James Bond Box Office U.S. Lincoln Box Office Release

SUNDAY 9AM, 8TH UPDATE: Sony Pictures, MGM, and Eon Productions just announced that Skyfall, the 23rd and biggest grossing in the James Bond film series, earned another $89.0M million this weekend overseas bringing the international total to $428.6 million. With this weekend’s $90M opening in the U.S. and Canada, the Sam Mendes-directed, John Logan-scripted, Daniel Craig-starring actioner now has an estimated $518.6M worldwide. Yowza!

Both Skyfall and DreamWorks Studios/Fox/Disney’s Lincoln received great reviews going into Friday and so their opening domestic box office sparked intense industry interest. Total moviegoing this weekend through Sunday was $160M, more than half of it from 007, so that’s a very nice +20% more than last year. “Skyfall blew past all expectations for the film,” gushed a Sony exec today, calling it “the biggest juggernaut in the history of the James Bond franchise”. Despite a four year hiatus during which some cynics thought 007 had jumped the shark, Skyfall opened in North America much larger than anyone thought. Rival studios thought Sony was low-balling with its $75M pre-release estimate. And on Saturday morning, the studio begged me to lower my sources’ $88M weekend estimate. But the actual number is $87.8M ($31.7M Friday, $33.9M Saturday, and an estimated $22.2M Sunday). Add in Thursday’s select 463 IMAX preview screenings and Skyfall‘s cume is now $90M. This is absolutely the biggest-grossing 007 movie ever in the string of films since 1962 – not adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices or IMAX premiums. It blows away Quantum Of Solace‘s $67.5M opening weekend in November 2008. After Skyfall received a coveted ‘A’ CinemaScore from audiences, word of mouth bumped grosses +7% from Friday to Saturday – even though Friday’s gross included $2.4M from Friday midnights. Skyfall‘s 3,505-run wide release in U.S. and Canada also set a new theater count record for the franchise and its #1 opening is the ninth to be released by Sony Pictures in 2012. IMAX took in $13.1M at their theaters as part of Skyfall‘s weekend box office. Exit polls showed 60% of the opening weekend audience was male and 40% was female with 25% under 25 years old. Sony also says the exits showed “extraordinary recommend numbers” so expect a great holiday run.

Internationally, Skyfall opened overseas October 26th, and going into this Friday the actioner had taken in $346.8M internationally. But Hollywood was betting that the worldwide total would be a gargantuan $500+M through Sunday – and it was. Sony’s markets earned $79.6M to bring the cume to $367.4M. MGM’s
distribution partners grossed $9.4M to bring their cume to $61.2M. James Bond #23 has now passed the $407.7M lifetime of Quantum Of Solace and on Monday will pass Casino Royale‘s $432.2M. As for top markets, the UK fell off just 30% in its 3rd weekend, grossing a huge $18.2M to bring the cume to $117.5M. It’s now the 4th biggest film of all time in the UK with £72.9M (and the biggest non-3D film) on its way to becoming #2 of all time on Monday. Germany was off just 30% from its opening frame, adding $15.1M for $44.0M. Others include France now $42.5M, Holland $9.4M, Switzerland $10.9M, Italy $12.1M, Russia $22.0M, Spain $9.9M, Sweden $11.3M, India $8.5M, Mexico $5.8M, Brazil $10.6M, Denmark $9.9M, Norway $9.1M, Korea $14.1M, and Austria $5.4M.

DreamWorks Studios/Fox/Disney’s PG-13 Lincoln platformed in just 11 theatres and overperformed. This massive opening will build even more Oscar buzz for Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tony Kushner, and the rest. Despite a running time of 2-hours/30-minutes, Lincoln surpassed insiders’ hopes that the biopic could debut with an impressive $40K-$50K per screen average through Sunday. Now the real number is $81,800 per screen average and $900K cume this weekend ($268K Friday, $347K Saturday, and an estimated $285K Sunday). “Off to an incredible start with sold out shows in a number of theatres across the country,” a studio insider tells me, with venues scrambling to add extra screenings. This all bodes well for Lincoln’s continued holiday play when Disney expands theater counts domestically. Twentieth Century Fox has overseas where surprisingly its other Honest Abe movie, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, did 66.6% of its business. So expect Spielberg’s pic to have heat abroad, too.

As for holdovers, last weekend’s #1 Wreck-It Ralph from Walt Disney Animation hung on for a strong -32% through Sunday, while #2 Paramount’s Flight posted a very good -39%. Full analysis later.

