The latest James Bond film, Spectre, has set a new British box office record, taking £41 million in its first week at cinemas.
Spectre has beaten previous record holder, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which made £23.8 million during its first week back in 2004.
The film has also broken opening day UK box office records, taking £6 million by Tuesday.
The film’s £200 million budget means that it is some way off turning a profit, with one report suggesting the bill for cars written off during filming alone was £24 million. It is expected to gross more than Skyfall, which made over £710 million in total and is currently the highest-grossing 007 film in the franchise’s history.
“We set the record for smashing up cars on Spectre,” Gary Powell, the film’s chief stunt coordinator, told the Mail on Sunday. “In Rome, we wrecked millions of pounds worth. They were going into the Vatican at top speeds of 110mph. We shot one entire night for four seconds of film.”
Spectre made more than £52 million globally and has yet to launch in various countries including the US, France, Russia and China.
The film’s producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, said: “We’re so grateful to all our James Bond fans and the British public for making Spectre’s debut in the UK box office history!”
Gary Barber, MGM chairman and CEO, added: “What an incredible thrill it is for us at MGM to see how James Bond continues to deliver such excitement to his fans.”
Spectre is the 24th instalment of the Bond franchise and Daniel Craig’s fourth as the lead actor. The 47-year-old has not confirmed whether he will return to the role, leading many to speculate that it could mark his last act as 007. In October, when asked if he would like to make another Bond film, he told Time Out magazine: “I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.”