In a quiet US box office week, where the loudest noise was that of approaching hobbits, Skyfall reclaimed the No 1 spot for the first time since it debuted four weeks ago.
While the $11m estimated gross was nothing to write home about, the movie was part of a bigger story over the weekend. Distributor Sony announced that the 23rd James Bond escapade has become its biggest worldwide release ever. The Sony-MGM-Eon thriller's global running total stands at $918m.
What a feat. As well as becoming the biggest-ever movie at the UK box office after it overtook Avatar last week, Skyfall recently became the first Bond tale to cross $200m in the US. Where will it all end? Somewhere north of $950m worldwide, as they say in Hollywood, where studio top brass are obsessed with geographical expressions of fortune. Better north than south.
Rise of the Guardians has picked up a bit of steam for DreamWorks Animation and its distributor Paramount, although the notion of $100m remains as deeply mythological as the characters contained in the fantasy mash-up. However, it's going great guns outside the US and has racked up around $90m from the relatively early stages of release, which will please the studio bods because animation is an expensive game.
It's good to see the ongoing success of Lincoln and Flight. The former stands at $97.3m after five weekends and will cross $100m by the weekend. Flight has amassed $86.2m after six, but will not reach the magic milestone at this rate. It might, however, if it gets some traction from the critics groups (so far, none) and picks up a few Golden Globe nominations this week and some Oscar nods in January. In that case, Paramount may parlay the attention into an extended box office run or it might even increase the theatre count. Oscar-nominated movies can generate as much as one-quarter of their entire North American box office in the so-called Oscar corridor, which occurs in the period between the nominations date and the Academy awards ceremony. Ben Affleck's Argo crossed $100m a while ago through Warner Bros, and it's heartening to see three intelligent movies for grownups match critical acclaim with commercial clout.
Neither accolade applies to Playing for Keeps, the new Gerard Butler romcom that plunges the Scot into the company of Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones. It opened in sixth place on $6m through FilmDistrict and was directed by Gabriele Muccino, the Italian behind the saccharine The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds. Playing for Keeps was the only new release to break into the top 10, which is commensurate with the glacial pace of business. Box office will pick up next weekend when Warner Bros unleashes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
North American top 10, 7-9 December 2012
1. Skyfall, $11m. Total: $261.6m
2. Rise of the Guardians, $10.5m. Total: $61.9m
3. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, $9.2m. Total: $268.7m
4. Lincoln, $9.1m. Total: $97.3m
5. Life of Pi, $8.3m. Total: $60.9m
6. Playing for Keeps, $6m
7. Wreck-It Ralph, $4.9m. Total: $164.4m
8. Red Dawn, $4.3m. Total: $37.3m
9. Flight, $3.1m. Total: $86.2m
10. Killing Them Softly, $2.7m. Total: $11.8m
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