Daniel Craig Meets Her Majesty: Leaving Her Shaken And Stirred
Archie Thomas of Variety sets the scene at the star studded event and talks expectations:
..."Casino Royale" [debuted] in London Tuesday, with producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson on hand to welcome British head of state Queen Elizabeth II.
Also standing in line were Sony chief Howard Stringer, Sony Pictures toppers Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton, Columbia marketing and distribution chairman Jeff Blake and MGM chairman Harry Sloan.
Other guests included Paris Hilton, Elton John, Shirley Bassey (singer of some of the best Bond theme songs), Sting, Lindsay Lohan, Richard Attenborough and Richard Branson.
[Stars] Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen and Judi Dench also attended.
Driven by strong reviews and buoyant industry expectations, the pic has been the talk of the town all week and the premiere did not disappoint.
Some 4,200 guests packed out four theaters in Leicester Square, which simultaneously unveiled the gritty actioner. Excited attendees clapped repeatedly during the film and whooped and cheered as the end credits rolled.
"Casino Royale" bows [today] in the U.K. and bookers are very upbeat about the pic's prospects, projecting a $19 million (in U.S. dollars) opening four-day figure...
Ever since Craig was announced as the new Bond in October 2005, every twist and turn in the casting and production of "Casino Royale" has been closely monitored by the Brit press, and bookers report that audience awareness is very high.
Reviews have been positive. "Daniel Craig is a fantastic Bond, and all those whingers and nay-sayers out there in the blogosphere should hang their heads in shame," wrote Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian.
Fuelled by the buzz, final U.K. gross projections have been upped from $47.5 million ($25 million) six months ago to current estimates of between $65 million and $75 million...
Paris Hilton sharing space with British Royalty--What a scene that must have been.
Sticking with the theme of Royale's worldwide performance...
Variety's Clifford Coonan says the new film has also cleared a major international hurdle:
...James Bond appears to have won over one of his toughest adversaries yet - China's film censor. The Film Board has passed 007's latest outing "Casino Royale" for release in China - the first time Ian Fleming's master spy has been seen in Chinese cinemas.
[Movie] will screen on January 30th, according to Sony Pictures in China.
"We are extremely pleased that the film has passed and expect it to be one of the highest grossing films next year in China," said Li Chow, Sony Pictures' general manager in China.
Chinese [audiences] are familiar with 007 through pirated copies, but none of the earlier films in the franchise have had a big screen release and getting approval for the pic marks a major success for Sony in China.
007's "license to kill" maverick attitude, violence and sexual peccadilloes are anathema to the kinds of values China embraces in its pics. His penchant for espionage in other jurisdictions or "third countries" has meant he has failed to make it past the censors until now.
This is, later than expected and there had been hopes that "Casino" would get a day-and-date release in China, but it was pushed back because of a "blackout" -- two or three times a year, China puts a freeze on the release of foreign films in order to promote patriotic domestic fare and propaganda movies.
Given all of the problems that the film had getting going--the cast and crew of Casino must feel somewhat vindicated by all of the positive talk...We'll see what happens when the new Bond takes on U.S. movie-goers starting tomorrow...