There were four wide releases opening domestically this weekend and not one of them made any real impact at the box office. The big news was the overseas debut of Skyfall (review) which opened in the UK two weeks ahead of its US debut. The 23rd official James Bond film earned a massive $77 million in the 25 markets it debuted in. The film earned a massive $32 million in the UK alone, for the second-biggest UK debut weekend of all time, behind the 3D-enhanced Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II. It earned far more initially than Casino Royale ($21 million) and Quantum of Solace ($24 million), setting the stage for a massive US debut and what will surely be the biggest 007 film yet domestic and worldwide. I don't think it's the best 007 film or that it should be an Oscar contender, but it's a darn good movie and anyone merely wanting a top-flight bit of action will be thrilled with this entry. I can't imagine it not opening huge and playing for a rather long time, especially as it will be unopposed in the mega-blockbuster department (Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn II will play exclusively to its fanbase, massive as it is) for a month until The Hobbit part 1 of 30 opens on December 14th.
Fun Size was an interesting experiment, a Nickelodeon funded kids comedy set on Halloween to serve as an antidote to the likes of Paranormal Activity 4 (down 70% in weekend two for an $8.6 million second weekend and a ten day total of $42 million but a worldwide total of $91 million) and Sinister ($39 million in 17 days). Alas the film ended up with a PG-13. Hence it was considered too adult for kids but too kid-friendly for older audiences. Without any big stars on the poster (sorry Victoria Justice), the film fizzled with just $4 million (the 64th worst wide-release opening of all time). The Curtis Hanson/Michael Apted surfing melodrama Chasing Mavericks earned just $2.2 million (the ninth-worst wide release opening of all-time), proving that Gerald Butler is only a star with a strong opener when paired with the likes of Jennifer Aniston or Jamie Foxx.
The top film was in fact Ben Affleck's Argo (review) which has become the defacto adult film of choice and the current Oscar front runner. The film earned $12.3 million in its third weekend, giving it a 17-day total of $60 million. It's still $4 million behind The Town although it once again had a bigger third weekend ($9 million for The Town). I expect it to take a hit in two weeks when Skyfall becomes the 'every grownup sees it' film, but it will have around $80 million by that time and it's still on track to top $100 million at its current pace. In other holdover news, Alex Cross dropped 56% in weekend two, which is about the norm for a Tyler Perry film. But since we're dealing with an $11 million debut instead of a normal $20-25 million opening, it's pretty ugly. The truly mediocre picture has earned just $19 million in ten days meaning it will barely gross its $25 million budget domestically.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower has now earned $11 million, or about what it could have opened to with even a halfway decent wide-release push. Pitch Perfect is an example of doing the platform thing right, and it's now at $53 million. The Bourne Legacy actually crossed $250 million worldwide, proving that sometimes Americans do have better taste when it comes to half-assed spin-offs. Looper has crossed $60 million domestic and Hotel Transylvania, with $130 million, is now Sony Animation's biggest hit ever (it still dropped only 27% this weekend). Here Comes the Boom has had surprisingly okay legs and now has $30 million. Finally Taken 2 earned another $8 million and now has $117 million. It may not quite get to the original's $145 million domestic take, but it's already well above the first film's worldwide gross and is heading towards $300 million if it's not there already.
That's it for this weekend. Join us for the unofficial start of the holiday season next frame as Robert Zemeckis's Flight faces off against Disney's Wreck It Ralph (review tomorrow) and the RZA/Russell Crowe martial arts epic The Man With the Iron Fists.