Entertainment & Arts

Bond's Skyfall soars at US box office

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

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.

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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