’Skyfall’ Retakes Cinema Lead With $10.8 Million in Sales

‘Skyfall’ Reclaims Top Spot With Ticket Sales of $11 Million
In “Skyfall,” James Bond played by M. Daniel Craig, battles a new villain who is determined to bring down MI6 and kill its leader. Source: Sony Pictures via Bloomberg

The James Bond thriller “Skyfall” reclaimed first place during a slow weekend at theaters in the U.S. and Canada, taking in $10.8 million for distributor Sony Corp. and making it the studio’s highest-grossing film ever.

The sole new movie in wide release, “Playing for Keeps,” a romantic comedy from independent producer and distributor FilmDistrict, was sixth with $5.8 million in sales, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

Holdovers dominated ahead of this coming weekend’s release of director Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” from Time Warner Inc.’s New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. “Skyfall,” which opened Nov. 9, edged out DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.’s “Rise of the Guardians,” an animated film that made $10.4 million in its third weekend in theaters.

“This is the proverbial calm before the storm,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com Box-Office, said in a telephone interview. “It seems only ‘The Hobbit’ will be able to supplant the holdovers.”

“The Hobbit,” the first of three planned films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, is expected to debut with as much as $130 million after opening on Dec. 14, according to researcher Boxoffice.com. It will be followed on Dec. 19 by Sony’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” director Kathryn Bigelow’s take on the search for Osama Bin Laden, and “Les Miserables,” from Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures, on Dec. 25. Domestic sales are expected to reach a record $10.8 billion this year, according to Dergarabedian.

A Billion

In “Skyfall,” Bond battles a new villain, played by Javier Bardem, who is determined to bring down MI6 and kill its leader, M. Daniel Craig returns as Bond and Judith Dench reprises her role as M. The film from Sony and MGM Studios has generated $918 million in worldwide sales, a Sony record, beating “Spider-Man 3” ($890 million), Sony said.

“No Bond movie has ever made $1 billion worldwide and this movie is on its way,” Dergarabedian said. Sales have been driven by word of mouth, he said.

Returning films filled the second through fifth slots.

Second place’s “Rise of the Guardians” has taken in $61.8 million since opening Nov. 21. The film pits storybook figures such as Santa Claus, Jack Frost and the Sandman against an evil force threatening children. The film had a production budget of $145 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2,” the finale of the teen vampire movies from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., took in $9.2 million in third place, bringing its domestic total to $268.7 million.

Ending Slavery

“Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg’s examination of the 16th U.S. president’s political campaign to end slavery, placed fourth with receipts of $8.9 million. It was produced by the director’s DreamWorks Studios and is being distributed by Walt Disney Co.

“Life of Pi,” from “Brokeback Mountain” director Ang Lee, had sales of $8.3 million for News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox, finishing fifth. The fantasy adventure features Suraj Sharma as a young man who survives a disaster at sea and finds himself sharing a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.

“Playing for Keeps,” sixth in its debut, stars Gerard Butler as former soccer star who tries to rebuild his relationship with his son by coaching the boy’s team. Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones co-star. The film met Boxoffice.com’s opening-weekend forecast.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films rose 6.3 percent to $72.1 million from $67.8 million in the year-earlier period, Hollywood.com said. Domestic film attendance has climbed 5.9 percent this year, and year-to-date revenue is up 6 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales from Dec. 7 to Dec. 9.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
 1 SKYFALL           $10.8    3,401   $3,170   -35   $261.4    5
 2 RISE OF GUARDIANS  10.4    3,639    2,858   -22     61.8    3
 3 THE TWILIGHT SAGA   9.2    3,646    2,511   -47    268.7    4
 4 LINCOLN             8.9    2,014    4,427   -33     97.1    5
 5 LIFE OF PI (3-D)    8.3    2,946    2,828   -31     60.9    3
 6 PLAYING FOR KEEPS   5.8    2,837    2,027    --      5.8    1
 7 WRECK-IT RALPH      4.9    2,746    1,770   -30    164.4    6
 8 RED DAWN            4.2    2,754    1,538   -35     37.2    3
 9 FLIGHT              3.1    2,431    1,288   -30     86.2    6
10 KILLING THEM SOFTLY 2.8    2,424    1,158   -59     11.8    2
11 SILVER LININGS      2.2      371    5,854   -30     14.0    4
12 ANNA KARENINA       1.5      422    3,661   -31      6.6    4

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $72.1 $67.8 +6.3

Year-to-date Revenue

2012 2011 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $10,023 $9,456 +6.0 Year-to-date Attendance: +5.9%
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