(Cover) - EN Movies - The James Bond franchise has surpassed $4 billion in earnings worldwide.

Fans flocked to cinemas to see the 23rd installment of the spy series after Skyfall was released to critical acclaim.

Daniel Craig's third time as 007 has earned studio bosses an impressive $699.2 million worldwide in a few short weeks of release, making it the highest-grossing film in the franchise.

The film now trumps Casino Royale, which boasted a haul of $599.2 million in 2006.

According to Variety, this helped Sony to surpass the $4 billion mark this weekend.

Skyfall was co-produced by Sony, MGM and EON Productions.

"Exceeding $4 billion globally is a true rarity in this industry and it's an extraordinary accomplishment for all of us at Sony Pictures," Jeff Blake, chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for Sony, told the US trade publication.

Bond still ranks behind The Amazing Spider-Man. The superhero film has brought in $754 million for the studio.

Sony is set to round off 2012 with an impressive set of figures on the books.

In addition to Bond, the studio has raked in $1.628 billion in the US and $2.4 billion worldwide thanks to its releases.

The international figure marks the highest for Sony for any year on record.

Men in Black 3 and Hotel Transylvania are also credited with boosting Sony's 2012 earnings, thanks to respective international hauls of $624 million and $283 million.