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Box Office: ‘Spectre’ Hot With $35 Million Weekend; Chilly Launch for Pitts’ ‘By the Sea’

UPDATE – James Bond and Charlie Brown are showing solid staying power at North American multiplexes, heading for respective weekends of $35 million for “Spectre” and $25 million for “The Peanuts Movie,” early estimates showed Friday.

Holiday comedy “Love the Coopers” is headed for a moderate $8 million to $9 million opening at 2,603 sites — in line or above recent forecasts. But mining drama “The 33” is showing little traction with a quiet $4 million launch at 2,452.

Universal’s “By the Sea,” a marital dysfunction drama that Angelina Jolie Pitt directed, wrote and co-stars in with real life husband Brad Pitt, has also opened unimpressively with a projected $94,000 at 10 theaters in major cities. By comparison, the studio’s “Steve Jobs” took in $521,522 at four theaters in its first weekend in early October.

Spectre” looks likely to decline about 50% from its opening weekend and should close out the weekend near $130 million in its first 10 days. “Skyfall,” its immediate predecessor, slid 53% in its second weekend to $41 million on its way to a $304 million domestic total.

“Spectre” has been even more impressive overseas with well over $200 million. U.K. grosses have hit $97 million in two weeks and China has seen a strong start with a $59 million opening weekend. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions film carries a $250 million price tag and has to gross at least $650 million to break even.

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“Peanuts” is holding nicely, bolstered by strong reviews and word-of-mouth. The animated comedy should decline about 40% to 45% from its $44.2 million launch.

Love the Coopers,” starring Diane Keaton, Alan Arkin, Olivia Wilde, John Goodman and Amanda Seyfried, is aiming for older audiences looking for some Christmas cheer. The CBS Films production, directed by Jessie Nelson and distributed in conjunction with Lionsgate, cost $17 million to make and could sustain a decent hold in coming weeks.

Fox’s seventh weekend of “The Martian” may be able to come in third in the $7 million range. The Matt Damon sci-fier has crossed the $200 million mark on the domestic side.

The 33,” which centers on the 2010 rescue of 33 trapped Chilean miners, had seen the high end of forecasts at $10 million this weekend but it won’t take in half that much. With “Our Brand Is Crisis” underperforming, the lack of traction for “The 33” gives Warner Bros. the dubious distinction of releasing back-to-back flops of films set in South America.

Alcon Entertainment financed the $25 million production, which stars Antonio Banderas and is directed by Patricia Riggen.

By the Sea” carries a modest $10 million price tag and has been positioned by Universal as an homage to European art films. Jolie Pitt’s previous film “Unbroken” was a solid performer with $161.4 million at the global box office.

Paul Degarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak, noted that “By the Sea,” “Love the Coopers” and “The 33,” are directed by women.

“Bond and Brown, Charlie Brown will be a tough combo to beat this weekend in a bit of box office deja vu at the top of the chart,” he said. “Several notable newcomers directed by women will all attempt to make their mark in a marketplace that remains very crowded but flush with very diverse content that will offer something to virtually all audiences.”

Year-to-date domestic box office has hit $9.165 billion as of Nov. 11, leading the 2014 total at the same point by 4.28%. The 2015 total is also .28% ahead of 2013, which wound up with a record $10.92 billion.

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