Image from 'Quantum of Solace'
The new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, opened very strongly at the U.S. box office, bringing a healthy $70.4 million in its first weekend.

Quantum of Solace, the first James Bond movie to serve as a direct sequel to its predecessor (Casino Royale), brought in nearly $30 million more in its first weekend in general release than the immediately previous installment in the series and $23 million more than the previous Bond film record-holder, Die Another Day.

Even accounting for ticket-price inflation, Quantum of Solace was a big success, selling an estimated 9.8 million tickets, much more than the 8.1 million estimated as having been sold for the first weekend of Die Another Day.

Clearly the audiences liked the move toward American action-film conventions in Casino Royale and were looking for more of the same. The film delivers on that promise, as noted in this publication last weekend.

Still going strong was the cheery animated comedy Madagascar: Escape to Africa, bringing in another $36.1 million, raising its ten-day total to $118 million.

Next week brings three highly anticipated films—Twilight, based on the popular vampire novel series by Stepanie Meyers; the animated comedy Bolt, and the Reese Witherspoon-Vince Vaughn holiday comedy Four Christmases—likely to push box office receipts up even further and pose strong challenges to Quantum of Solace.

However, good audience reaction to the latter should keep the crowds lining up despite the competition. Quantum of Solace is still going strong in the UK, retaining its number 1 spot at the British box office in its third weekend.