Bond's Skyfall soars at US box office

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall Skyfall is Craig's third outing as James Bond, after Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace

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James Bond's Skyfall has taken a record $87.8m (£55m) in its opening weekend at the North American box office.

The third instalment starring Daniel Craig outperformed the $67.5m (£42m) US debut of 2008's Quantum of Solace, the franchise's previous best opening.

Skyfall took over the top spot from Disney's animated comedy, Wreck-It Ralph, which earned $33.1m (£20.7m).

In third place, Denzel Washington's Flight earned $15.1m (£9.4m).

Skyfall was the weekend's only new wide release but Steven Spielberg's Lincoln had a huge start in a small number of cinemas.

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th President, it earned $900,000 (£566,000) in just 11 locations with average ticket sales of $81,818 (£51,501) per theatre.

By comparison, Skyfall earned an average of $25,050 (£15,765) at each of the 3,505 locations at which it was screened.

Skyfall has now earned $518.6m (£326.5m) worldwide since its release at the end of October.

The 23rd Bond film also more than doubled the $40.8m (£25.6m) debut of Craig's first Bond movie in 2006, Casino Royale.

Rory Bruer, head of distribution at Sony, which produces the Bond films along with MGM said: "It's quite a testament to Bond, considering it's the 50th anniversary.

"What a great anniversary present," he added.

NORTH AMERICAN TOP FIVE

1. Skyfall $87.8m (£55m)

2. Wreck-It Ralph $33.1m (£20.7m)

3. Flight $15.1m (£9.4m).

4. Argo $6.7m (£4.2m)

5. Taken 2 $4m (£2.5m)

Source: Hollywood.com

Bond, one of Hollywood's most-enduring franchises debuted 50 years ago with Dr No and over the last two decades the films have earned an average of around $200m (£125m) each domestically in inflation-adjusted dollars.

While Skyfall marks a new high for Bond's opening-weekend revenue, it is still a way off the biggest audiences 007 has ever drawn.

Adjusted for inflation, Sean Connery's 1965 Bond adventure, Thunderball would have taken in an estimated $508m (£319.8m) domestically in today's dollars, while Goldfinger released in 1964 was close behind, earning $444m (£279m), according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.

It was an impressive weekend at the US box office with overall domestic revenues at $172m (£108m) - a 26% increase on the same weekend last year.

So far this year, domestic revenues are at $9.1 billion (£5.7b), up 4.3% from 2011, according to Hollywood.com.

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