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The road to the screen for the new James Bond movie, Spectre, has been a difficult and expensive one. The budget problems that the film had were no secret and with the film on the verge of release it’s time for the chickens to come home to roost. The good news is that the movie can break even if it does a little more than half the business of its predecessor. The bad news is that since Skyfall was one of the highest grossing films ever, that’s not going to be easy to do.
The magic number according to analysts is $650 million. That’s the break-even point for Spectre, whose final production budget came it at something in the neighborhood of $250 million. According to Variety, the reason the figure is so high is that the film’s backers have to split the film’s revenue with exhibitors. That combined with the additional $100 million being spent to market the film means it needs to bring in some major numbers just to pay for itself. Skyfall broke the $1 billion mark, but it’s the only James Bond movie to ever do that.
Only 88 films have broken the $650 million dollar, in fact, so for Spectre to do that, it is an uphill climb to say the least. The success of Skyfall will likely be something of a boost, as a lot of people saw the last Bond movie and may be more inclined to see the new one. Analysts are predicting an $80 million opening weekend which, if that’s what happens, would only put the movie slightly behind what Skyfall managed, and would put the film in a strong position to do what it need to do.
The domestic box office will only tell a fraction of the tale, however. SkyFall’s domestic numbers were only $300 million of its total, meaning that it will be the overseas numbers, and likely the new powerhouse that is China, that will tell the tale. The movie opens there next week and it is expected to dwarf the $60 million that Skyfall did there. China’s powerhouse box office status has emerged since the last Bond movie was released, and the nation’s moviegoers have turned several western films that were flops in the U.S. into hits there. If both nations agree that Spectre is worthwhile, then success is still a possibility.
Finally, don’t forget James Bond’s home country. The film is already in theaters, and although it’s been there for barely more than a week, it’s already the fourth highest grossing movie of the year in the UK with the biggest opening ever. Perhaps there’s nothing James Bond can’t do after all.