LOS ANGELES, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- James Bond's appeal with nostalgic audience has once again been proven over the weekend as the latest installment of the blockbuster spy series debuted with 87.8 million U.S. dollars worth of tickets for an easy ride to the top of the box office in North America.
"Skyfall," the 23rd film in the 007 series which reprises Daniel Craig for his third romp as the legendary MI6 agent and one of the most famous character in the film industry, easily shattered the record of biggest bond opening in North America held by "Quantum of Solace," the last James Bond film which premiered to a 67.5 million dollar weekend four years ago. This feat well exceeded the projections of analysts. It is also the ninth No. 1 film which Sony distributed so far this year.
"Skyfall" has already raked in 33 million dollars in ticket sales from special showings in the United States and Canada between Thursday and Friday when the flick opened to general release at 3,505 locations, distributor Sony projected. The latest fare is poised for a worldwide receipt of 500 million dollars during its first week in exhibition. Sony ascribed the record opening to positive reviews, strong pre-sale figures and broad social media awareness. Its decision to open the spy flick two weeks before its North America debut also helped to build a good buzz.
The PG-13 rated film, which is directed by Sam Mendes (" American Beauty"), centers on Bond's efforts to track down and destroy a threat to his boss, M. It also stars Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Judi Dench and Naomie Harris.
"Skyfall" is also the first James Bond film which was released simultaneously in IMAX theaters. It is made on a budget of between 150 and 200 million dollars.
The Daniel Craig vehicle is an older audience-skewing fare. Seventy-five percent of those who have seen it were over the age of 25, and moviegoers assigned it an average grade of "A," according to market research firm CinemaScore.
"Wreck-It Ralph," a Disney animated film was in second place, with a 33 million dollar weekend. "Flight," a Denzel Washington vehicle released by the Paramount, finished in third place for an estimated 15.1 million dollar gate.
Rounding out the 10 most-popular films in the United States and Canada this weekend were "Argo" (USD 6.7 million), "Taken 2" (USD 4 million), "Here Comes The Boom" (USD 2.6 million), "Cloud Atlas" (USD 2.5 million), "Pitch Perfect" (USD 2.5 million), "The Man With Iron Fists" (USD 2.5 million), and "Hotel Transylvania" (USD 2.4 million).