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Quantum of Solace is currently dominating the box office worldwide and is on track to be the most successful Bond film ever. Isn’t this the same old tired publicity spiel trotted out every time one of the Broccoli’s Bondian newborns is fleeced to the cinema-going public? I seem to remember the last film in the series being hailed in a similar fashion and the entry prior to that also talked about in such a manner by the trades.

What does this all mean? Well it means that the film had a record breaking American opening with roughly $70 million taken over the November 14th-November 16th weekend and elsewhere has raked in $250 Million in other worldwide territories after just two weeks. What does this tell us about our modern movie going habits? A desire for escapism? Comfort in a familiar brand name? Nostalgia? Cultural obsolescence? Male impotence?

Well it’s probably a subject for another day but the success of this fairly middling entry in the Bond Canon is not entirely surprising considering the goodwill generated by it’s admittedly impressive predecessor Casino Royale.

007 aside, it was a pretty quiet and uneventful week at then North American box office with Daniel Craig’s latest adventure as the British spy the sole new release. Madagascar 2, part of Dreamworks Studios continuing attempt to become the new Disney was the runner up with a healthy $35 million in it’s second week.

The Paul Rudd/Sean William Scott chortle fest Role Models seems to be holding it’s own , taking $11.1 million on it’s second weekend at number three. The relatively low budget production has exceeded commercial expectations and is proving to be a surprise hit due to favourable reviews with the venerable film critic Roger Ebert praising it as ‘a comedy that is funny..’ shockingly enough.

Very little else of note hanging around the top 10 with the only notable debuts coming in Limited release with Danny Boyle’s hugely praised Slumdog Millionaire opening in limited release to brisk business with $360,000 from just 10 theatres and acclaimed French directors family drama ‘A Christmas Tale’, starring Catherine Deneuve and Matthieu Almaric taking in a middling $63,000 from 7 theatres.
Meanwhile Quantum of Solace director Marc Forster has been attached to a film version of Max Brook’s best-selling novel, World War Z. The acclaimed book details the outbreak of a worldwide zombie infestation and is written in a rigorous journalistic style detailing first-person survivor accounts of the unfolding epidemic. Paramount Pictures will produce the film along with Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B. Changeling screenwriter and Babylon 5 creator J Michael Straczynski will write the script adaptation.

Considering the lack of edge which Forster brings to most of his work, an apocalyptic horror tale would seem to be an ill-advised match for the Swiss directors capabilities. With Solace, there was a distinct lack of panache and a sense of perfunctoriness to the scenes of violence and action in the film.

Probably the most suitable and most obvious predictable choice for this material would have been of course the Godfather of Zombie movies, George A Romero whose films according to Brooks were one of the main inspirations for his book. However, with Romero currently at work on ‘Island of the Dead‘ and the fact that’s he has for the most part been (despite his huge influence on generations of film-makers) an industry outsider during his long career, Paramount probably didn’t see the 68 year-old as a viable choice.

What Forster can bring to this film remains to be seen and his career so far has consisted of a series of tasteful, sensitive, sometimes imaginative yet often uninspired films which reek of a middlebrow sensibility which does not seem entirely suited to the more transgressive horror genre.
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