Box Office: Biggest Bond ever as ‘Skyfall’ grosses $87.8 million

James Bond may be celebrating his 50th anniversary on the big screen, but the performance of “Skyfall” this weekend in the U.S. is a clear indicator some franchises just get better with age.

Opening four years after “Quantum of Solace,” the Sam Mendes-directed “Skyfall” grossed a mammoth $87.8 million for the weekend.  Including IMAX screenings on Thursday, “Skyfall” has made $90 million to date.  That handily beats “Solace’s” $67.5 million which was the franchise’s largest opening before “Skyfall.”  Daniel Craig’s third go-around as the iconic spy, the critically acclaimed thriller opened a few weeks ago across most of Europe and has already grossed $428.6 million internationally.  Already on track for the highest grossing Bond of fall time, the question is whether it will crack the $200 million mark domestically.  Considering the picture received an “A” Cinemasore and it has little competition in its demo over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, it would be smart to bet on Bond.

Dropping to second place was Disney Animation’s hit “Wreck-It Ralph.”  The only relatively new family film in the marketplace, “Ralph” earned another $33 million for $93.6 million in just 10 days. The potential best animated feature winner at February’s Academy Awards will have to contend with some stiff competition, however, when “Rise of the Guardians” opens on Nov. 21.

The third slot went to Robert Zemeckis’ drama “Flight.” Featuring an awards-worthy performance by Denzel Washington, “Flight” found another $15.1 million for a strong $47.7 million also in just 10 days. “Flight” should easily surpass $85 million at the box office when all is said and done.

Ben Affleck’s “Argo” dropped to fourth with another $6.7 million and $85.7 million so far.  The positive word of mouth should help it cross the $100 million mark (eventually).

“Taken 2” rounded out the top five with $4 million and $131.2 million to date.

In limited release, Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” used critical support for $900,000 in just 11 theaters.  Opening in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., “Lincoln” had a superb $75,000 per screen.  DreamWorks and distributor Disney are trying to spin that the film’s 2 and half hour running time affected the gross, but Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” had a similar length and averaged $147,000 in five theaters this past September.  That’s not to knock the Spielberg drama’s success, but it provides some perspective on the results. “Lincoln” expands nationwide on Friday.

New releases this week include “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 2,” “Silver Linings Playbook” in 11 markets, and the aforementioned “Lincoln” expansion.

Final box office results are released on Monday.