Skyfall’s U.S. box office: how high is up?

UPDATE (Nov. 8): The Los Angeles Times in a story you read BY CLICKING HERE people who’ve seen pre-release audience surveys as estimating Skyfall’s opening weekend in the U.S. will generate at least $75 million in ticket sales. A Sony spokesman (who isn’t identified) says the studio’s estimate is $65 million to $70 million.

ORIGINAL NOV. 5 POST: Skyfall is almost halfway to being the top-grossing James Bond movie unadjusted for inflation. The question now is how high can the movie go in the U.S. market, where it opens this week.

Daniel Craig in a Skyfall publicity sill


The 23rd James Bond movie recorded $287 million in international ticket sales through Oct. 4 and $289 million in updated figures as of Oct. 5 on Box Office Mojo. It’s projected that Skyfall will also hit a U.S. record, again unadjusted for inflation. The highest U.S. sales for the 007 series was Quantum of Solace’s $168.4 million mark, which included a $67.5 million opening weekend. Casino Royale is 2006 is the top-grossing film in the series at $596.4 million.

Here’s a list of four estimates we’ve come across for Skyfall:

BOXOFFICE.COM: $230 million total U.S.; $85 million opening weekend

Exhibitors Relations, cited in THE WRAP entertainment news Web site: $230 million total U.S., more than $70 million opening weekend.

DEADLINE ENTERTAINMENT NEW WEB SITE: $215 million total U.S., described as a “guesstimate.”

BOX OFFICE MOJO: $185 million total U.S.

Skyfall is the only major movie debuting in wide release this weekend in the U.S. (A Steven Spielberg-directed biography of Abraham Lincoln will be in limited release before its general release on Nov. 16.) Also, on Nov. 16, another movie opens that could take a lot of the U.S. box office oxygen, as described by The Wrap:

(Skyfall’s) first week in the U.S. will be crucial, as the following weekend will see the debut of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2.” Summit’s finale of the “Twilight” series has topped the pre-sales charts since tickets became available online more than a month ago, and it is projected to open in the $150 million range.

While the foreign bows weren’t intentionally set up to boost the U.S. release, Sony knew they could help. “The idea was to build worldwide momentum out of the U.K. and Western Europe,” Sony spokesman Steve Elzer told TheWrap. “We employed a similar pattern on ‘Quantum of Solace.’”

In 2008, Quantum of Solace’s ticket sales fell 60 percent because of the debut of the first Twilight movie. Sony refers to the Sony Pictures unit of Sony Corp., which is releasing Skyfall and co-financed it with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Meanwhile, many Bond fans would like to see Skyfall crash beyond the $600 million worldwide ticket sale mark and reach $1 billion. That would put the movie in the conversation as all-time 007 champ even adjusted for inflation (Thunderball is the No. 1 film on an inflation-adjusted basis). It would also put it in the same box-office class as movies such as The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.

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