Box Office: 'Spectre' Stays No. 1 With $35M; Angelina Jolie Pitt's 'By the Sea' Marooned
Among new players, adult-skewing comedy 'Love the Coopers' opened to a better-than-expected $8.4 million; 'Spectre' launches to record-breaking $48 million in China, while Bollywood's 'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo' makes history.
Spectre and The Peanuts Movie had no trouble beating a trio of new competitors during another quiet weekend at the North American box office, while Angelina Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt's By the Sea was marooned in its limited debut despite teaming two of the world's biggest stars.
Sam Mendes' Spectre fell a modest 50 percent in its second weekend to $35.4 million from 3,929 locations for a 10-day domestic total of $130.7 million. However, that's still well behind the $161 million earned by Skyfall by the end of its second weekend in North America. The 24th installment in the James Bond franchise is making up ground overseas, where it is pacing ahead of Skyfall in many markets, taking in another $152.6 million over the weekend for a foreign total of $413.1 million and global haul of $543.8 million.
Spectre opened to a record-breaking $48 million this weekend in China after a major publicity push that included visits by Daniel Craig and other members of the cast. It's the biggest three-day opening of all time for a Hollywood 2D title, and isn't that far behind the $59 million earned all in by Skyfall in China, according to Sony, MGM and Eon Productions. And it nabbed the biggest Friday of all time for a 2D title with $15 million.
Spectre also opened in France this weekend, where it took in a strong $14 million despite Paris theaters closing over the weekend in the wake of Friday's devastating terrorist attacks.
The Peanuts Movie placed No. 2 in North America with $24.2 million from 3,902 locations after declining 44 percent in its second weekend. The animated family film has grossed $82.5 million to date.
Among new offerings, all eyes were on By the Sea, a moody marital drama written and directed by Jolie Pitt, who also stars. The movie sunk in its limited debut, grossing $95,440 from 10 theaters for a dismal location average of $9,544. Comparisons are tough, but George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck posted a location average of $38,313 when it opened in 11 theaters in 2005. Generally speaking, box-office observers say By the Sea should have pulled in a theater average of at least $25,000-$30,000 to be considered a player.
By the Sea — ravaged by critics — marks the first time the two stars have appeared together on the big screen since Mr. & Mrs. Smith in 2005. While that film was a major commercial play, By the Sea is a throwback to the art house movies of the 1970s. Universal wanted to stay in business with Jolie Pitt after she directed Unbroken for the studio, and agreed to a $10 million net budget.
"Engaging on a project like this after the extraordinary success of Unbroken was a great opportunity to remain highly collaborative with this filmmaker," said Universal distribution chief Nick Carpou.
Universal says the plan was always to treat By the Sea as a specialty movie, although many had assumed it would open nationwide. Jolie Pitt's film debuted in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C. Next weekend, it will be playing in 100 theaters in 40 markets.
Among the three new nationwide players, holiday comedy Love the Coopers fared the best, opening to a better-than-expected $8.4 million from 2,603 theaters, thanks to older females. Jessie Nelson's film stars John Goodman, Diane Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Olivia Wilde and Alan Arkin, and follows a Christmas Eve celebration turned upside down as four generations of the Cooper clan gather together.
CBS Films, home of comedy Last Vegas, is looking for Love the Coopers to have strong legs throughout the Thanksgiving holiday. Coopers cost between $17 million and $18 million to make, and is being distributed by Lionsgate via its deal with CBS Films. Females made up 70 percent of the audience, while 82 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 25.
“Our partners at CBS Films did a phenomenal job setting up the only family-friendly comedy for an opening that perfectly positions it to stand out from the dark dramas, R-rated pictures and action films coming ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday," said Lionsgate distribution executive David Spitz.
Ridley Scott's The Martian continued to stay high up on the chart in its seventh weekend after crossing the $200 million mark domestically on Thursday. The space epic grossed $6.7 million for a domestic total of $207.4 million and worldwide haul of $477.4 million.
Rounding out the top five was Patricia Riggen's Chilean mining drama The 33, opening to $5.8 million from 2,452 theaters.
The $26 million movie, from Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros., recounts the 2010 disaster that saw 33 miners trapped inside the San Jose Mine in Chile for two months. The film stars Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin, Lou Diamond Phillips and Mario Casas.
In an unusual twist, the weekend boasts at least three new films directed by women — By the Sea, Love the Coopers and The 33.
Elsewhere, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo impressed in opening to $2.4 million from only 286 theaters for Fox International Productions and Fox Star Studios. The film, placing No. 9, boasts one of the best U.S. debuts ever for a Bollywood title. And it made history in India, scoring the biggest Bollywood opening of all time with four-day earnings of $27 million. It likewise broke records in the U.K. with $1.5 million.
In North America, Prem Ratan easily beat the $1.4 million of faith-based offering My All-American, which opened nationwide in 1,565 theaters.
My All-American is in a close race with The Last Witch Hunter and Spotlight for the No. 10 spot; the order won't be determined until final weekend numbers are tallied Monday morning.
Written and directed by Angelo Pizzo, My All-American is based on the real-life story of college football player Freddie Steinmark, played by Finn Wittrock. The cast also includes Aaron Eckhart, Sarah Bolger and Robin Tunney. Clarius Entertainment, which specializes in releasing faith-based titles, is handling the movie, which was acquired by Avrion Pictures for $1 million and performed best in the South and Texas.
Tom McCarthy's Spotlight, starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, is proving to be one of the few success stories of the fall in terms of adult dramas working at the specialty box office.
Expanding into a total of 60 theaters in its second weekend, Spotlight earned a strong $1.4 million for an enviable location average of $23,307 and early domestic total of $1.8 million. From 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.
John Crowley's Brooklyn, starring Saoirse Ronan, is expanding more slowly, upping its theater count to 23 locations in its second outing. From Fox Searchlight, the period drama also did nicely, earning an estimated $485,000 for the weekend for a location average of $21,086 and early total of $832,996.
Nov. 14, 7:45 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers
Nov. 15, 8 a.m. Updated with weekend estimates.