Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bond at the Box Office - Why 'Skyfall' is Set to Make History

(Guest writer EVE PEARCE takes a look at the latest 007 epic)

Daniel Craig's third outing as James Bond in the upcoming film 'Skyfall' looks set to be his most successful yet. In fact, the film, which is the twenty-third film in Eon Productions' Bond series, has been tipped to be the most successful in the franchise's long history, with some experts predicting the film will amass in excess of $1 billion at the box office.

Initial critical reception to 'Skyfall' has been hugely positive, with most reviewers having been blown away by both the narrative and the performances of Craig and his co-stars. Some critics have even started discussing possible Oscar nominations. However, for a film to be a commercial success, it requires more than positive reviews and strong on-screen performances. So why have the stars seemingly aligned to guarantee that 'Skyfall' will draw huge crowds of cinema goers?

Long Delays and Bond's 50th Anniversary

Work on 'Skyfall' was suspended in 2010, as the film's studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, encountered huge financial difficulties. Although the original screenwriter, Peter Morgan, departed, the studio was eventually saved and, in a strange way, the delay in production of the film may have actually played into the studio's hands.

The period of time between 'Skyfall' and Bond's last outing, 2008's 'Quantum of Solace,' is the longest delay between two films in the franchise with the same actor playing the title role. Unintentionally, the delay has only added to the anticipation surrounding the movie and allowed time for those who were initially disappointed in 'Quantum of Solace' to rebuild their faith in the new direction the franchise has taken in a post-Bourne movie landscape.

Additionally, the delay in production of 'Skyfall' has handily allowed it to coincide with an important landmark in Bond history, the 50th anniversary of the release of 'Dr. No,' the first film in the Bond series. As a result, the film's promotional campaign has been aided by the year long celebrations that surround the achievement.

The anniversary has ensured that, fifty years on from Sean Connery's debut, 007 is still very much on people's minds and the appetite for a new addition to the Bond legacy is insatiable.

The Adele Factor

The theme song which accompanies Bond films has long been a crucial aspect of promoting the movies and promotion of 'Skyfall' has been no different. The role that worldwide superstar Adele has played in drawing attention to the film should not be overlooked.

Soundtracks have become increasingly important in the music industry, but the James Bond films are perhaps unique in that both film and music are often thought of and judged in tandem. Paul McCartney's theme for 'Live and Let Die,' recently voted the UK's favourite Bond track, is synonymous with the film's title; to this day, when the film is mentioned, many people instantly think of the accompanying song. The same applies to other films in the series, such as 'GoldenEye' and 'A View to a Kill.' Adele's critically acclaimed track, 'Skyfall' also fits this description.

Upon release, the track instantly garnered flattering comparisons to Shirley Bassey, who provided the themes for 'Goldfinger' and 'Diamonds are Forever.' Adele has been able to maintain the recent string of songs by credible musicians like Jack White and Chris Cornell, while also capturing mainstream attention, like Madonna and Tina Turner's efforts.

IMAX and New Inspirations

'Quantum of Solace' was perhaps overshadowed by 2008's biggest box office smash, 'The Dark Knight' and, as fate would have it, 'Skyfall' is set to be released in the wake of Christopher Nolan's successful follow-up, 'The Dark Knight Rises.'

This time around, Sam Mendes, the acclaimed director of 'Skyfall' has admitted that Christopher Nolan's recent Batman films served as "direct inspiration" for his darker take on the spy genre, calling the films "game changers." By adopting elements of Nolan's vision into the Bond franchise, Mendes is hoping to draw in the same demographic who bought tickets in their millions to see the Batman films.

Finally, this will be the first James Bond movie to be released in IMAX format, which could generate additional revenue from punters who wish to see Bond in a way they have never seen him before.

Although 'Skyfall,' should it match box office expectations, will become the first James Bond film to draw $1 billion, it may have another figure in its crosshair: $1,014,941,117.

That figure is the total grossed by 1965's Bond classic, 'Thunderball,' when its original gross total is adjusted to account for inflation, using the Consumer Price Index. If that total is surpassed, 'Skyfall' will officially become the most successful James Bond film of all time, by anyone's criteria.