Box Office: 'Spectre' Falls to $70M Debut in North America

Spectre Still 2 Daniel Craig - H 2015
Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures

On Sunday, estimates released by Sony put the tentpole's opening at $73 million.

Final numbers for the weekend box office show Sam Mendes' Spectre opening to $70.4 million in North America, versus the $73 million Sony estimated on Sunday.

The difference is due to slower-than-expected traffic on Sunday.

While Spectre boasts one of the top openings of the year to date, it fell far short of the record-breaking debut of the last installment in the iconic spy franchise, Skyfall, which earned $88.4 million on its first weekend in November 2012, a series best.

The opposite is true overseas, where Spectre is outpacing Skyfall in many European, Latin American and Asian territories. Estimates show the tentpole grossing $117.8 million from 76 markets over the weekend for an early global cume just shy of $300 million (it opened in the U.K. two weeks ago, and has already crossed $100 million there.)

Spectre cost at least $250 million to produce after incentives and rebates, so it will need to do sizable business at the global box office, or $900 million-plus by some estimates. Skyfall grossed $1.1 billion all in.

Daniel Craig returns for the fourth time as 007 after Skyfall, Quantum of Solace, which debuted to $67.5 million domestically in 2008, and Casino Royale, which launched to $40.8 million in 2006.

Sony, MGM and Eon Productions, partners on the tentpole, say Spectre faced more competition than Skyfall, which had the weekend to itself in terms of new releases. Spectre opened opposite Fox's The Peanuts Movie, which debuted to $44.3 million.

Peanuts also came in behind Sunday estimates, which showed the animated family film opening to $45 million. More often than not, final box-office numbers vary from Sunday figures released by studios, although the difference is usually within $1 million.

Skyfall's Sam Mendes returned to direct Spectre, which follows 007 as he travels the globe attempting to uncover a sinister organization. Christoph Waltz joins as the villain, while Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci star as the new Bond girls. The film earned an A- CinemaScore from audiences, although it received the worst reviews of any Bond movie Craig has appeared in.