James Bond soars to box office record with "Skyfall"

Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:33pm EST
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By Chris Michaud and Lisa Richwine

(Reuters) - James Bond can don the tuxedo and break out the Dom Perignon after the super spy returned to theaters in record fashion at the weekend, blowing away box office rivals with $87.8 million in ticket sales for the U.S. and Canadian debut of new movie "Skyfall" for the biggest opening in the franchise's history.

The best North American opening for the 50-year-old Bond franchise adds to a strong tally of $428.6 million for "Skyfall" overseas. Globally, the movie starring Daniel Craig as 007 has now earned $518.6 million since first hitting international theaters on October 26, distributor Sony Pictures said.

"Skyfall" handily beat Walt Disney Co animated movie "Wreck-It Ralph," the story of a video game character who destroys everything in his path. The family film that topped last week's charts grabbed $33.1 million from Friday through Sunday and slipped to second place.

Denzel Washington drama "Flight," about an airline captain who saves a plane from crashing, pulled in $15.1 million to finish third.

Bond's allure proved unbeatable in "Skyfall," the third movie starring Craig and the first in four years. The last Bond film, "Quantum of Solace" in 2008, opened with a then-record $68 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters.

"We've always been very bullish about the film, but I don't think anyone expected the kind of stunning numbers that we've seen," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Corp's Sony Pictures studio.

"How many pictures in just over two weeks have earned more than half a billion already?" he told Reuters.

"We've seen huge openings in every country that it's opened in. It's going to be one for the history books," Bruer added.   Continued...

Cast members Daniel Craig (L) and Berenice Marlohe pose for photographers during a photocall to promote their film "Skyfall" in Berlin October 30, 2012. The film opens in German cinemas on November 1. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz