Captain America and spies prove to be big box office

Captain America: The Winter Soldier's poster

Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s poster

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which mixed superheroes and spies, generated an estimated $96.2 million in U.S. ticket sales, according to the Box Office Mojo website.

The movie, starring Chris Evans as Cap, set a record for an April movie opening, according to The Wrap entertainment news site.

The film concerns Cap becoming increasingly wary of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Marvel Comics spy agency. The movie addresses various plot threads going back to 2008’s Iron Man, the first production from Marvel Studios. One of two epilogues in the end titles provides a teaser for next year’s sequel to 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers. A third Captain America movie has been scheduled for May 2016.

Meanwhile, the storyline of Captain America: The Winter Soldier will affect the ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. USA Today has a story that details how in a story you can view BY CLICKING HERE. Both Marvel Studios and ABC are owned by Walt Disney Co.

Also, BusinessWeek has a story about Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios boss and producer of its movies. You can read it by CLICKING HERE.

Our final Soderbergh U.N.C.L.E. footnote

Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh

We watched the Steven Soderbergh-directed (and photographed and edited under aliases) Side Effects because it was the movie he did after dumping a film version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in late 2011.

Overall, we’d give it a B grade, with maybe an A after a slow first 20-25 minutes. It was one last chance to get an idea of the U.N.C.L.E. that never was. While we had a better time than we expected (after the director’s Contagion in September 2011 and Haywire in January 2012), we still had the feeling that, despite a long drawn-out soap opera, things ended up for the best.

Among the reasons: This was one more chance to view Channing Tatum, one of the actors whose name was floated as a Napoleon Solo for Soderbergh. He’s a hot star now but…no thanks. He even shows up in one scene in a tuxedo (not uncommon for Solo on the 1964-68 television series) but he looks more like now-retired NFL linebacker Ray Lewis than Solo.

Also, Side Effects was written by Scott Z. Burns, who, based on recent comments, we’re not sure really gets what makes U.N.C.L.E. tick. While we don’t expect any future U.N.C.L.E. movie to be a clone of the TV show, it still helps to have an idea of the core ideas. Put another way: The various Marvel Comics movies that have come out since Iron Man in 2008 aren’t clones of the original comics, but they successful take the basics and update them well.

Essentially, Side Effects is like a theatrical movie version of Law & Order, the 1990-2010 television series where many episodes look simple but run into twists. Except that Side Effects includes a Rooney Mara-Catherine Zeta-Jones love scene that you didn’t get on the TV show. Meanwhile, Jude Law is effective as a psychiatrist who becomes a dupe in a murder plot.

Finally, watching Side Effects provides another footnote — to Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film. The score is by Thomas Newman, who scored an Oscar nomination for his Bond work. Newman’s Side Effects score is much closer to his past work than Skyfall was. Newman’s music for Side Effects contain the Hans Zimmer influence from director Christopher Nolan’s three Batman movies.

UPDATE (Feb. 10): Side Effects finished a distant No. 3 in the U.S.-Canada box office for the Feb. 8-10 weekend with an estimated $10 million in ticket sales, according to BOX OFFICE MOJO. The No. 1 movie was the comedy Identity Thief with an estimated $36.6 million.

Skyfall now No. 2 for 2012 movies, No. 7 all-time

Skyfall's poster image

Skyfall’s poster image

Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film, is now the second-highest for 2012 movie ticket sales and No. 7 all-time, according to Box Office Mojo.

The Web site, which tracks movie ticket sales, now estimates Skyfall’s box office at $1.09 billion as of 3 p.m. New York time.

The Sam Mendes-directed Skyfall has now passed The Dark Knight Returns at $1.08 billion. The final of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies had held the No. 2 spot for 2012 and No. 7 slot for all-time. Mendes has said previously that Nolan’s second Batman film, The Dark Knight, influenced the development of Skyfall.

The No. 1 2012 movie for ticket sales was Marvel’s The Avengers at $1.51 billion, which is also No. 3 all-time. All figures not adjusted for inflation.

