From the box office

From the box office: Nov. 9-11

After a four-year hiatus from theaters, James Bond is finally back and bigger than ever. With an estimated $88 million opening, the new Bond film, “Skyfall,” set a franchise record for highest opening weekend and was clearly the top grosser this weekend. With MGM and Sony’s “Skyfall,” DreamWorks’ “Lincoln” and a series of strong holdovers, the weekend box office garnered $163 million. It marked a 29 percent increase from this time last year.

There were multiple factors that played into the success of “Skyfall.” First and foremost, it was an original, well-made film, a characteristic that has been lacking in the majority of films released this year. Because of this, the film generated strong word of mouth, an extremely valuable asset for any film (“Skyfall” had an impressive A rating on CinemaScore). Audiences praised the performances of Daniel Craig as Bond, seasoned actress Judi Dench as M, and Javier Bardem as villain Silva. The signature action sequences that epitomize Bond films were also praised.

Another factor that contributed to the success of “Skyfall” was European audiences. Because the film was released in Europe a week before it was released in the United States, the impressive box office figures and strong word of mouth generated from European audiences were able to affect American audiences. Additionally, the inclusion of Bond in the opening sequence of the London Olympics Opening Ceremony was a major publicity move that advertised the film to hundreds of millions of people and created early buzz for the film. Adele also contributed to the early buzz, as her theme song, “Skyfall,” became an instant hit on iTunes and music sites worldwide in early October.

The film grossed an estimated $88 million domestically from 3,505 theaters, which is an average of more than $25,000 per theater — an impressive figure. Overseas, the film earned more than $80 million from 25 foreign territories in its opening weekend, and has already garnered more than $420 million. Even with a production budget of roughly $200 million, the film is well on its way to profitability.

The other notable new release this weekend was DreamWorks’ “Lincoln,” which earned more than $944,000 from only eleven locations (a more than $85,000-per-theater yield). The film has already generated Oscar buzz from the powerful performance of Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, as well as directorial nods for the renowned Steven Spielberg. The film was only in limited release this weekend, so it will be interesting to see how audiences respond on a wider basis when the film upgrades to more than 1,500 theaters next weekend.

—Written by Ian Tecklin, contributing writer, ijteckli@syr.edu

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