Fifty years and he’s still killing it.
Sony-MGM’s 23rd James Bond film, “Skyfall,” scored the 50-year-old franchise’s biggest domestic opening with an estimated $90 million (including Thursday’s limited large-format preview). Pic scored $87.8 million in three days.
After three weekends of flying high overseas, “Skyfall” logged another massive sesh internationally, with an estimated $89 million. Overseas cume is $428.6 million, and pic’s worldwide tally stands at $518.6 million.
“Everything with this film — not just here, but around the world — came together so beautifully,” Sony distribution topper Rory Bruer told Variety . “It’s just a spectacular result.”
“Skyfall” delivered a needed shot of adrenaline to the domestic B.O., with totals up over the comparable weekend last year by nearly 30%. Kids out of school today for Veterans Day will further boost results, in particular for Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph,” which dropped just 33% in its second frame for an estimated $33.1 million through Sunday. Toon’s domestic cume sits at $94 million.
Disney-DreamWorks’ $65 million Steven Spielberg film “Lincoln,” meanwhile, averaged a presidential $81,818 per screen from just 11 Stateside locations. “Lincoln,” which earned this year’s third-highest per-screen average behind “The Master” and “Moonrise Kingdom,” had an estimated three-day debut of $900,000.
“As we plan to expand the film next weekend, this opening gives us a great deal of confidence,” said Dave Hollis, exec VP of motion pictures sales and distribution for Disney.
“Lincoln” sold out Friday at major plexes in cities including New York and Washington, D.C. Because the film runs two hours plus, Disney had to add screens to meet demand for showtimes.
“Skyfall,” which drew $13.1 million from Imax (a commanding 15% of domestic total), opened the U.S. significantly higher than previous Bond films starring Daniel Craig: “Casino Royale” introduced him to more than $40 million in 2006, while followup “Quantum of Solace” earned $67.5 million in its 2008 opening weekend. Neither had Imax.
The opening success of adult-targeted films such as “Skyfall” and “Lincoln” suppressed per-screen averages for new and existing specialty fare.
Sundance title “Starlet,” from Music Box Films, opened at six locations for a meager $2,670 per. Denmark’s foreign-language Oscar submission “A Royal Affair” did slightly better via Magnolia, averaging $5,714 from seven locations in New York, Chicago and L.A.
The divisive Cannes pic “Holy Motors,” being distributed in the U.S. by Indomina Releasing, expanded to 14 screens (up from five) in its fourth frame, though the film took in just $2,297 per screen. Domestic cume is nearly $125,000.
Adults lift ‘Sky’s’ limit
Two-thirds of “Skyfall” auds were 25 and over, while “Lincoln” skewed 67% over 35. The heavy adult turnout isn’t surprising for either film, though “Skyfall” drew a significantly larger over-25 crowd than its 2008 predecessor “Quantum of Solace,” at 58%. “Skyfall’s” perf was particularly impressive considering that adults tend to shy away from opening weekend.
Still, Imax prexy Greg Foster added that younger auds were drawn to the Bondpic’s large-format version.
“There’s absolutely no doubt that the Imax-incorporated aspect ratio provided a cool way to see the movie,” Foster said. “But this film and its marketing campaign by Sony transcended generations.”
As a way to increase word of mouth among fanboys, Sony partnered with Imax and other large-format venues to preview “Skyfall” on Thursday, yielding $2.2 million. Pic earned $2.4 million from midnights that were added to Friday’s $31.7 million gross.
Stateside prospects look solid for “Skyfall,” which received an overall A CinemaScore rating. The $200 million film’s adult male core should remain relatively untouched next weekend, as Summit’s “Twilight” finale, “Breaking Dawn — Part 2,” looks to ignite its inevitable tween female craze at the B.O.
Expansion plans for “Lincoln” were likewise made as adult counterprogramming to “Twilight.” Disney plans to broaden the film next weekend to approximately 1,700 locations, according to Hollis, who added that Tuesday’s election may have put “Lincoln” top of mind for some auds.
“We didn’t want to be involved with the politics at all,” Hollis noted. “But the backdrop of the importance of great leadership played hand-in-hand with what Lincoln embodies.”
“Lincoln,” which also received an A CinemaScore, could play comparably to “The Fighter,” which bowed limited this time in 2010 and cumed $94 million domestically. At the high end, “Lincoln” could land among such awards magnets as “Million Dollar Baby” ($100 million) or “Slumdog Millionaire” ($141 million). Those films had far more gradual domestic rollouts, however.
It’s the time of year for a rush of adult-driven product. Consider Paramount’s “Flight,” which fell just 39% in its second frame, despite “Skyfall.” The Par film earned an estimated $15.1 million, bringing its Stateside cume to nearly $50 million. Other leggy over-25 crowdpleasers included “Argo” and “Taken 2,” which grossed $6.7 million and $4 million, respectively.
“Argo” reached $85.7 million in its fifth domestic frame; “Taken 2” has more than $131 million in six.
Staggered releases kept families busy overseas, as a pair of toons — “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Hotel Transylvania” — were among the five top-grossing pics this weekend internationally.
“Hotel Transylvania” — one of Sony’s nine No. 1 domestic openers this year (including “Skyfall”) — rose to $141 million domestically; toon will soon eclipse “The Smurfs” (at $142.6 million) to become Sony Animation’s highest-grossing Stateside release.
Globally, the toon reached $270 million, prompting Sony to greenlight a “Hotel” sequel late last week.
Disney, meanwhile, launched “Wreck-It Ralph” in China, where it grossed $3.3 million this weekend. Holdover markets also were strong: “Ralph” dropped a scant 25% in Russia — normally a quick-burn market for animated fare — while in Mexico, the toon fell just 30%. Worldwide totals are at $120 million.