The latest James Bond film, Skyfall, is on course to be the series' highest-grossing film so far after breaking the UK seven-day box-office record and posting $287m (£180m) in its first 10 days across the globe.
The figures are all the more remarkable for Sam Mendes's film because the 23rd Bond adventure has not yet opened in the US, the world's largest market, where it is due to arrive on 8 November. Nevertheless, Daniel Craig's third turn as 007 is already almost halfway to the $594m total posted by the British actor's debut, Casino Royale, in 2006 – the previous highest Bond gross.
Skyfall had made £37.2m in the UK in its first seven days – by Friday – to overtake previous record holder Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Its domestic haul is thus far so impressive that the film is already 2012's third highest grossing movie behind The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers. It may now be on course to break the record for the highest-grossing film in UK cinemas of all time, currently held by Avatar with £93.5m.
Skyfall is well ahead of the figures posted by previous Craig instalments Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace in almost all countries where it has been released, and is currently No 1 in Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Germany. In the latter two countries, it made the year's biggest debuts at the weekend. Mendes's film, which stars Daniel Craig opposite villain Javier Bardem, Judi Dench as "M" and newcomers Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw, had already opened at No 1 in another 24 overseas markets last weekend.
The new film, which sees 007 crisscrossing the globe as MI6 and M come under threat from a cyberterrorist plot, is one of the best-reviewed Bond films since the Sean Connery era. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian praised Mendes's ability to pull off "a hugely enjoyable action spectacular" in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the series, which began in 1962 with Dr No.
"From the opening in Istanbul to the final siege shootout in the Scottish Highlands, this film is a supremely enjoyable and even sentimental spectacle, giving us an attractively human (though never humane) Bond," he wrote. "Despite the title, he is a hero who just keeps on defying gravity."
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image: © Dave McLear