Skyfall will be released on home video this month.

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.

Skyfall jumps to No. 8 all time after China ticket sales

Agent Eve is rather excited about Skyfall's box office.

Agent Eve is rather excited about Skyfall’s box office.

Skyfall jumped to No. 8 in all time worldwide ticket sales from No. 11 a week ago after the 007 film’s first week of ticket sales in China.

The 23rd James Bond film’s worldwide total rose to $1.078 billion as of 11:55 a.m. New York time, according to BOX OFFICE MOJO. That did not include an estimate for U.S.-Canada weekend ticket sales. so the figure will probably be revised later today

Skyfall generated $18 million in ticket sales in China within its first four days of release, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER ON JAN. 24.

As a result, Skyfall has passed Toy Story 3 and Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest on the all-time list by unadjusted worldwide ticket sales. It’s just below (again as of 11:55 a.m.) The Dark Knight Rises at No. 7 at $1.081 billion.

UPDATE (2:45 p.m.): Skyfall doesn’t show up on Box Office Mojo’s U.S.-CANADA CHART FOR THE JAN. 25-27 WEEKEND. It’s still at some theaters, but if Box Office Mojo is correct, the film didn’t generate $18,000 in U.S.-Canada ticket sales this weekend. In any event, Box Office Mojo didn’t revise Skyfall’s worldwide ticket sale figure after 11:55 a.m.

UPDATE II (Jan. 28): Box Office Mojo updated Skyfall’s worldwide total to $1.0785 billion after adding U.S.-Canada ticket sales over the weekend. The U.S. Canada total is now $302 million.

Skyfall sells almost $301 million in U.S.-Canada tickets

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Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film, is almost at the $301 million market in U.S.-Canada ticket sales, at an estimated $300.9 million as of Jan. 20, according to THE BOX OFFICE MOJO WEB SITE.

The 007 movie had an estimated $1.05 million for the Jan. 18-20 weekend, its 11th weekend in the U.S. Skyfall was shown on 507 U.S.-Canada screens, according to the Web site that tracks movie ticket sales. That’s down from 3,505 during its debut in the Nov. 9-11 weekend. Skyfall passed the $300 million mark on Jan. 18, according to Box Office Mojo data.

Skyfall’s latest estimate for worldwide ticket sales is $1.034 billion as of 3 p.m., Jan. 20, according to Box Office Mojo. That may not yet reflect ticket sales in China, where Skyfall premiered last week. You can CLICK HERE to view a story at the MI6 fan Web site describing the China premier. You can CLICK HERE to view an MI6 story about some of the trims made by Chinese censors.

Skyfall approaches $975 million in worldwide ticket sales

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Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond movie is almost at the $975 million mark in worldwide ticket sales after an estimated $4.7 million in U.S.-Canada weekend ticket sales.

Skyfall, which came out in the U.S. during the Nov. 9-11 weekend, finished No. 8 in U.S.-Canada ticket sales this weekend, according to the Box Office Mojo Web site. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was No. 1 at $36.7 million. Skyfall’s U.S. ticket sales now total an estimated $279.9 million with worldwide sales at $974.3 million.

Interestingly, Skyfall, during its second weekend, scored higher U.S. ticket sales comapred with The Hobbit did. Skyfall had $41.1 million for the Nov. 16-18 weekend. Skyfall’s U.S. opening weekend also had higher ticket sales than The Hobbit’s first U.S. weekend.

Skyfall weeks ago became the No. 1 007 film in both U.S.-Canada and worldwide ticket sales. The movie may end up with higher U.S. ticket sales that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (No. 10 for the weekend and $281.6 million total).

Adjusted for inflation, Skyfall has passed Goldfinger for No. 2 ($936 million, according to AFP-Relaxnews). Skyfall is close to passing Thunderball at an inflation-adjsuted $1.04 billion. Skyfall will open in China early next year.

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