Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes bring their James Bond leviathan Skyfall to U.S. shores this weekend, with box-office analytics predicting a huge opening that should far exceed the debut $67.5 million taken by Quantum of Solace in November 2008.

Skyfall is buoyed by massive showings overseas, superb reviews, an Oscars buzz and, of course, the partnership of Craig and Mendes. Sony has given a conservative estimate of $67 million (perhaps considering the effects of Hurricane Sandy), though Skyfall is likely to fly past that figure. The critically acclaimed movie opens in IMAX at 12.01am tonight (November 8, 2012), and everywhere else at 12.01am on Friday. Though few can deny Daniel Craig his position amongst Bond's finest actors, it all could have been very different, as Javier Bardem explained in a recent interview with Cinema Blend. The actor - who himself gives a gripping performance as villain Raoul Silva in Skyfall - revealed that he was offered the opportunity to play Bond earlier in his career. "Years ago, I was. I don't remember what movie it was for. But yeah, it just was not that time. I didn't feel that it was the time for me to do something like that. And also, I was doing something else, so I passed," he said. It's likely that Bardem was offered the role shortly before Pierce Brosnan was cast for Goldeneye in the early 1990s. The Spanish star has since gone on to win an Oscar (No Country for Old Men) and insists, "I have passed on many things that I could easily regret, but I don't regret any of them, because that also gives room for something else to come that I'm proud of."

Though Skyfall, also featuring Ralph Fiennes and Judi Dench, is likely to storm the box-office this weekend, it does face some notable competition. Steven Spielberg's Lincoln opens on a limited release in 11 cities (expanding Nov 16), while 18th Century historical drama A Royal Affair also gets a limited release.