s because people can actually pronounce the title, and don’t think it is referring to a new Deepak Chopra book. 

That’s not to say there isn’t some rationale behind the lavish praises for what is officially the 23rd Bond film, as “Skyfall” is currently topping Spielberg’s Academy Award darling, “Lincoln,” on RottenTomatoes—93% to 91%. A lot of the credit should go to director and UK native Sam Mendes (“American Beauty,” “Road to Perdition”) for the high marks, as he is no stranger to laurels and Oscar-talk.  Oh, and then there’s the blonde one, holding the gun.    

Daniel Craig’s Bond has been extremely consistent at the box office, as “Quantum of Solace” grossed $586M worldwide while “Casino Royale” topped out at $594M. With foreign grosses already closing in on $300M in just 10 days of release, “Skyfall” is definitely shaking and stirring up the franchise and will easily be the first Bond film to score over $600M worldwide, and maybe, just maybe the first to pass $200 million domestic, as well.

It is becoming increasingly more common for studios to roll out blockbuster films in International markets before domestic these days, and Bond is no different.  With 007’s huge overseas numbers trumping all box office news in the U.S. the last two weekends, there is certainly fervor over here. And that box office buzz can only help punch up the grosses stateside, as Bond’s latest adventure is the second-in-a-row of the series to open wide without any competition.  That’s really the biggest factor of all though. The same set of circumstances befell “Quantum of Solace,” helping it debut with $67M—the highest opening the franchise has ever seen.

With the election hoopla over, and holiday movies in full-swing, American audiences will likely embrace Bond to the tune of $75+ million in just over 3,500+ theaters. And for fanboys and spyhards that just can’t wait until midnight multiplex mass tonight, don’t fret, you can see it today (Thursday) exclusively in IMAX, where it opened a day early just to build the buzz. FYI—it’s also the first Bond film that has ever been presented in IMAX.   

Spielberg’s “Lincoln” also opens this weekend, but in limited release in just a dozen polling locations. Expect the returns to be stunning though, resulting in $1-$1.2M for the weekend, or around $100k per.  Don’t worry; it truly is the best film about Abraham Lincoln this year. That means if you didn’t like “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” you’ll probably really enjoy this one.

“Lincoln” is very much a one-man character study, featuring another bravado performance by Daniel Day-Lewis. And while it will receive grand accolades for its historically accurate subject matter, in this day and age, the inner workings of the judicial system as Lincoln attempts to pass the 13th Amendment at the tail end of the civil war, amounts to a very sluggish film.

I’m not saying it’s not entertaining; it is, in fact, it’s probably one of the greatest History Channel films ever made. In the very near future, it will likely also serve as one of the best learning aids Politic Science teachers ever encountered, but that certainly doesn’t portend winning the battle of the box office.

With demographics skewing towards much older adults, this will be a very difficult sell for a brand like Disney. Think “War Horse” numbers. Spielberg’s last film topped out at $80m domestically and rang up $177M worldwide.

Also, I still contend that “Lincoln” is actually Disney’s third theme park ride adaptation after “Haunted Mansion” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” You know that attraction, “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln,” which is an animatronics show/history lesson just off Main Street? What? Never heard of it? C’mon. Maybe you know it as “Stinkin’ Lincoln?” Ring a bell? No? Well, that’s because it’s about as popular as the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes ride. Kids don’t want to waste their precious time learning about history at Disneyland, just like they won’t want to waste their time at multiplexes…especially with “Wreck-It Ralph” blooping and beeping next door.  

 

WEEKEND ESTIMATES

1.       Skyfall - $77M

2.       Wreck-It Ralph - $35M

3.       Flight - $16.5M

4.       Argo - $7M

5.       Man with the Iron Fists - $4M


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