If there’s a recession going on, word hasn’t gotten to James Bond.
International multiplexes have seen eye-popping openings for “Quantum of Solace” with the 22nd Bond pic already on track to eclipse the $429 million international total for “Casino Royale.”
Moviegoers ignored the worldwide economic downturn and mixed reviews during the Nov. 7-9 frame as “Solace” grossed $107.3 million at 10,079 playdates in 60 markets — marking the 11th highest weekend of all time.
With the U.K., France and Sweden having opened a week earlier on Oct. 31, foreign cume had hit $161.1 million as of Nov. 9. Weekday grosses came in at about $10 million per day, ensuring that “Solace” had already taken around $200 million before the Nov. 14 launch in the United States.
Aside from shrugging off the recession, several other factors made the initial “Solace” numbers even more impressive:
n it still had not opened in Australia, Japan, Mexico and Spain;
n the value of the dollar has strengthened in recent months by about 20%, meaning that the foreign “Solace” numbers would have been significantly higher had the film launched last summer;
n “Solace” was a hit everywhere as it set records for openings in Switzerland at $3.8 million, Finland at $1.7 million and the United Arab Emirates at $1 million. The $9.1 million Chinese debut represented the second largest ever for a non-Chinese pic, and its $3.7 million Indian launch was the second-best among Hollywood entries;
n The hold for the high-octane actioner dipped a very respectable 40% in the U.K. to $14.4 million for a cume of $49.2 million, suggesting that word-of-mouth is far more positive than the reviews. The “Solace” soph sesh utterly dominated U.K. cinema trade, with only the third frame of “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” topping $2 million.
n In Germany, “Quantum of Solace” raked in the biggest opening so far this year at $15 million as well as the best ever for a Bond film;
n In Italy, “Solace” surpassed exhib expectations by scoring $3.9 million from 467 in a flat frame for an $8,270 per-screen average, considered killer in a land that has never been that fond of Bond;
n In France, “Solace” slid a respectable 42% in its second frame to give it nearly 2.5 million admissions in its first 10 days.
Studios mostly avoided going head to head against the Bond pic. Warner launched “Body of Lies” in France with a respectable $2.3 million in second place and won in Spain — one of the few non-“Solace” markets — with the same number.
France also has supported biopic “Public Enemy Number One, Part 1,” a look at the life of criminal Jacques Mesrine, with $12 million in three weeks. The second part opens Nov. 19.
Ahead of its Western European releases, Par’s “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” continues to do gangbusters biz in the sizzling Russian market, where it’s bagged $35.8 million after two weeks.
Disney’s “High School Musical 3” led the rest of the pack during the frame with $14.6 million at 4,413 in 32 markets to boost its foreign cume to $110 million — the fifth Mouse House pic to top the $100 million mark overseas in 2008 after “Wall-E” at $262 million, “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” “National Treasure 2” and “Enchanted.”
And in the U.K. Ricky Gervais continues to charm Brit auds with “Ghost Town” showing good traction. The supernatural comedy placed third, dipping only 9% for a running take of $7.1 million — more than half its U.S. total.
Archie Thomas in London, Ed Meza in Berlin, David Hayhurst in Paris, Nick Vivarelli in Rome and Emilio Mayorga in Madrid contributed to this report.