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Sunday, November 16, 2008

'Quantum of Solace' shatters Bond record with $70.4m debut, Nov. 14-16, 2008

Thanks to a record-shattering debut from Quantum of Solace and a strong sophomore showing from last week's champ Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, the top two films this weekend grossed more than $100 million in ticket sales. The surge gave the top ten films a dramatic 55% bump in ticket sales over last year's comparable frame, when Beowulf debuted with $27.5 million.

Sony and MGM's necessary gamble to reboot the James Bond franchise with a new face (Daniel Craig) and more realistic style has officially paid off in spades, as the second film in their franchise reboot, Quantum of Solace, rocketed to the top spot this weekend with a record-breaking $70.4 million. Averaging an incredible $20,400 in 3,451 theaters, the PG-13 actioner shattered the previous best opening in the Bond franchise Die Another Day, which bowed in 2002 with $47.1 million. Craig's 2006 Casino Royale debuted with $40.8 million on its way to $167 million domestic (and $594 million worldwide).

Budgeted at a jaw-dropping $200 million, Solace had massive expectations to open bigger than any other Bond film. But thanks to a very soft November lineup of releases, a huge marketing push by Sony, the worldwide success of its immediate predecessor Casino Royale, and solid reviews, the Marc Forster directed pic still blew away industry expectations, posting the fifth biggest November opening in history.

If estimates hold, Quantum of Solace will have bested the debut of last year's blockbuster The Bourne Ultimatum, a film franchise that seems to have heavily influenced the style of this latest incarnation of Bond films. Ultimatum opened in July and showed tremendous legs finishing with $227.5 million domestic and $442 million worldwide. Word of mouth will have to be extremely strong for Solace to match those numbers. Even if it doesn't hit $227 million, look for the Craig starrer to become the highest grossing Bond film ever domestic, currently held by Casino Royale's $167.4 million. Overseas, Solace continued to perform extraordinarily well, grossing another strong $56.1 million, bringing its international gross to $252 million.

Last week's champ Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa fell an encouraging 43% to $36.1 million, bringing its ten day take to $118 million. Budgeted at $150 million, the DreamWorks Animation/Paramount release most likely will surpass the $193.2 million domestic take of its 2005 predecessor. It will face steeper competition next weekend when Disney's computer-animated Bolt strikes theaters.

Universal's hit R-rated comedy Role Models fell just 39% to third, bringing its ten day take to $38.1 million. Budgeted at $28 million, the film should surpass $70 million domestic. Disney's High School Musical 3: Senior Year added another $5.9 million to its lucrative coffers, bringing the the $11 million budgeted pic's total to an amazing $84.4 million. Clint Eastwood's $55m budgeted Changeling fell 41% to $4.2 million, bringing the Universal drama's four week cume to $27.6 million.

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