“Spectre” shoots to $74M at box office

9 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Spectre’ shoots to $73 million, misses ‘Skyfall’s’ mark.

Daniel Craig has backtracked on quitting Bond, saying he may return to the franchise but right now he just wants to stop being asked about it and have a nice sit down. “The simple answer at the moment is I don’t want to think about it,” Craig told The Today Show. “I just don’t want to think about it. Coming in almost on the projections’ dot with $73 million at the North American box office, Spectre easily won the weekend even in the face of strong competition from The Peanuts Movie ($45 million), which turned out not to be the cynical play on our collective cultural nostalgia you might have feared. (Or at least, an incredibly effective one.) Frankly, after a brutal October that saw would-be blockbusters and art-house contenders alike go splat on the sidewalk of audience indifference, Hollywood is grateful for the adrenaline injection, pushing it ever closer to a record-breaking $11 billion this year in domestic box office. Domestically, “Spectre” failed to live up to the record-breaking standard set by “Skyfall,” which debuted to $88.4 million in 2012 and went on to become the first film in the franchise to earn over $1 billion worldwide. “We never expected it to open to the level of ‘Skyfall.’ It was a very different scenario. The competition was different, the weekend was different,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s president of worldwide distribution. “One thing I am certain of is that the Bond franchise is as healthy and strong as ever.” Distributor Sony, who co-produced the film with Eon Productions and MGM, tried to manage expectations going into the weekend, predicting an opening in the $60 million range. “It’s still a great number,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Rentrak’s senior media analyst. “For a franchise that’s over 50 years old, it’s really an astounding achievement.” “Spectre’s” worldwide take is a different story.

And we’re now in the age of the mega-blockbuster, where the Marvel Universe, a rebooted Star Wars galaxy, and the like serve as the benchmarks of success. Probably more fun on this film than I have on all the others put together.” Long-serving producer Barbara Broccoli is confident he will return after the dust has settled though, telling The Mirror: “We think we’ve got him but we don’t have a contract.” While Bond has a longevity and durability unlike any other—James is nothing else if not the grandfather of the modern franchise—only with Daniel Craig’s brooding pugilism did everyone start expecting Bond films to open so well. They lured Sam Mendes back to direct, hired the same Skyfall screenwriters, and even secured the outstanding Thunderball rights so they could bring back Bond’s arch-nemesis Blofeld (the perfectly cast if not perfectly used Christoph Waltz). The final installment of “The Hunger Games” franchise opens in two weeks, and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” bows in just over a month. “We certainly needed this infusion of excitement into a marketplace that has been just lying there doing nothing almost for the past few weeks,” Dergarabedian said. “This is good news for Hollywood to get things back on track.” Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak.

And by the most important metric, cold, hard cash, Spectre broke the bank: it’s rumored to be among the most expensive films in history at a reported $250 million budget “after tax breaks.” (The upside of that stunning Day of the Dead opener is that Mexico reportedly coughed up $20 million in tax breaks to help keep the budget down.) In fact, Deadline asserts Spectre’s all-in cost with marketing, to be nearly $375 million; or to put it another way, Variety says Spectre needs to clear $650 million worldwide to hit the black. But neither Sony nor the august Broccolis, who have owned the rights to James Bond films and controlled his fate since the very beginning, have much to worry about. Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC. It’s already outpaced Skyfall in the U.K. to cross the $100 million mark there, and it’s yet to open in many key countries, like France, where Lea Seydoux’s presence should goose the returns, Japan (third largest movie market in the world) and of course, China the promised land of international box office.

Which is the idea: the MGM and Eon Productions’ distribution deal with Sony is up now, with Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros.’ all queuing up to bid and add another heavy hitter franchise to their belts. Few producers have ever exerted as much control over a property as Broccoli and Wilson, and as a result, studio execs are never fully in the driver’s seat. While we the public may get excited fantasy casting the next Bond, studio bean counters are typically tighter with the purse strings when it comes to unknown variables. The most venerable of franchises may be overdue for its next creative rebirth, but whether or not we get another round in the ring with Daniel Craig rests on the complex calculus of back-end profits and shadowy backroom conversations already underway.

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