As just about every observer seems to have predicted, the final installment of the Twilight saga (Breaking Dawn, Part 2) continued to do stellar business over Thanksgiving, raising its take to $226 million domestically by the end of its second weekend, and almost $578 million globally. New releases Rise of the Guardians, The Life of Pi and the Red Dawn remake posted more modest grosses - $32 million, $30 million and $22 million respectively between Wednesday and Sunday, with the first number judged by those analysts I read a significant disappointment given the budget and expectations, the second regarded as quite solid given the difficulty of marketing the material and the expectations of strong international business (the film has already picked up another $17 million overseas), and the third not too shabby given that it too has been difficult to sell - albeit for very different reasons.
As these numbers indicate, however, none of them made the number two spot, to which Skyfall held on, taking in $36 million over the three day period, and almost $44 million over the four day period. This brought its American total to almost $222 million, and helped bring its global total up to an astonishing $790 million - well past Casino Royale's inflation-adjusted earnings (and those of Moonraker, The Spy Who Loved Me and You Only Live Twice too), so that it is in fact running behind only three previous Bond films, Live and Let Die, Goldfinger and Thunderball. The movie seems nearly certain to overtake Live and Let Die (which grossed a little under $840 million in today's terms) over the coming week, to have a fairly good chance of overtaking Goldfinger ($930 million in 2012 dollars) some time after - and as some have suggested, even a shot at the number one spot (occupied by Thunderball, with its $1.035 billion in ticket sales).
I have to confess that I am mystified by the scale of the film's success. Even granting the response to the previous Daniel Craig films, the year's special marketing opportunities, the critical adulation, the boost from IMAX revenues, it is a surprise that the film has done quite so well. Whatever else may be said about it, Skyfall clearly does not seek to provide the sorts of pleasures with which the Bond films were associated in their heyday, nor those of the other films we expect to see in the billion-dollar club - quirky robots, giant extraterrestrial robots, adolescent wizards, superstars of comic book superherodom.
So what do you think? Is Skyfall's success just noise, or is it signal?
The Weekend Box Office, November 16-18
My Posts on James Bond