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Early ‘Skyfall’ screenings’ license to $4.6 mil

Imax, minights portend whammo Stateside B.O. for Bondpic

James Bond is suiting up for whammo biz at the U.S. box office.

The 23rd James Bond outing took off Thursday earning $4.6 million, of which $2.4 million came from midnights and $2.2 million from 463 exclusive Imax and other premium large format screens.

The Sony-MGM Bondpic already has been playing at turbo speed internationally, with more than $350 million entering its third frame.

Stateside matinees for director Sam Mendes’ “Skyfall” also are robust so far — leading to what is likely to be a stellar opening weekend gross at north of $70 million. The last Daniel Craig-starring Bond film, “Quantum of Solace,” opened to nearly $68 million in 2008. “Casino Royale,” meanwhile, earned $40 million during its debut frame in 2006.

“Skyfall” could also become Sony’s highest-grossing debut of the year. “The Amazing Spider-Man,” which bowed in July, opened to $66 million before going on to earn $792 million worldwide.

“Skyfall” expands today to 3,500-plus domestic engagements.

(Stuart Oldham contributed to this report)

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