Any doubt that the James Bond franchise would outlive us all was obliterated over the weekend, as Skyfall, the 23rd entry in the series, dominated the box office with $87.8 million, by far the biggest Bond opening ever. While it’s tempting to credit great reviews and strong buzz—to say nothing of the influx of hardcore Revolutionary Road fans, looking for their next Sam Mendes action fix—the market for Bond under Daniel Craig just keeps going up regardless of these factors. Skyfall bested the last entry (and previous record-holder), the rightly drubbed Quantum Of Solace, by $20 million and outright doubled Casino Royale, Craig’s more acclaimed Bond debut. But the positive word-of-mouth surrounding Skyfall will surely be meaningful in the long term: Despite the fast start, Quantum Of Solace dropped off sharply enough to end up making almost exactly what Casino Royale grossed domestically, but a brighter fate awaits Skyfall, which should power through Thanksgiving and into the holiday season with bigger numbers comparatively.
Meanwhile, an Oscar season lock, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, strengthened its position over the weekend. Opening on just 11 screens, the film raked in an astonishing $81,800 per screen for $900,000 total, capitalizing on the best reviews for a Spielberg film since Saving Private Ryan. (Prompting the question: Will there be a Shakespeare In Love to knock it off the perch? The best bet for that may be Silver Linings Playbook, which just happens to have Harvey Weinstein, the man who kneecapped Private Ryan, in its corner.) Other limited releases performed more modestly—much more modestly—though none had Disney money behind them. The provocative anti-comedy The Comedy brought in $6,000 on one screen while A Royal Affair did about the same average on seven screens. Indie moviegoers failed to show up for (the really good) Starlet, which managed a paltry $2,667 per screen on six screens. To quote Lillian Gish in The Night Of The Hunter: “It’s a hard world for little things.”
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.