James Bond’s four-year absence from the silver screen has ratcheted expectations up to a level that could have made “Skyfall” a disappointment of “Die Another Day” proportions. Instead the world’s favorite spy has returned and set a new record for the Bond franchise, now in its 23rd installment.
Entertainment Weekly reported Sunday that “Skyfall” is already the most successful Bond movie ever, grossing $87.8 million in its first three days. In part because of its pre-Thanksgiving release, “Skyfall” is expected to break $200 million in revenue. The previous Bond film, “Quantum of Solace,” took home $67.5 million in 2008.
The opening weekend for “Skyfall” ranks seventh among November releases, behind four “Harry Potter” titles and two releases in the “Twilight” saga. It averaged $25,050 per theater, an impressive sum and one MGM studios will surely be pleased with after spending $200 million to make the film.
The reviews were just as glowing, especially for Bond star Daniel Craig. Both critics and fans gave the movie a 91 percent approval on Rotten Tomatoes, boasting an average 4.4 out of five stars. Comparatively, “Lincoln” sat at a 91 percent rating while the recent action film “Looper” came in at 88 percent.
The overwhelming success of “Skyfall,” according to Entertainment Weekly, is a perfect storm of sorts. It was released at a time when the public has time off work to see movies, the culmination of a frantic marketing campaign and the continued relevance of stars Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem, who have graced the cover of magazines for months.
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Director Sam Mendes is also being credited with successfully revamping the franchise, which dates back to "Dr. No" 50 years ago. Mendes consulted Bond author Ian Fleming’s notes on the secret agent’s later years, when he plunges into a spiral of “lassitude, boredom [and] depression” after ruminating on all the killing throughout his career, according to Slate.
Despite this smash hit, there are rumors that Craig could be stepping away from the role after completing just three movies of the five he signed on for. Craig has earned rave reviews since he first came on in 2006's "Casino Royale," but Slate speculated his "Skyfall" performance could be his last, with Idris Elba's name being touted for future installments.