The world is not enough<br />
That's the likelihood with this weekend's lone domestic opener, the James Bond film "Quantum of Solace" from Sony and MGM, which registered $180 million internationally by Tuesday and was ringing up foreign coin at a daily clip of $10 million this week. The Daniel Craig starrer has been playing — oh has it been playing — in dozens of countries worldwide before its domestic debut in a major reversal of the industry norm.
Sony is handling physical distribution of "Solace" worldwide, but MGM was a 50-50 participant in its $200 million production costs. So the partners crafted the unusual global strategy jointly, expanding on the franchise's traditional U.K.-first rollout to unspool the 22nd Bond film in an unprecedented 60 foreign territories before its Friday release in the U.S. and Canada.
The domestic rollout includes showtimes at midnight tonight in more than 1,600 locations.
"The Bond movies belong to the world," Sony domestic distribution president Rory Bruer said. "They're popular around the world, so getting the dates right — whether domestic or elsewhere — was particularly important."
Initially, "Solace" was to bow Friday in the U.S. and Canada, with only the U.K. and a handful of markets getting the film first. But when Warner Bros. bounced "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" from November to July, executives at Sony and MGM decided to hold back the Bond film one week domestically to open "Solace" closer to the lucrative Thanksgiving period.
Bruer said the film's established international success should help boost must-see interest among domestic moviegoers.
"I certainly believe the buzz is out there, with regard to what it's doing throughout the world," he said. "The world is a much smaller place, and that resonates back to the U.S. as well."
"Solace" has yet to unspool in several overseas markets and won't travel to Japan until January. But its early bow in China and other piracy-prone territories has helped keep unauthorized copies of "Solace" from circulating on the Internet or elsewhere, Bruer said.
"All that has shown up is an unwatchable version on the Internet of really, really poor quality," Bruer said.