Bond installment passes $261 mil Stateside cume; 'Twilight' third behind 'Guardians'

Skyfall” is a Bond for all time.

After five weeks at No. 1 and No. 2 domestically, “Skyfall” reached a whopping $918 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of ever for Sony.

The Bond pic could hit $1 billion even before its China opening in late January or early February.

FilmDistrict’s Gerard Butler starrer “Playing for Keeps,” with a meager $6 million, was the weekend’s only new entry. N onetheless, holdovers including “Breaking Dawn — Par 2″ and “Rise of the Guardians” helped push weekend totals roughly 10% ahead of this time last year.

The 23rd James Bond film, from Sony and MGM, rose to No. 1 for the second time in five weeks, with $11 million. Stateside cume is $261.6 million. Internationally, “Skyfall” grossed $20.3 million this weekend and has cumed $656.6 million; pic is on track to become Sony’s first-ever $1 billion global grosser.

Falling from its three-week Stateside perch at No. 1, Summit’s “Twilight” finale, “Breaking Dawn — Part 2,” landed in third place with $9.2 million, behind Paramount-DreamWorks Animation’s “Rise of the Guardians,” which grossed $10.5 million, down 21% in its third outing.

“Part 2″ has cumed $268.7 million domestically; “Rise” reached $61.9 million.

Disney-DreamWorks’ steady player “Lincoln” came in at No. 4 this weekend, grossing a solid $9.2 million, down just 32%, for a domestic cume nearing the $100 million mark after five weeks. Fox’s “Life of Pi” also fell 32% for $8.3 million in three days. Stateside cume is $62 million.

Next weekend Warner Bros. launches Peter Jackson’s first “Hobbit” installment, “An Unexpected Journey.” Early tracking suggested the film should land with $75 million domestically, though a stronger-than-normal overall Stateside box office suggests the film could earn more. December tentpoles tend to have large openings but leg out dramatically. It’ll be interesting to see whether holdovers can survive “The Hobbit.”

It’s rare but not unprecedented for a film to reclaim top honors after five weeks: “How to Train Your Dragon” achieved it in 2010.

“Skyfall” is by far the top-grossing film for MGM, though “Gone With the Wind” takes the studio’s adjusted-for-inflation trophy. As for Sony’s milestone, “Skyfall” stands behind only 2007’s “Spider-Man 3,” which adjusted for inflation has cumed roughly $963 million worldwide.

The post-Thanksgiving domestic box office has been unusually robust despite the weak wide openers over the past two weekends.

“Keeps,” which co-stars Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones, struggled at the B.O. as it targets women over 25, many of whom are busy prepping for the holidays. The film scored a positive B+ CinemaScore rating.

Fervent filmgoers are boosting specialty pics, including this weekend’s newcomer, Focus Features’ “Hyde Park on Hudson,” which launched at two locations in New York and L.A. each, averaging a solid $20,820 per screen.

Focus prexy of distribution Jack Foley said “Hyde Park on Hudson” is the ideal alternative for adult audiences, most of whom will have seen pics like “Lincoln” by now, especially arthouse auds on the coasts. “There is a real zeal to go to the movies now,” Foley said.

Fox Searchlight likewise tried to capitalize on a promising climate, expanding “Hitchcock” to 183 domestic theaters, up from 50 last weekend. “Hitchcock” has been playing steadily in holdover theaters and shown promising results in new locations. Pic took an estimated $725,000 this weekend and averaged almost $4,000 per screen.

Topping the international list of territories for “Skyfall” is the U.K., where the film became the highest-grossing pic of all time locally, with more than $150 million. Other top territories include Germany ($75 million) and France ($57 million).

For the “Twilight” finale, worldwide grosses surpassed $750 million, making it the franchise’s biggest installment. “Part 2″ has already launched throughout most of the world, collecting north of $482 million outside the U.S. and Canada.

However, “Rise of the Guardians” topped the overseas box office, grossing an estimated $26 million, for a cume of $152.4 million internationally from 58 markets.

“Life of Pi” followed “Rise” closely with $23.8 million, off just 3% from last weekend. Fox expanded “Pi” to only three smaller territories in Southeast Asia; pic has held extremely well in China, where it’s cumed nearly $70 million in three weeks. “Pi” reached $105.7 million this weekend, playing in only 11 overseas markets.

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