‘Spectre’ Is 2nd-Highest-Grossing James Bond Movie

The latest Daniel Craig thriller fails to match the U.K. and U.S. numbers of “Skyfall,” which will remain the only 007 film to top $1 billion globally

“Spectre” will wind up as its second-highest grossing entry in the James Bond movie franchise.

The $750 million global total rung up so far by the thriller starring Daniel Craig as the suave super spy trails only the $1.1 billion worldwide haul of “Skyfall,” the previous 007 film that was released in 2012 and is the only one to hit that milestone.

A final total somewhere between $850 million and $870 million is likely, according to several analysts, with $900 million achievable in the most favorable scenario. That’s still impressive, since “Skyfall” had the benefit of a boost from the London Olympics — remember the Queen and OO7 parachuting out of the copter? — and a hit theme song from Adele going for it.

“The expectations for these franchise films gets a little unrealistic at times. I think the more relevant comparison is to look at the meteoric rise of these two films from the one before them,” Exhibitor Relations senior analyst Jeff Bock told TheWrap, referring to 2008’s “Quantum of Solace,” which topped out at $586 million globally.

Marketing costs and sponsorship and product placement revenues are closely guarded so it’s difficult to be definitive, but it’s a safe bet that Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson‘s Eon Productions and MGM, as well as distributor Sony, won’t see the return on “Spectre” that they did on “Skyfall.” The latter’s production budget was $200 million, while the “Spectre” budget rose to $250 million.

“But I don’t think there was a lot of money left on the table here,” said Bock. “They did a very solid job on this film.”

“Spectre” outperformed “Skyfall” in several foreign markets, most noticeably in China, where it has taken in $83 million since opening on November 13, compared to the $59 million overall taken in by the earlier film.

The shortfall has come from the film’s home turf, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.

“Skyfall” brought in $161 million from the U.K., while “Spectre” is at $128 million since breaking records in its debut there a month ago. In North America, “Spectre” is at $177 million after 25 days in release, whereas “Skyfall” was at $247 million at this point, and wound up the fourth-highest-grossing domestic release of 2012 with $304 million.

This is the final year of Sony’s current deal to distribute the Bond film, but it remains among the contenders for the new pact, which includes the majority of Hollywood’s studios. Craig likened returning for another Bond film to slitting his wrist a few months ago, but has since softened his stance.

The prospect of selling the next 007 film as Craig’s farewell tour would surely appeal to any partner more than launching with a new Bond.