LOS ANGELES James Bond is in a box-office photo finish with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny over what looks to be the last slow weekend of the holidays.
According to studio estimates, Sony’s Bond tale Skyfall took in $10.8 million to move back to No. 1 in its fifth weekend.
That put it narrowly ahead of Paramount’s Rise of the Guardians, the animated adventure of Santa, the Easter Bunny and other mythological heroes that pulled in $10.4 million.
The two movies inched ahead of Summit Entertainment’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, which had been tops for three straight weekends. The Twilight finale earned $9.2 million, slipping into a tight race for No. 3 with Disney’s Lincoln, which was close behind with $8.9 million.
The weekend’s only new wide release, Gerard Butler’s romantic comedy Playing for Keeps, flopped with just $5.8 million, coming in at No. 6.
Skyfall raised its domestic total to $261.4 million and added $20.3 million overseas to bring its international income to $656.6 million. At $918 million worldwide, Skyfall has the best cash haul ever for the Bond franchise and surpassed Spider-Man 3 at $890 million to become Sony’s top-grossing hit.
The Twilight finale also is a franchise record-breaker, surpassing the $710 million worldwide haul of last year’s Breaking Dawn - Part 1. The finale’s domestic total now stands at $268.7 million.
Rise of the Guardians led the international box office with $26 million, followed by 20th Century Fox’s Life of Pi at $23.8 million.
The box office is expected to soar this weekend with the arrival of part one of The Hobbit, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings prelude. After that comes a steady rush of action, comedy and drama through year’s end, including Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher, Quentin Tarantino and Jamie Foxx’s Django Unchained, Seth Rogen’s The Guilt Trip and Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe’s Les Miserables.
“The last couple of weeks of the year are some of the strongest every year,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. “We are on the cusp of some really huge box office. There’s a lot of money still left in the year despite this slow period right now.”
Hollywood’s domestic revenues have topped $10 billion so far this year, with the industry expected to finish 2012 ahead of the all-time high of $10.6 billion set in 2009.
Trashed savagely by critics, FilmDistrict’s Playing for Keeps stars Butler as a washed-up soccer star trying to reconnect with his ex-wife (Jessica Biel) and young son. The cast includes Catherine Zeta-Jones and Uma Thurman as soccer moms with the hots for Butler.
In limited release, Bill Murray’s Franklin Roosevelt drama Hyde Park on Hudson opened solidly with $83,280 in four theaters, averaging a healthy $20,820 a cinema. By comparison, Playing for Keeps averaged $2,027 in 2,837 theaters.
Released by Focus Features, Hyde Park on Hudson stars Murray as Roosevelt, whose intimate relations with a distant cousin (Laura Linney) become a source of strength and distraction as the president plays host to the king and queen of England on the eve of World War II.
MovieStyle, Pages 32 on 12/14/2012
Print Headline: 007 bumps Twilight, returns to No. 1