Here’s the Top Ten based on weekend estimates (may be refined):

1. Skyfall (Eon/MGM/Sony) NEW [Runs 3,505] PG13
Friday $31.7M, Saturday $33.9M, Weekend $87.0M

2. Wreck-It Ralph (Disney) Week 2 [Runs 3,752] PG
Friday $7.8M, Saturday $14.7M, Weekend $33.0M (-32%), Cume $93.6M

3. Flight (Paramount) Week 2 [Runs 2,047] R
Friday $4.2M, Saturday $6.5M, Weekend $15.1M (-39%), Cume $47.7M

4. Argo (Warner Bros) Week 5 [Runs 2,763] R
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $3.0M, Weekend $6.7M, Cume $85.7M

5. Taken 2 (Fox) Week 6 [Runs 2,487] PG13
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $1.8M, Weekend $4.0M, Cume $131.2M

6. Here Comes The Boom (Sony) Week 5 [Runs 2,044] PG
Friday $700K, Saturday $1.1M, Friday $2.5M, Cume $39.0M

7. Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros) Week 3 [Runs 2,023] R
Friday $710K, Saturday $1.1M, Weekend $2.5M, Cume $22.7M

8. Pitch Perfect (Universal) Week 7 [Runs 1,391] PG13
Friday $786K, Saturday $1.1M, Weekend $2.5M, Cume $59.0M

9. The Man With The Iron Fist (Universal) Week 2 [Runs 1,872] R
Friday $739K, Saturday $1.0M, Weekend $2.4M (-69%), Cume $12.7

10. Hotel Transylvania (Sony Animation) Week 7 [Runs 2,566] PG
Friday $505K, Saturday $1.1M, Weekend $2.3M, Cume $140.9M

Back to 007. “We are off to an amazing start,” Sony told me Friday morning as Skyfall began its roll out in North America. It did $2.2M in Thursday previews that were exclusive to 463 IMAX screens and Premium Large Format theaters. And beginning with Friday midnight shows, it did $2.4M for a combined total of $4.6M. “The matinee numbers are huge,” one rival studio exec told me by midday. “Right now the hourlys are very, very strong!” By early evening it was clear that matinees were “through the roof”, including exceptional performance from IMAX theaters now running with their regular schedule. After a 4-year-delay, James Bond #23 is a 3-way co-production among Eon Productions, MGM Studios, and Sony Pictures who all had to wait for MGM’s bankruptcy to get Skyfall‘s sorry financial and ownership state sorted out. Good thing, too, because the 007 franchise is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year (after Dr. No debuted in 1962). It’s now also the biggest Bond picture of all time in Britain. Setting records in dozens of overseas territories is a great indicator of how Skyfall will do at the North American box office. It started its IMAX showings Thursday and opens wide in 3,505 theaters today. Hollywood expects Skyfall to top both 2008′s Quantum Of Solace and 2006′s Casino Royale as the highest-grossing film in the Bond franchise (not adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices). Quantum Of Solace set a new Bond opening-weekend record with $67.5M but Skyfall could wind up around $75M. All-in domestic estimates for Skyfall in the U.S. and Canada now top $215M – much more than Quantum Of Solace‘s $168.3M or Casino Royale’s $167.4M. Even better for the studios and filmmakers, Skyfall cost much less than both other films. Also the audience for 007 looks to have expanded: Fandango tells me that 26% of online ticket-buyers for Bond #23 said they only see a “handful (2 or 3)” of films each year so Skyfall isn’t just reaching frequent moviegoers. Going into today, Skyfall was accounting for 58.79% (41.74% for standard screens and 17.05% for IMAX) of all online ticket sales on MovieTickets, and 65% on Fandango.

Meanwhile Fandango surveyed more than 1,000 Skyfall ticket-buyers and found that male moviegoers for the 007 film outnumber female 52%/48%, 54% said Adele’s new theme song increased their awareness of the movie, 78% said the grittier action increased their interest in seeing the movie, 39% (the majority) picked Daniel Craig as their favorite Bond while only 35% picked Sean Connery, 47% said it’s important for them to see the film in IMAX, 29% picked Goldfinger as their favorite Bond villain/henchman followed by Blofeld (14%) and Jaws (13%). When asked for their favorite elements of the Bond series, 77% of respondents picked the action and stunts, 64% the exotic destinations, 56% picked the cool cars, 54% picked the gadgetry, 52% picked the villains, and 37% picked ‘the Bond girls’.

Overseas, Skyfall on Thursday became the UK’s all-time highest grossing 007 movie, taking in £57M ($91.2M) in just 12 days and passing The Dark Knight Rises. Quantum Of Solace grossed $586M (£367.4M) worldwide and Casino Royale $594.2M (£372.5M) as the highest-grossing film in the Bond franchise (not adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices). Skyfall will push past $600M at the very least. Grammy multi-winner Adele sang the Bond theme. Daniel Craig reprises his role as 007 — the 6th actor to play the art since Ian Fleming’s spy novels were made into movies — with Javier Bardem playing the villain Raoul Silva, and Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe as Bond girls. Mendes was the first Oscar-winner to direct a Bond pic. Meanwhile, Sony, MGM, and Eon are so pleased with Skyfall that its screenwriter John Logan already is writing the next two installments, Bond 24 and 25.