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Blond Bond fires up India

india Updated: Nov 23, 2006 13:51 IST
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THE DICE is cast. Casino Royale has mopped up a biggest fortune in its initial gambit on the Indian box office roulette. The famed Hollywood sequel, which features the 21st century Bond, Daniel Craig, has got the biggest ever opening for any foreign film in India, by grossing a huge Rs 14.94 crore in first three days since the premiere on November 17.

Casino Royale has surpassed Spider Man-2’s Rs 7.8 crore at the box-office by a whopping 92 per cent. The film, based on Ian Fleming’s novel featuring the adventures of the fictional British secret service agent James Bond, is the longest running sequel from the Hollywood stable.

It is after four years that it has once again become the dominant domestic and overseas attraction. With British actor Daniel Craig succeeding Pierce Brosnan as British secret service agent 007, the film, released by Sony Pictures Releasing India (SPRI), opened across 452 screens on 427 prints, setting new benchmarks for foreign films in India.

 
Daniel Craig in a still from Casino Royale. 

The film’s earnings must be seen in today’s context of a larger number of exhibition platforms, including multiplexes, than were available more than two years ago when

SpiderMan 2

was released. Ticket prices too have risen in leaps and bounds since, and the Bollywood practice of carpet-bombing with a large number of prints to bring in audiences in the first 2-3 weeks has been picked up by the Hollywood distribution companies too.

Uday Singh, Managing Director, SPRI, said: “Casino Royale’s unprecedented opening is the largest for a foreign film in India. Backed by a 360-degree marketing campaign, synergy partnerships from the Sony Group Companies and our brand alliances, we took this franchise to a wider audience base. Critical acclaim from the media further helped in building the buzz.”

In terms of marketing efforts, three Sony companies—Pix, Sony Electronics and Sony Pictures Releasing—collaborated in a crosspromotional activity for the Indian market. The campaign was centred round the ‘Gear up Like Bond’ contest.

As per box office data, Casino Royale had the largest opening in India on November 17 when it grossed Rs 4.74 crore. The highest single day collection for the film was on Sunday November 19 at Rs 5.2 crore. In terms of number of screens and prints, the Bond film was ahead of Spider Man 2, which was shown at 327 screens with 304 prints.

The film is reigning globally too. Internationally (excluding , US and Canada, which are referred to as the Domestic Market) Casino Royale opened on 3,063 screens across 27 markets, during the weekend Nov 17–Nov 19, grossing an estimated $42.2 million.

This performance made it the number one overseas attraction for the weekend. In the UK, it was the biggest Bond opening ever, grossing 46 per cent more than the last title Die Another Day.

A three-day-weekend gross of about $22 million makes it the second-best opening ever for Hollywood in the UK.

In the third spot for the frame is Warner Bros. International’s The Departed,  which drew an estimated $6.9 million from 2,337 screens in 37 markets, raising its international total to $69.3 million. Fox’s The Devil Wears Prada garnered an estimated $6.2 million from 3,000 screens in 39 markets for an international total of $172.3 million.

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