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As this weekend will once again prove, the power of a potent fan base can do wonders. Last weekend,the 50-year-old 007 series had its biggest opening ever in the United States as "Skyfall" grossed $90 million over its first three days. In a striking comparison, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 2" found $71.2 million on Friday alone.
Opening in an ultra-wide 4,070 theaters, the final installment in the "Twilight Saga" came in just under "Part 1's" $71.6 million a year ago and "New Moon's" $72.7 million in 2009. "Part 2" should gross between $135-137 million for the weekend which is a tad under the $138.1 million "Part 1" debuted with. To say the fan base has been incredibly loyal is something of an understatement. Even with stiff competition over the next month or so, Summit Entertainment and their parent company Lionsgate will celebrate anything between $270-280 million for the final installment domestically. And if it can come close to "Part 1's" franchise record $712 million global gross, that's gravy on what has been one of Hollywood's all-time profitable film series.
Dropping to the second spot is the aforementioned "Skyfall" with $12.3 million and $132.1 million to date. The critically acclaimed Bond adventure should end up with $37-40 million for the weekend. "Skyfall" is currently on track to surpass "Quantum of Solace's" franchise record $168.3 million domestic gross over the Thanksgiving weekend. A final tally north of $200 million seems a sure bet.
Third place went to DreamWorks Studios' "Lincoln" which found $6.3 million in just 1,775 theaters. The Steven Spielberg drama looks like it will end up with $18-19 million over the three-day frame. After grossing $1.4 million in just 11 theaters over the past week, the expected Oscar player has made $7.7 million in just 8 days.
Disney's family hit "Wreck-It Ralph" continues its impressive run with $4.3 million and $107 million so far. "Ralph" will likely surpass "Lincoln" for the third slot by Sunday.
Fifth place went to Robert Zemeckis' "Flight." Featuring another fantastic performance by Denzel Washington, the melodrama took in $2.5 million for $55 million to date.
Opening in just 16 theaters was David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook." The dramedy won the people's choice award at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival, but has just received solid returns with $120,416 Friday. That's a $7,526 per screen which should end up in the $22-24,000 per screen for the weekend. That's disappointing compared to the starts for some other Oscar hopefuls, but The Weinstein Company will have to hope word of mouth sells the picture better than a TV spot. Even less potent was Focus Features' release of "Anna Karenina." Joe Wright's adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy classic grossed $81,000 also in 16 theaters. That's a $5,075 average that will be hard pressed to hit $20,000 per by Sunday.
Look for complete weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFix.