James Bond, now in his 46th year as a worldwide cinematic franchise, isn’t showing any signs of wear and tear.
“Quantum of Solace” has dominated the international box office for the past month and shown far more traction outside the United States than domestically.
The foreign attraction of Bond films came into sharp focus two years ago when “Casino Royale” took in $430 million from offshore territories — a stunning 72% of its worldwide total of $594 million. Sony execs have already predicted that “Solace” will top the foreign cume for “Casino.”
While the second frame of “Solace” slid 60% in the United States, the Bond pic held far better in nearly all foreign markets, with $311.6 million as of Nov. 24. It had generally less competition in international markets, as rivals opted for targeted launches, but it also again demonstrated the power of the franchise outside the United States.
Solace took in more than the next four films combined during the Nov. 21-23 frame with $40.6 milion at 10,400 playdates in 72 markets.
The frame saw a quartet of solid openings with Australia launching at $7.9 million, 44% higher than “Casino”; Spain with $5.2 million for a socko $10,027 per-screen average; South Africa with $555,000, 28% higher; and Peru with $260,000, 83% higher.
In Spain, the success of “Solace” was in line with the optimistic end of predictions by bookers, who noted that it compared particularly favorably with the $3.8 million “Casino Royale” launch.
“Solace” holdover numbers were just as impressive in most markets. The U.K. led with a 44% decline in its fourth frame to $4.6 million, while the drops were 47% in Germany, 45% in France, 63% in China, 47% in South Korea, 49% in Switzerland, 35% in Holland, 59% in Mexico, 37% in Brazil and 38% in Finland.
And domestic sensation “Twilight” put the initial bite on solid foreign coin in a limited international launch with $9.6 million at 1,282. The best numbers came from Italy as the vampire romancer chomped a boffo $5.84 million from 601 for an impressive $9,723 per-screen-average at numero uno and bested bows of “Quantum of Solace” (at $3.9 million) and “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” (at 5.2 million).
Early indications that “Twilight” would click in Italy came when a 15-minute sneak preview world-preemed last month at the Rome Film Festival, with stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart and helmer Catherine Hardwicke in tow, creating commotion and becoming the fest’s fastest-selling ticket. Eagle has massively marketed “Twilight” in Italy, thanks partly to the fact that Pattinson is a former “Harry Potter” star.
Meanwhile, “Body of Lies” bowed moderately in Italy but in line with exhib expectations, pulling in $1.8 million from 357 for the No. 3 slot. “Lies” has continued to generate modest foreign returns, generating $10.1 million at 2,900 for the frame, including a $1.5 million Brit launch and a $1.4 million German opening — both of which were dwarfed by the respective fourth and third frames of “Solace.”
Paramount’s “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa,” still early in its foreign run, remained a strong draw for families, with $9 million at 1,233 in a dozen markets with first-place launches in Denmark, Holland, Norway and Sweden.
In France, audiences have embraced a pair of pics about real-life gangster Mesrine, portrayed by Vincent Cassel. The second of the two-part biopic, “Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One” staged a socko first five days for Pathe, earning $4.7 million on 500 while “Mesrine: Death Instinct” was down only 28% in its fifth frame for a cume of $15.9 million.
Archie Thomas in London, Emilio Mayorga in Madrid, Nick Vivarelli in Rome and David Hayhurst in Paris contributed to this report.