It’s no understatement to say that this year’s James Bond adventure Skyfall had something to prove. Four years had passed since the previous installment, Quantum of Solace, which many consider a lackluster follow-up to Daniel Craig’s 007 debut in Casino Royale. However, with Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) at the helm, Skyfall scored with both critics and fans, with many claiming it is among the franchise’s best entries.

Now Sony has announced that the film has earned more than $1 billion worldwide. This makes it the first film in the Bond franchise to reach that total and the highest-grossing film in Sony Pictures history. However, even with this hefty box office take, Skyfall is the 14th film to hit this milestone and the third 2012 film to do so, following The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Of course, a pair of James Cameron films – Avatar ($2.7 billion) and Titanic ($2.1 billion) – still sit comfortably atop the list.

Domestically, Skyfall has earned $289.6 million, while $710.6 million accounts for ticket sales overseas. However, those totals are in flux, as the film is still currently in theaters. Skyfall has yet to open in China, where it will debut on January 21.

While James Bond films are typically blockbuster affairs, something about Skyfall has struck a particular chord with critics and moviegoers. This is likely due, at least in part, to a magnetic performance from Oscar winner Javier Bardem, who delivers one of the most memorable Bond villains in recent years. In fact, his character of Silva has been touted as the best onscreen baddie since Heath Ledger’s iconic turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight.

As for the future of Bond, Skyfall co-writer John Logan is already signed to pen the next film in the series, and Daniel Craig will play the superspy for at least two more films. There’s no telling whether or not subsequent Bond adventures will be able to match or exceed the success of Skyfall, but you can bet that Sony is going to do everything they can to catch lightning in a bottle for a second time.

Bond 24 (obviously not the official title) is slated to hit theaters sometime in 2014.