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'Spectre,' 'Peanuts' signal box office rebound

'Spectre,' 'Peanuts' signal box office rebound
Lucy pulls the football away from Charlie Brown again in "The Peanuts Movie." (Twentieth Century Fox and "Peanuts")
Secret agent James Bond rescued the box office after a string of October flops and propelled “Spectre,” the latest in the 007 franchise, to an estimated $73 million first-place finish for the weekend, followed by a solid showing for “The Peanuts Movie.”

“Spectre,” which stars Daniel Craig as the debonair, martini-drinking spy for the fourth time, had ticket sales in the United States and Canada that fell within the range of projections from the industry and from Sony, which produced the film with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and EON Productions.
“There's something to say about a Bond film,” said Sony distribution executive Rory Bruer. “We couldn't be happier.”
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The film fell short of its predecessor, “Skyfall,” which had an $88 million opening three years ago. “Spectre” is the most expensive of the series, costing an estimated $245 million, but industry analysts said the film could reach the $1-billion mark globally. “Skyfall,” which came with a $200-million price tag, raked in $1.1-billion worldwide.
“Spectre” has already taken in more than $80 million overseas,” Bruer said. “It grossed nearly $64 million in Britain in its first week of release, shattering the country’s record for the biggest opening. The film also broke the record for the best showing during the first week in November domestically, previously held by ‘The Incredibles.’”

Though critics were less enthusiastic, audiences polled by CinemaScore on average gave “Spectre” an A-minus grade.

Coming in second for the weekend was 20th Century Fox’s “The Peanuts Movie” with $45 million in domestic ticket sales.

“The ‘Peanuts’ group is back and in a big way,” said Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution at Fox. “We’re off to a tremendous start.”

Directed by Steve Martino, the film beat a cautious studio projection of $40 million, though it fell short of analyst projections that ran as high as $55 million. Given the studio's challenge of reintroducing Charlie Brown and the gang to a new generation and opening the first feature-length theatrical release on Charles Schulz’s work, Aronson said, the launch was a success.

About 70% of “Peanuts” viewers were families, and the film received an A from CinemaScore. The studio expects “The Peanuts Movie,” which cost about $99 million to make, will do well overseas, Aronson said, as Snoopy is a popular character internationally.
The weekend’s No. 3 film was “The Martian,” which added $9.3 million in its sixth weekend. The picture, also from 20th Century Fox, had led the box office four out of the previous five weekends. It has grossed an estimated $197.1 million in the United States and Canada.

Completing the top five were Sony’s “Goosebumps,” which pulled in $7 million, and Disney’s “Bridge of Spies,” which brought in $6.1 million. Both films were in their fourth weekend.

“Spotlight,” director Tom McCarthy’s drama about the Boston Globe’s 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of priest sexual abuse, did well in its first weekend of limited release. The Open Road film starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams averaged $60,455 on five screens, the best per-screen number of the week. It was followed by “Brooklyn,” starring Saoirse Ronan, which averaged $36,200 on five screens.

The box office as a whole remains up 5% compared with 2014, and big titles are on the horizon: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 2” arrives Nov. 20, followed by Pixar's “The Good Dinosaur” on Nov. 25 and Disney's “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on Dec. 18.

Twitter: @TrevellAnderson

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