Welcome to the Billionaire’s Club, Mr. Bond.

Skyfall, the latest installment in the long-running cinematic spy franchise, has become the 14th film to cross the $1 billion mark globally. Director Sam Mendes’ contributions to the classic series ranks as the highest-grossing Bond thriller of all time, as noted by Deadline. It has earned an estimated $289.6M domestically, and a whopping $710.6M overseas. It is the first movie to earn more than 100 million pounds in Great Britain. And as the site points out, the sequel shows no signs of slowing down, and has yet to open in China … obviously, a massive market filled with ticket purchasers.

This is a monumental mark, yet hardly an unprecedented mark. Two other films released in 2012 managed to race past $1 billion before Skyfall: Joss Whedon’s The Avengers ($1.5B) and Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises ($1.1B). Still, it is a significant achievement for a Bond film, which now has 23 chapters in its library and has proven that audiences will continue to flock to theaters in support of a 007 adventure if a tremendous director guides a likeable agent (in this case, Daniel Craig) through a riveting story line.

Where does Bond go from here? We reported that Skyfall screenwriter John Logan already is hard at work on Bond 24, with studios hoping to get it into theaters by the end of 2014. It’s my hope that Mendes will continue the work that he started here. I know that the Bond series prides itself on switching directors and bringing in fresh voices, but Mendes proved he understands the fabric of this franchise, and he works very well with Craig. We’ll see if Bond can continue this hot streak … or if a Quantum of Solace is waiting around the corner.

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