Box Office News

Quantum of Solace breaks UK box office record


The latest Bond film Quantum of Solace has made box office history on its opening day in the UK, taking amassive £4.94m and making it the biggest Friday opening of all time.

This shatters the previous record held by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which took £4.025m back in 2005.

The latest installment from the longest running franchise in film history, has also beaten the opening day figure for the last Bond movie, Casino Royale, which took £2.9m on its opening day.

The new film opened in 542 cinemas in the UK and Ireland on yesterday (Friday 31st October) and will open in the US on November 14th.

UPDATE: 03/11/08: The film has now earned a massive £15.4million over it’s first three days, making it the biggest weekend opening of all time at the UK box office.

This beats the previous weekend record held by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which took £14.93million.

According to Variety the new Bond film captured a ‘jaw-dropping 70% of the market’.

> Quantum of Solace at the IMDb 
> Box Office Mojo compares the grosses of different Bond films

Cinema Thoughts

First thoughts on Quantum of Solace

The second James Bond film with Daniel Craig as the famous British secret agent continues the refreshingly serious tone of Casino Royale but whether it will cause the same excitement and buzz as the last film remains to be seen.

It would be fair to say anticipation for Quantum of Solace is running incredibly high after the successful rebooting of the franchise in 2006 – not only did Craig silence a lot of sceptics but the raw, stripped down approach really worked, making it the biggest grossing Bond ever.

Beofre the screening I went to in London tonight the head of Sony Pictures UK told the audience that this was the first screening anywhere in the world, so everyone was fairly excited at what was in store.

Unusually for the franchise, the plot here takes off immediately after the events of the last movie, as 007 is searching for the man who fatally betrayed his lover Vesper Lynd.

After an opening sequence in Italy, the trail leads him to Haiti – the back to Italy – and eventually to Bolivia where he encounters the mysterious Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a key player in the Quantum organisation that blackmailed Vesper and is now involved in destabilising regimes in Central America.

Also involved in Greene’s web of intrigue is Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a woman who – like Bond – has personal issues and scores to settle.

The most immediately striking aspect of the film is the breakneck pace of the first 40 minutes or so, as it opens with pre-credits car chase and before things even settle down Bond is pursuing people on the rooftops of Siena before jetting off around the world.

Like Casino Royale the action and stunts are well done, but I do wonder if Marc Forster was quite the director to bring these sequences fully to life.

Whilst engaging, the lensing and editing don’t quite get the adrenaline pumping like the more recent Bourne or Batman movies.

That said, Forster is on much surer ground with the characters and their emotional involvement with one another.

The interplay between Bond and the characters closest to him such as M (Judi Dench), René Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) and Camille are all handled with a nice amount of humour and genuine feeling – another aspect that marks this Bond era out from the past.

In fact I would have traded some of the action for more character-based material as it is where the director seems more comfortable.

Whilst some of the stunt work is technically impressive, it is the dialogue and interplay between the leads that is more satisfying, especially with actors like Craig and Dench.

Whilst Almaric is a great actor (he was phenomenal in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly last year) his villain here feels a little underwritten – perhaps because he isn’t the true number 1 of the organisation?

Another aspect of the film which will get people talking is the more contemporary, even European, attitude on display here – which I suspect is the influence of screenwriter Paul Haggis.

Whilst it isn’t as despairing as his last film In the Valley of Elah, the underlying politics of the story are clearly suspicious of the CIA – instead of the traditional Cold War allies we have a much more amoral organisation who can’t be fully trusted.

In fact trust is a big theme of the film as the Quantum organisation have, as one character puts it, ‘people everywhere’.

Even MI6 isn’t immune to a world full of deception and mistrust and in some ways this atmosphere is more effective than a lot of the action set pieces.

A lot of people are going to wonder how this shapes up to the last film and in a nutshell I would say that it continues the good work of that film whilst having a more stylised visual approach.

