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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 16:06 GMT
Studio claims 007 box office coup
Daniel Craig
Casino Royale is Daniel Craig's first Bond movie
Casino Royale has smashed a Bond box office record, taking more in its first day of release than any previous 007 film, says Columbia Pictures.

The film, which features Daniel Craig's first outing as the super-spy, sold 1.7m of tickets in the UK on Thursday.

The figure is more than twice as much as the previous record-holder, 2002's Die Another Day, took in its first day.

An anti-piracy group has reported that pirate copies of the film have already appeared for sale in London.

"The rapid appearance of this film on the streets shows the sophistication and organisation behind film piracy in the UK, " said Kieron Sharp, from the Federation Against Copyright Theft.

The public must be made aware that piracy deprives film makers of capital needed to make new films, and so, hurts the consumer
Michael G Wilson, Casino Royale producer

"Film piracy is a crime being committed on UK streets, in markets and online and one that generated over 270 million for criminals in the UK alone," he added.

Michael G Wilson, the producer of the film said he was "disappointed although not entirely surprised" that it had already been pirated.

"The public must be made aware that piracy deprives film makers of capital needed to make new films, and so, hurts the consumer," he said.

China censors

Casino Royale has been approved by China's censors, and will be the first 007 film to be screened in the country.

Authorities have previously disapproved of the violent and sexual content of the film franchise, reported film industry magazine Variety.

"We are extremely pleased that the film has passed and expect it to be one of the highest-grossing films next year in China," said Li Chow, Sony Pictures' general manager in the country.

The film is expected to hit China's cinemas in January 2007.

Casino Royale is the 21st Bond film, and early reviews have praised Craig's gritty and complex performance in the lead role.

The movie is an adaptation of Ian Fleming's first Bond novel and is one of the few without gadget-maker Q or much-loved secretary Miss Moneypenny.

It opens in 27 countries, including the US and Russia, this weekend.

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