Skyfall’s legacy

Skyfall's poster image

Skyfall’s poster image

As Skyfall’s run in theaters ends (outside of China, anyway), there have been various efforts to analyze its place in 007 history, including whether or not it should be considered the top Bond performer even adjusted for inflation.

Here’s a simpler evaluation, without math or complicated comparison of box office from different eras over a half century: Skyfall, whether you liked it (and many did) or not, re-established or confirmed (depending on your view) Agent 007 as a major player in pop culture.

Not that long ago, Harry Potter films had passed 007 for worldwide ticket sales. Many 007 fans cried foul, saying such comparisons were unfair. Today, after Skyfall has reached No. 8 all time in adjusted ticket sales? You don’t hear that so much.

In 2008, Quantum of Solace got off to a strong opening weekend in the U.S. but faltered the next weekend when Twilight,the first of series of movies about young vampires, arrived in theaters. Four years later, Skyfall and 007 got even, recording higher ticket sales, even in the U.S., Twilight’s home ground for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, the final bow of the young vampires.

All of this occurred despite a bankruptcy at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio that controls half of the 007 franchise. It happened despite a four-year hiatus for 007.

Is 007 as big as 1965, when Thunderball set a James Bond box office record for (unadjusted for inflation) worldwide ticket sales that would stand until 1973’s Live And Let Die? Well, 1965 was a big year for Bond: it started out with Goldfinger still playing in theaters, was followed by a Dr. No-From Russia With Love getting re-released as a double feature and concluded with Thunderball. Thanks to home video, that kind of almost-constant run in theaters can’t happen today.

On the other hand, remember Thunderball wasn’t even the most popular movie in the year it was released. The Sound of Music had higher U.S.-Canada ticket sales than Thunderball did worldwide. Thunderball was a huge hit, to be sure, but some fans may remember it as being even larger than it was.

Skyfall, which debuted in Chinese theaters last week, is right behind The Dark Knight Rises for No. 7 all-time (unadjusted) and No. 2 movie worldwide for 2012 releases.

Eon Productions, MGM and Sony Pictures (which has released the last three 007 films) face a tough comparison when Bond 24 goes into production. But that’s a discussion for another day. As of early 2013, Harry Potter, Twilight and Batman (at least until the next reboot) have fallen away; agent 007 is still plugging away. That’s Skyfall’s real legacy.

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One Response

  1. As an FYI, I saw a Skyfall Blueray combo pack for preorder at my local Walmart for less than $20. As a bonus, you get a free digital download of either Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace from Vudu.

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