Well, there you go: “The Bourne Ultimatum” is officially a monster, with a $70 million opening that puts it at the top of the spy-movie food chain.
As Variety’s piece is quick to point out, no Bond film has ever made this much money in its first weekend — though I’d take issue with the specifics there, since the only Bond movie to open since $70 million weekends became commonplace is “Casino Royale”, and I suspect audiences will turn out in much larger numbers for the next one, now that Daniel Craig is firmly established in the role.
But still, good for Paul Greengrass, and good for Matt Damon, who’s quite perfect as Jason Bourne. His mixture of remorse and confusion never really lets us forget how intimate this series has always been — it’s not about a hero saving the world, it’s about a man saving his soul.
As far as the larger plots go, I do find it interesting that there are no terrorists in the “Bourne” films — or none worth fearing, anyway — just cynical, calculating political players who use the fear of terrorism to gain ever more control of the systems in which they function.
For all the assassinations and car bombings and insinuations of international terrorism from which we must be protected At Any Cost, the series never offers any villains beyond the U.S. government; it’s always about an internal cancer, rather than an external threat.
You have to hope that message is getting across.