“Quantum of Solace” opened to a $67.5 million weekend, which was about what the filmmakers expected: It arrived without competition and came on the heels of one of the best-liked and best-reviewed entries in the canon. But it's interesting to consider what such numbers mean these days.
“Casino Royale,” its predecessor, was the highest-grossing Bond film of all time in America, earning $167 million. Yet “Royale” sold fewer than 26 million tickets domestically and ranks ninth in admissions among 21 Bonds.
Though “Royale” and the four Pierce Brosnan movies all broke $100 million in stateside grosses – and no Bond film had done that before – not one of those pictures sold 30 million tickets or cracked the top four on the James Bond admissions list.
Those spots all belong to Sean Connery: “Thunderball,” “Goldfinger,” “You Only Live Twice” and “From Russia With Love.” In fact, “Thunderball” sold a jaw-dropping 63,366,337 tickets in America, says Boxoffice magazine.
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At an average price of about $6 a ticket today, “Solace” would have to gross $380 million in North America to surpass this 33-year-old champ in total tickets. When you factor for inflation, “Solace” would still be third behind “Thunderball” ($453 million in adjusted 2008 dollars) and “Goldfinger” ($396 million), both of which came out when the average ticket cost about a buck.
Figures don't lie; that's true. But you do have to know what they mean.