The locations – especially in Italy and Bolivia – are great to look at and some of the sets even seem to be referencing those Ken Adam constructed in an earlier Bond era.

I think some audiences might miss the gadgets and old-school appeal of the earlier Connery and Moore films but I think that the filmmakers have wisely preserved the cool, stripped down approach of Casino Royale.

It will have a massive opening and will no doubt satisfy Bond fans but whether it will surprise me if it does as well as Casino Royale.

This feels very much like the second film of a trilogy with the wider story still to be concluded.

> Quantum of Solace at the IMDb
More details about the plot and photos from the press conference launch at Pinewood
> Final trailer of the film
> Peter Bradshaw review at The Guardian
> James Christopher review at The Times
> BBC News review
> Telegraph review
> Sky News report on the screening last night

[All images © 2008 Danjaq, LLC, United Artists Corporation, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved]

Festivals London Film Festival

LFF 2008: Day 3

BFI Southbank and IMAX

One of the nice things about the London Film Festival is that a lot of filmmakers are in town and today I spoke to Toa Fraser, who is the director of Dean Spanley, which screened tonight at the Odeon West End.

Set at the turn of the twentieth century and based on the novel by Baron Dunsany, it deals with a misanthropic old man (Peter O’Toole) who unexpectedly re-lives happy and painful memories thanks to the revels of a drunken curate (Sam Neill).

I’ll put the interview with Toa up on the site in the next 48 hours.

In the evening I saw the new Bond film Quantum of Solace, which aside from being one of the biggest films of the year is also having it’s first public showing as part of the festival on Wednesday 29th.

It might seem strange for such a commercial film to be part of a festival that showcases a diverse selection of films but from the organisers point of view it is a bit of a no-brainer.

Not only will the spotlight on a Bond world premiere help illuminate other parts of the festival, but the fact that 007 (like Harry Potter) is one of the few British cinema icons that connect to audiences on a global level.

The head of Sony Pictures UK (who are distributing the movie here) said before the film began that it was the first time anyone had seen it, so anticipation was high.

In many ways it delivered the goods with Daniel Craig’s more serious Bond working as well as it did in Casino Royale.

Although it looks good and will no doubt do great business at the box office, I do having a nagging doubt as to whether Marc Forster was the right director for this kind of material.

What’s odd about the film is that there seems to be more action than usual (even for a Bond film) but it’s a bit rushed and a lot of the set pieces lack the finesse and ingenuity of more contemporary rivals like The Bourne Ultimatum or The Dark Knight.

It is the character based sequences that actually work better, with the relationships between Bond, M (Judi Dench), Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) and Camille (Olga Kurylenko) portrayed with the kind of wit and subtley that might surprise some audiences.

Another aspect to the film that might attract some column inches is the rather dark – if entirely plausible – view of the United States as a cynical and amoral superpower. Even the British don’t escape unscathed with one scene appearing to hint at the Blairite acquiescence to the Bush administration in the war on terror.

For more thoughts on the film check out my post here.

Quantum of Solace screens at the festival next week before opening everywhere on October 31st.

Dean Spanley opens in the UK on December 12th

> Quantum of Solace and Dean Spanley at the LFF site
> My first thoughts on Quatum of Solace
> Toa Fraser at the IMDb


Final Trailer: Quantum of Solace

The final theatrical trailer for the new Bond movie Quantum of Solace.

(If this video doesn’t work try the HD trailer at Yahoo)

It is released in the UK on Friday 31st October


> Official site for James Bond
> Quantum of Solace at the IMDb
> More details about the plot and photos from the press conference launch at Pinewood

Behind The Scenes

Quantum of Solace – Behind the scenes featurette

A behind the scenes featurette for the new Bond film Quantum of Solace.

It is released later this year on October 31st

> Official site for James Bond
> Quantum of Solace at the IMDb
> More details about the plot and photos from the press conference launch at Pinewood