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Weekend Wrap-Up

James Bond Seduces North America

By John Hamann

November 11, 2012

So is this James Bond movie of mine doing better than that Cloud Atlas movie of mine?

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It is also no secret that the overseas box office results have drummed up interest in North America. Before Skyfall even opened domestically, it had already taken in over $300 million from other places on the planet. If this did cost $150 million to make, Sony and the latest iteration of MGM were already in the black before the film arrived in North America, and its gross here would be pure profit. I would argue that point somewhat, given that the marketing budget must have matched the production budget, making the "true" cost at least $300 million. However, given its opening weekend and the fact that it will have more of Casino Royale’s trajectory than Quantum’s, this Bond is going to step it up a notch, and finish as the Bond movie that gets closest to $300 million – or clears it.

Finishing second this weekend is Wreck-It Ralph, which got its lunch money taken by James Bond. Skyfall simply dominated on Friday night, likely leaving only the little rooms for the holdovers. Even so, Wreck-It Ralph held up quite well in its second frame. After pulling in $49 million last weekend, Wreck-It Ralph fell only 33% to $33.1 million. Considering what we know about CGI animated films, this second weekend hold is stellar. Tangled, Disney’s last non-Pixar release in November, opened to almost the same amount as Wreck-It Ralph, but fell a large 55% in its second weekend, a frame where the only new movie was a Ninja flick that finished ninth. The difference between the two is that Tangled opened on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving. Films that open over that long weekend are apt to fall on that first December frame, a weekend that has become notorious for its failings. Had Tangled opened over an earlier weekend in November, logic says it would have had a similar fall. The Incredibles, which opened the same weekend as Wreck-It Ralph, fell 29%, and is one of the best Pixar releases ever. The fact that Wreck-It is only a few percentage points away from The Incredibles brings good tidings for its future, although Rise of the Guardians now looms, only 10 days away. The Disney release has now earned $93.7 million against a budget of $165 million.




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Third is Flight, and was likely more impacted by the new Bond than Wreck-It Ralph was. The Denzel Washington drama earned $10 million more than tracking was expecting last weekend, pulling in $25 million. This weekend, times were tougher, as now audiences know that this is less of a thriller on an airplane, and more of a character study of an alcoholic pilot. Still, good reviews and an Oscar-worthy performance by Washington led it to a second weekend gross of $15.1 million, or about the amount Flight was supposed to earn in its first weekend. Let’s also not forget that Flight was made for only $31 million – super cheap in these days of Skyfall-like budgets. Flight has already earned $47.8 million and will likely earn another $50 million on top of that.

Argo drops to fourth, and is impacted by Skyfall like Flight was. Now five weekends old, the Ben Affleck thriller took in another $6.7 million, but sees by far the biggest decline of its run so far, dipping 34%. Like Flight, Argo was affordable, and the $45 million thriller has now earned $85.7 million. I am expecting it to finish very close to the $100 million mark, or more.


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