Box Office: 'Spectre' Opens to $73M in U.S.; 'Peanuts' Grabs $45M

Overseas, 'Spectre' took in $117.8 million for an early worldwide total of $300 million after opening in the U.K. two weeks ago; 'Spotlight' shines at the specialty box office, where 'Brooklyn' is also off to a solid start.

James Bond and Charlie Brown's gang re-energized the North American box office after a dismal few weekends.

Spectre launched to $73 million from 3,972 theaters, the second-biggest opening for any film in the iconic spy franchise, and one of the top showings of the year to date. Still, some had expected the tentpole to approach $80 million domestically. Overseas, Spectre also dominated, grossing $117.8 million from 76 markets for a global weekend take of $190.8 million and early worldwide total of $300 million. It placed No. 1 everywhere.

The Peanuts Movie, looking to launch a new family film franchise, opened to $45 million from 3,897 locations, a solid start considering newer generations aren't necessarily familiar with the late Charles M. Schulz's famous comic strip. Overall revenue for the weekend is expected to clock in at $162 million, a record for the first full weekend of November. That's good news for Hollywood following a string of high-profile misses.

Peanuts only launched in a few foreign markets this weekend, including China, where it opened to a poor $2.8 million amid fierce competition. Fellow Fox title Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and Universal's Everest also debuted in China, earning $19.8 million and $11.3 million, respectively. (There were also two Chinese films that debuted.)

Spectre — James Bond's 24th trip to theaters — couldn't match the $88.4 million domestic debut of Skyfall in November 2012, a series best, but beat the openings of Casino Royale ($40.8 million) and Quantum of Solace ($67.5 million). All four films star Daniel Craig as 007.

Sony, MGM and Eon Productions, partners on the tentpole, say Spectre faced more competition domestically than Skyfall, which had the weekend to itself in terms of new releases. "It's a fantastic start," said Sony worldwide distribution president Rory Bruer. "On every continent — including Latin America, Asia and Europe — it is breaking Skyfall records." 

Spectre outperformed Skyfall's opening in Mexico ($4.5 million), Brazil ($2.9 million), Russia ($5.8 million), Hong Kong ($2.4 million) and Malaysia ($2.3 million). It opened to a massive $20.1 million in Germany — on par with Skyfall — nabbing the biggest Saturday of all time. Spectre has yet to open in China, Japan, Australia and France.

And, after making history in the U.K. with the biggest opening of all time, Spectre fell just 29 percent in its second weekend of play there to jump the $100 million mark and put it ahead of Skyfall.

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. Spectre played heavily male (62 percent) and older, with 75 percent of ticket buyers over the age of 25.

The tentpole cost at least $250 million to produce after incentives and rebates, so 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.

The Peanuts Movie, costing just under $100 million to produce, coincides with the 65th anniversary of the strip and the 50th anniversary of the classic TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

From Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios, Peanuts is truly a family affair, with Schulz's son, Craig, and grandson, Bryan, co-writing the screenplay with Cornelius Uliano. In agreeing to hand over the film rights — a coup for Fox — the Schulz brood was insistent on retaining a certain amount of creative control. Steve Martino directed.

Peanuts enjoys strong reviews, as well as boasting an A CinemaScore. Families turned out in force (70 percent), while the audience skewed female (55 percent). Peanuts also played to an ethnically diverse audience, with Hispanics making up 26 percent of the audience.

"With the strong exit polls and being able to hit all segments of the moviegoing audience, I think we've launched a new franchise for younger people and reinvigorated it for everyone who grew up with the Peanuts gang," said Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson.

The story follows Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the gang as they embark on an epic quest when Snoopy takes to the skies to pursue the Red Baron.

Among holdovers, Fox and Ridley Scott's The Martian continued to prosper despite competition from Spectre, coming in No. 3 domestically in its sixth weekend with $9.3 million for a domestic total of $197.1 million, Scott's top showing of all time, not accounting for inflation. His previous best was Gladiator ($187.7 million). Martian has earned another $261.4 million internationally for a global haul of $458.5 million (and that's without China, where it debuts later this month).

Sony's family film Goosebumps placed No. 4 in its fourth outing with $7 million for a North American total of $66.5 million. Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks, rounded out the top five with $6.1 million for a domestic total of $55 million. The Cold War drama, produced by DreamWorks and Participant Media, is one of the few fall adult titles working on a nationwide scale.

As awards season heats up, the specialty box office saw the debut of three titles in select theaters: John Crowley's period drama Brooklyn, starring Saoirse Ronan; Tom McCarthy's Spotlight , starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams; and Jay Roach's Trumbo, starring Bryan Cranston.

Spotlight fared the best of the trio, grossing $302,276 from five theaters in New York, Los Angeles and Boston for a location average of $60,545, a strong showing for the filmmakers, Participant Media and Open Road Films. Spotlight follows the team of reporters and editors at The Boston Globe who exposed the Catholic Church child-molestation scandal.

Next weekend, the film will be playing in a total of 60 theaters in 17 markets; on Nov. 20, it will be showing in roughly 500 locations. "We're very cognizant of what's happened to other movies in the marketplace. So this is about taking an extra step and letting word of mouth power the expansion. It has a 96 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes alone," said Open Road chief marketing officer Jason Cassidy.

Fox Searchlight opened Brooklyn on Wednesday to get a jump on the competition. The film, about a young Irish woman navigating life and love New York City in the 1950s, grossed $237,389, a solid showing for a period drama. That includes $181,000 for the weekend for a three-day screen average of $36,200. "With all of the strong competition out there, we have been able to more than hold our own, and are already seeing the effects of the tremendous word of mouth that the picture is earning," said Searchlight's distribution chief Frank Rodriguez.

Brooklyn will expand more slowly than Spotlight. Next weekend, it will add five new markets for a total theater count of 23.

Trumbo, likewise opening in five theaters, debuted to $77,229 for a so-so location average of $15,445. The film, distributed by Bleecker Street, stars Cranston as blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

Nov. 6, 12:30 p.m. Updated with weekend estimates.

Nov. 7, 7:45 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers.

Nov. 8, 8 a.m. Updated with weekend estimates.