What would it take for Skyfall to be top financial 007 movie?

Many James Bond fans are jazzed about recent Skyfall trailers (a special Imax trailer and just-released U.S. and international trailers). So much so, some wonder whether Skyfall could be the No. 1 financial Bond film, even adjusted for inflation.

That got us to thinking: what would it take for Skyfall to be the uncontested 007 worldwide box office champion? Here’s a look:

Current No. 1 (unadjusted): Casino Royale (2006) at $596.4 million.

Current No. 1 (adjusted for inflation): Thunderball (1965) at $1.04 billion. (Unadjusted: $141.2 million)

In unadjusted figures, Skyfall’s ticket sales would have to be more than 70 percent higher than Casino Royale’s real world box office gross to exceed the adjusted $1.04 billion figure for Thunderball and become the undisputed 007 box-office champion, adjusted or unadjusted. Meanwhile, only 12 movies have had (unadjusted, or real life) worldwide ticket sales of $1 billion or more. You can see the list by CLICKING HERE.

None of this is to throw cold water on the subject. Rather, if the optimistic 007 fans are proven right, this gives you an idea of the scope of the accomplishment.

Meanwhile, if Skyfall’s worldwide ticket sales are only, say, a “mere” $800 million to $900 million (making Skyfall the top-grossing 007 film on an unadjusted basis), fans shouldn’t feel disappointed. We suspect executives at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Sony Corp. and Eon Productions would be positively giddy. Movies are much more expensive to make and market than the old days, but that’s still real money.

Quick reactions to the new Skyfall trailers

SEMI-SPOILERS. We’ve had a chance to look over the new international and U.S. trailers for Skyfall. While each is only about two-and-a-half minutes long, they’re the most revealing glimpse yet. We’ll call these observations semi-spoilers. Anybody who has read certain key writings by Ian Fleming won’t be surprised but many 007 film fans haven’t read the books.

“You were expecting somebody else?”

So if you don’t want to know *anything at all*, stop reading now. Without further ado:

More Ian Fleming content this time out: There have been signs for a while that director Sam Mendes and his writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan had tapped into Chapter 21 of Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel, You Only Live Twice. The chapter is Bond’s obituary as published in The Times of London, written by M.

First, pictures taken by a nature photographer surfaced in March of an outdoor Skyfall set, that included tombstones for Bond’s parents, whose names are referenced in the obituary in Fleming’s novel. Now, in the new trailers, we briefly see Judi Dench’s M writing 007’s obituary and are shown why the world thinks Bond is dead.

This raises the question whether Mendes & Co. are also dipping into Fleming’s final 007 novel, The Man With the Golden Gun. In that story, a brainwashed Bond, turns up in London and tries to kill M. We’re NOT predicting Skyfall goes that far, but in the trailers Bond surprises M after his “death.”

During the November Skyfall press conference, the principals said the new movie had no connections to an Ian Fleming stories (That occurs around the 15:00 mark if you check out the video embedded in that link). Then, in late April, Mendes & Co. emphasized how Skyfall was true to Fleming.

Evidently, there was some “misdirection” going on in November. We’re intrigued by the apparent renewed emphasis on Fleming material. So we’ll leave it at that.

Question No. 2: Could Javier Bardem’s Silva be a revamped version of Fleming’s Francisco Scaramanga? Bardem, with his blonde wig doesn’t have “hair reddish in a crew cut” like Scaramanga did, so he’s not a physical twin.

In 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun, very little of the novel was actually used. Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga was more sophisticated chap than his literary counterpart while retaining the basic back story (which Lee briefly recites in a scene with Roger Moore).

Still, could Bardem’s Silva be possibly channeling the literary Scaramanga? Skyfall could end up, in terms of amount of Fleming content, being like 2002’s Die Another Day. The first half of that movie was a de facto adaptation of Fleming’s 1955 Moonraker novel. Both Moonraker and You Only Live Twice were cases where the movie of the same name used little of the source material.

More homages in Skyfall to previous 007 films: We had the same reaction to seeing a bootleg copy of a Skyfall trailer last week (evidently a pirated copy of a special Imax trailer for Skyfall). In the new trailers, Q (Ben Whishaw) gives Bond (Daniel Craig) a new Walther that can only be fired by 007 and nobody else. Desmond Llewelyn provided Timothy Dalton’s Bond a gun with similar technology in Licence to Kill.

We’re hoping Skyfall doesn’t go too far overboard with the homages. Die Another Day, the 40th anniversary Bond film, did so and it turned into a game of “Where’s Waldo?” that got distracting. In the new trailers, there’s a shot of a helicopter turning that looks much like a similar shot in Die Another Day’s pre-credit sequence. *IF* that’s an intended homage (and not a coincidence), we’re not sure you have to go that far.