'Skyfall' spies the record as it makes more than 'Avatar'

Thursday 06 December 2012 11:00

Some dared to call it the best James Bond film yet. Now Skyfall has become the highest-grossing film in history at the UK box office, surpassing James Cameron's 3D epic Avatar.

Daniel Craig's third Bond adventure surpassed Avatar's record of just over £94m – which it took 11 months to accumulate in 2009 – in just 40 days. It has now taken a total of £94,277,612.

With the 23rd film in the official Bond series being released only in conventional 2D form – meaning ticket prices are usually cheaper than 3D – it also appears that more people have seen the Sam Mendes-directed spy thriller than Cameron's sci-fi landmark. Avatar took 90 per cent of its box office revenues from 3D and IMAX screenings.

"Potentially more eyeballs might have seen the film because it's not a 3D film," said a spokesperson for the British Film Institute (BFI). "It absolutely has been capturing people's imagination."

But with inflation meaning that cinema revenues naturally increase as the years go by due to ever-increasing ticket prices, some film critics argue that such records are not as ground-breaking as they might seem.

In 2001 the average cinema ticket price was £4.14, compared to £6.06 in 2011, according to the Cinema Exhibitors' Association. The average cost of a 3D ticket last year was £7.83.

So Skyfall still needs to take several more millions before it can definitively be called the most successful movie in British cinema-going history; a position Avatar still holds (just) with £98.2m as of 2010/11.

'Skyfall' producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said they were "overwhelmed with gratitude to the cinema-going audiences in the UK"

UK box office records were first smashed in 2001 with Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone which marked the beginning of the wildly successful wizard franchise, taking £63.9m, when average ticket prices were £4.14. The box office record was beaten by the musical Mamma Mia in 2008 which took £69.2m at the box office. By then average ticket prices had risen to £5.20. A year later James Cameron's 3D blockbuster, Avatar, broke all records when it took £93.4m at the UK box office in 2009. But average ticket prices had also increased again to £5.44. Skyfall opened in 587 cinemas and grossed £93.8m this year. But average ticket prices were also likely to be higher than 2011's average of £6.06.

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