With "Skyfall" gobbling up more than half the total weekend box office, the top ten grossers are on track to gross $160 million, the best total yet in what has been a strong fall. This is up about 25% from both last weekend and last year. And most of this box- office surge comes from films appealing to older audiences on the one hand and children on the other. The teen demo will get their turn next week with the final "Twilight," which should boost audience figures to even higher levels.
Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" also opened with terrific numbers - $900,000 in only 11 theaters. More on that in Arthouse Audit.
1. Skyfall (Sony) NEW - Cinemascore: A; Metacritic score: 81
$87,800,000 in 3,505 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $25,050,000; Cumulative: $90,000,000
A strong Saturday propelled James Bond 23 into a weekend gross substantially ahead of "Quantum of Solace," the previous entry ($67.5 million in its first three days). While historically Bond films have often outperformed their immediate predecessor both in openings and total, this is a bigger jump than most have shown.
Earning the best reviews of any Bond film ever (ranking among the best of any studio release this year, not far below "Argo," "Lincoln" and "The Master") boosted attendance, but this still ranks as an amazing figure. This series is not aimed at the core younger audience that have propelled many of the films that gross at this elevated level. Clearly, Daniel Craig is an asset - not only is he established in this role, but success in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" (if not "Cowboys and Aliens") show that he brings strength on his own more than some of the previous actors in the role.
The worldwide take (this having played much of the world for two weeks already) has already crossed the half-billion mark; this movie could hit a series-high of $1 billion (when adjusted for inflation, "Thunderball" exceeded that global gross).
The producers' risky bet on brainy Brit Sam Mendes, who is not known as an action director, paid off. And now Mendes could provide some competition to Christopher Nolan as a go-to helmer for intelligent tentpole films.
To put the success of this series in context, it is 50 years since "Dr. No" started things off. Back in 1962, no films were continuing stories or characters that had started in 1912. Nothing in film history compares to this level of long-term success.
What comes next: No Bond film has ever remotely been thought of as a prime Oscar contender. This will steal a slot from other worthy studio contenders in many tech categories.
2. Wreck-It Ralph (Buena Vista) Week 2 - Last Weekend: #1
$33,056,000 (-33%) in 3,752 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $8,810; Cumulative: $93,690,000
Continued success for this major hit from Walt Disney Animation Studios. The year's top-grossing animated films fell more than 40% their second weekend, so this is sailing on fab word of mouth.
What comes next: Not only will Thanksgiving boost upcoming grosses, but this could even make it through Christmas at some theaters.