Skyfall Breaks Records: Most Popular Bond Ever?

Sony-MGM's 23rd James Bond film, “Skyfall,” scored the 50-year-old franchise's biggest domestic opening with an estimated $90 million (including Thursday's limited large-format preview). The movie grossed in the U.S. $87.8 million in three days.

After three weekends of flying high overseas, “Skyfall” logged another massive sesh internationally, with an estimated $89 million. Overseas cumulative is $428.6 million. The picture's worldwide tally stands at $518.6 million.

“Everything with this film — not just here, but around the world — came together so beautifully,” Sony distributionhead Rory Bruer said. “It's just a spectacular result.”

“Skyfall” delivered a needed shot of adrenaline to the domestic Box Office, with totals up over the comparable weekend last year by nearly 30%.

“Skyfall,” which drew $13.1 million from Imax (a commanding 15% of domestic total), opened the U.S. significantly higher than previous Bond films starring Daniel Craig: “Casino Royale” introduced him to more than $40 million in 2006, while followup “Quantum of Solace” earned $67.5 million in its 2008 opening weekend. Neither had Imax.

The opening success of adult-targeted films such as “Skyfall” and “Lincoln” suppressed per-screen averages for new and existing specialty fare.

Two-thirds of “Skyfall” auds were 25 and over, while “Lincoln” skewed 67% over 35. The heavy adult turnout isn't surprising for either film, though “Skyfall” drew a significantly larger over-25 crowd than its 2008 predecessor “Quantum of Solace,” at 58%. “Skyfall's” performance was particularly impressive considering that adults tend to shy away from opening weekend.

Still, Imax prexy Greg Foster added that younger auds were drawn to the Bond pic's large-format version.

“There's absolutely no doubt that the Imax-incorporated aspect ratio provided a cool way to see the movie,” Foster said. “But this film and its marketing campaign by Sony transcended generations.”

As a way to increase word of mouth among fanboys, Sony partnered with Imax and other large-format venues to preview “Skyfall” on Thursday, yielding $2.2 million. Pic earned $2.4 million from midnights that were added to Friday's $31.7 million gross.

Stateside prospects look solid for “Skyfall,” which received an overall A CinemaScore rating. The $200 million film's adult male core should remain relatively untouched next weekend, as Summit's “Twilight” finale, “Breaking Dawn — Part 2,” looks to ignite its inevitable tween female craze at the B.O.

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