James Bond always manages to race in, driving an Aston Martin, to save the day. This weekend we're sure to see 007 "kill" the box office.
The latest in the Bond franchise, "Quantum of Solace", from Sony and MGM could be bigger than any other Bond film. Despite the global economic downturn it's already a huge hit overseas.
The second Bond film to star Daniel Craig has already brought in $190 million in international markets through this Wednesday, breaking records in the U.K. and India. In ever market it's outperforming its predecessor "Casino Royale," one of the biggest films of 2006 with a nearly $600 million global gross.
Sony,whose stock is down 60 percent year-to-date, could use a boost. It's PlayStation 3 video game consoles are outsold by Nintendo's Wii. The weak euro and strong Yen are putting pressure on the company's numbers. And the pullback in consumer spending means Sony's electronics face a rough holiday season. And Bond is much more than a movie for Sony- it's also a platform to showcase its new Bravia TV sets, Sony Ericsson Phone, and VAIO laptops. And for partner on the film MGM, a big new bond movie means its catalog of old Bond films should sell better on home video.
There's also a new "Quantum of Solace" video game Activision Blizzard released last week, its first Bond game. Pacific Crest analyst Evan Wilson tells me he expects this video game to sell multiple million units this holiday season, which could contribute ten to fifteen percent of Activision's sales for the holidays, continuing to deliver revenues through next year. Friday Activision's stock traded down more than 12 percent at one point after an October video game sales report showed disappointing performance in the music genre. Activision publishes "Guitar Hero," so that struck a blow to the stock that has held up far better than the Dow this year, down only about 15 percent year-to-date.
When it comes to all these ancillary revenue streams—catalog DVDs for MGM or video games for Activision—the better the movie does, the better they all should do. This weekend's 007 is expected to bring in over $45 million at the U.S. box office, and some estimates are as high as $60 million. I'm scheduled to interview Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton on Monday—I'll be curious to see how the film delivers.
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