If “Spectre” wants to topple “Skyfall” as the highest-grossing James Bond film in history, it will need to do massive business overseas.
It’s a tall order, but the 24th film in the spy series is off to a strong start. The action sequel topped the foreign box office this weekend, picking up a leading $117.8 million across 78 territories.
That strong result should pick up some of the slack from “Spectre’s” domestic numbers. The film was the highest-grossing release stateside, picking up $73 million, but some corners had been anticipating an opening of $80 million or more. “Skyfall” bowed to $88.4 million, although it didn’t face as much competition. “The Peanuts Movie” debuted to $45 million and may have taken a bite out of “Spectre’s” business.
The film was hugely expensive, carrying a $250 million price tag. It brings back the “Skyfall” team of Daniel Craig and director Sam Mendes and throws in Christoph Waltz as Bond’s shadowy nemesis. “Skyfall” became the first film in the 007 series to gross more than $1 billion.
So far, “Spectre” is on pace to match that take, having taken in $300 million globally. It opened in the United Kingdom and a handful of European territories last weekend. There are still several foreign markets left to open, among them South Korea, Japan, France, Australia and China.
China, where “Skyfall” took in $59.2 million, could be the difference maker. The country has been furiously building movie theaters, and American films have been doing robust business in the territory. If the market has grown in the ensuing years, “Spectre” could dwarf the grosses of its predecessor.
China helped lift “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.” The young adult adventure film opened in the People’s Republic, picking up $19.8 million for the weekend. All told, the picture added $21.3 million to its $218.5 million haul and captured second place on the foreign charts.
Third place went to the Chinese romantic comedy “Ex Files 2: The Back Up Strikes Back” with $17 million, while “Hotel Transylvania 2” captured fourth place with $15 million, pushing its global gross to $404.2 million. The animated sequel has now earned more than “Hotel Transylvania,” which brought in $358.4 million globally.
“Everest,” a drama about a mountaineering expedition gone wrong, rounded out the top five, earning $13.1 million. Its global haul stands at $190.9 million.