James Bond and Snoopy Equal Spectre-acular Box Office
By John Hamann
November 8, 2015
Thank goodness for James Bond. Two shots to the head of October, and the box office nightmare we were living in becomes a distant memory.
After last weekend’s grosses were the lowest since the millennium turned, and the prior weekend presented two of the worst openers of all time, the box office is back today in a big way thanks to two big openers delivering a breath of fresh air to an extremely stale top 12.
Openers this weekend include Spectre, the follow up to Skyfall, the $1.1 billion worldwide behemoth that reinvigorated the Bond franchise. Spectre brings a lot more risk for its makers as it enters the domestic marketplace, as this one cost a ridiculous $260 million to bring to the screen, which will mean it needs to dominate globally in order for the raft of partners to see financial success. The Peanuts Movie is our other new entry this weekend, with Charlie Brown and Snoopy returning to the screen for the first time in decades. This one seemed like more of a gamble due to its extreme family-friendly nature and its normal home on TV, but it looks like Fox is on to something, and they did it without annoying us like Alvin and the Chipmunks (and its painful sequels).
Our number one film of the weekend is Spectre, the return of the new and improved James Bond, which is coming off its biggest outing yet – by a country mile. Living in the shadow of Skyfall can’t be easy – with its $88.4 million opening, $304.4 million domestic gross and $1.1 billion worldwide take. Having Spectre improve on those amounts was going to be difficult, but heading into the weekend, the Sony marketing machine had done its thing, creating large amounts of awareness after tub-thumping Spectre globally.
Bond and friends got started on Thursday night, earning a large $5.25 million. Skyfall was released differently, so that comparison is difficult – Skyfall went IMAX-only on its first day, earning $2.2 million, which wasn’t included in the overall Friday number or the weekend gross. It did have a traditional Thursday preview as well, earning $2.4 million, which was included in the Friday figure of $30.5 million. So, after Thursday preview amounts were counted, Spectre looked good, but these comparisons aren’t worth much.
The Friday number was telling, though, as Spectre put up a combined Thursday/Friday figure of $28 million, off a couple of million from Skyfall’s first Friday, but still stellar nonetheless. Things looked a little worse when looking at the difference between the "true Friday" for both pictures – the Friday amount without the Thursday preview amounts. Spectre had a ‘true Friday’ of $22.75 million ($28 million less $5.25 million from previews), compared to Skyfall's $28.1 million ($30.5 million minus $2.4 million from previews). What does all of this mean? It means that Spectre’s first Friday (with Thursday’s previews added in) could not keep up with Skyfall’s "true Friday" figure, and while Spectre was going to have a solid weekend, it wasn’t going to even approach the $88.4 million earned by Skyfall.