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'Skyfall' has biggest Bond opening ever in US with $87.8 million

Sam Mendes' James Bond pic "Skyfall" easily seduced the North American box office with a potent $87.8 million debut, bringing its worldwide cume to $518.6 million.

The film's four-day domestic total is $90 million, including $2.2 million earned in exclusive Thursday runs in IMAX and other large-format theaters.

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Returning Daniel Craig in the role of 007 for a third time, MGM and Sony's "Skyfall" nabbed the biggest domestic opening for a James Bond pic. It also marked Sony's ninth No. 1 opening this year.

"Quantum of Solace" debuted to a series-best $67.5 million in mid-November 2008, and "Casino Royale" -- marking Craig's first turn as 007 -- opened to $40.8 million in November 2006.

"Skyfall" is doing massive business overseas, where it grossed $89 million during the weekend for an international total of $428.6 million. The pic began rolling out two weeks ago overseas.

The 23rd installment in the Bond franchise is certain to surpass the $586.1 million earned by "Quantum of Solace" and the $594.2 million grossed by "Casino Royale" in their entire worldwide runs.

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"It's been a wild, fantastic ride," Sony president of worldwide distribution Rory Bruer said. "The holds have been extraordinary and people will want to see this film again and again."

Domestic box-office revenue was up an impressive 27 percent over the same weekend a year ago thanks to "Skyfall" and a strong crop of holdovers including "Wreck-It Ralph," "Flight," "Argo" and "Taken 2."

"Skyfall" generated stellar numbers for IMAX theaters, which took in $13.1 million, the best debut for a nonsummer opening. IMAX's worldwide weekend number is expected to come in at $15.8 million for a $28 million cume.

Produced by Bond house EON Productions, "Skyfall's" domestic opening was buoyed by an A CinemaScore and stellar reviews. The film skewed older, with 75 percent of the audience over age 25. Males made up 60 percent of those buying tickets.

This time out, cinema's most famous spy must save both M -- again played by Judi Dench -- and MI6 from former operative-turned-villain Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). The movie also stars Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Berenice Lim Marlohe and Albert Finney.

"Skyfall" cost about $200 million to make after rebates.

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Opening in only 11 cities before it expands nationwide Nov. 16, Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" likewise earned an A CinemaScore and strong reviews. The DreamWorks film is distributed domestically by Disney.

"Lincoln," starring Daniel Day Lewis as the 16th president, grossed $900,000 for a pleasing location average of $81,818.

"The King's Speech" posted a per-screen average of $88,863 in its opening weekend in 2010, though that film debuted in just four theaters. "Black Swan" debuted in 18 theaters that year, posting a screen average of $80,212.

Disney Animation Studios' "Wreck-It Ralph" continued to be a box-office hit, falling a narrow 33 percent in its second outing to come in No. 2 for the weekend, grossing $33.1 million for a domestic cume of $93.7 million. The 3D toon earned another $11.2 million overseas for a global total of $120 million.

Paramount's awards hopeful "Flight," directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Denzel Washington, came in No. 3 in its second weekend, grossing a pleasing $15.1 million for a domestic total of $47.8 million.

Ben Affleck's "Argo" stayed high on the chart, grossing $6.7 million to place No. 4. The Warner Bros. pic has earned $85.7 million domestically.

"Taken 2," from 20th Century Fox and EuropaCorp, placed No. 5, earning $4 million for a domestic total of $131.2 million.

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