Weekend Wrap-Up

Quantum of Box Office for Bond

By John Hamann

November 16, 2008

I'm sorry. I have trouble taking such a small person seriously.

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Reviews were not as kind to Bond this time out as they were for Casino Royale. Quantum of Solace lapped up 179 reviews, and 116 of those were positive, leaving this Bond with a barely fresh rating of 66%. Some critics thought director Marc Forster was doing a Jason Bourne impression, and some longed for the days of Connery and martinis. The ones that liked it praised the action. The bigger downside comes with what RottenTomatoes calls the "nation's top critics". They weren't kind to Bond, as this subset thought this Bond only 35% fresh, with only 13 positives out of a possible 37. Does this mean that Quantum of Solace won't be the first Bond to gross more than $200 million in North America? Forget about it. With Thanksgiving and even Christmas in play for Quantum of Solace, $250 million or more should be attainable stateside. With a production cost rumoured to be more than $200 million, big grosses on the domestic front are necessary, but unlike the usual Hollywood fare, the biggest gross won't come from North America.

Finishing second is Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, which follows last weekend's impressive breakout with a more down to earth sophomore frame. The Paramount distributed, DreamWorks animated feature earned $36.1 million, off 43% from its $63.1 million debut last weekend. The original Madagascar was off 40.5% in its second frame, so this drop isn't that far off the original, despite being a sequel. Often, the "sequel effect" will have audiences charging out for a film in the first weekend, and then abandoning it in the second. Madagascar passed the $100 million mark on Saturday, its eighth day of release, and joins other kid-friendly releases like The Incredibles and How the Grinch Stole Christmas as eight-day $100 million earners. Madagascar 2 cost Paramount $160 million to make, and has a total of $118 million after two weekends . Next weekend we will see how this one fares with some competition from Disney's Bolt and to a lesser extent, Twilight.


Last weekend's surprising success of Role Models left me wondering if it was a one-weekend surprise or if it would hold up following its opening weekend. After a $19.2 million debut last weekend, I was expecting a second weekend very close to $10 million (or below). Therefore, I am somewhat surprised to see a second weekend gross of $11.7 million. The Paul Rudd/Seann William Scott comedy dropped a fair 39% this weekend, but shows a film like this one can have back to back $10 million plus weekends. Role Models proves to be excellent counter-programming against big films like Quantum of Solace, as that massive debut could have crushed everything in the top ten except Madagascar 2 (which could have crushed itself). After two weekends, Role Models has a gross of $38.1 million against a budget of only $28 million, which has to leave Universal feeling pretty good, especially with the lucrative Thanksgiving weekend coming in a couple of weeks.

With strong draws from the top three films, the rest of the top ten doesn't look so hot. Fourth goes to High School Musical 3: Senior Year, the "could've been a lot bigger" effort from Disney. Considering Twilight's debut next weekend, Disney should have been pushing for one more big weekend - $10 million plus - but are left with a weekend gross of $5.9 million, due mostly to poor scheduling from Disney executives. HSM3 drops 36% in its fourth frame, and is looking now like it won't make it to $100 million despite a $42 million opening frame. The current total for the former phenomenon has reached $84.4 million.

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