After 23 movies, the James Bond franchise is still growing, and Skyfall is on pace to clobber the domestic opening weekend record for the spy series.
On Friday, Skyfall rocketed away with $30.8 million (that’s not including the $2.2 million earned in Thursday night previews), which is the highest Friday gross ever for a Bond film. The previous franchise record was set by Quantum of Solace, which earned $27 million on Friday on the way to its $67.5 million opening weekend (also a franchise high). After one day, Skyfall is outperforming Quantum by 14 percent.
If it maintains that pace over Saturday and Sunday, the Daniel Craig feature will finish the weekend with a tremendous $77 million. Positive word-of-mouth could help the movie hold up better than expected, and a debut weekend above $80 million is not out of the question. Either way, Skyfall‘s debut will be the fourth best opening weekend in 2012 behind The Avengers ($207.4 million), The Dark Knight Rises ($160.9 million), and The Hunger Games ($152.5 million). More importantly, it will be the best in James Bond history.
In second place, Disney’s animated Wreck-It Ralph climbed to $7.8 million on its second Friday. The well-reviewed videogame comedy earned 42 percent less than it did on its opening day, but thanks to family-fueled Saturday and Sunday grosses it should stabilize and finish the weekend with a hefty $30 million.
In third, Flight descended by 48 percent from its first Friday to $4.3 million yesterday. The Denzel Washington vehicle may finish the weekend with about $14-15 million and $47 million total.
In limited release, the Steven Spielberg-directed Oscar contender Lincoln got off to an impressive start, earning $268,000 from 11 theaters. The historical drama scored a one-day per theater average of $24,368, which will likely climb to about $75,000 by Sunday evening, giving it an $800,000 weekend. The film moves into wide release next weekend.
1. Skyfall – $30.8 million
2. Wreck-It Ralph – $7.8 million
3. Flight – $4.3 million
4. Argo – $1.8 million
5. Taken 2 – $1.2 million
Check back tomorrow for the full box office report, follow me on Twitter for extra box office analysis and up-to-the-minute results!