With little new to tempt audiences apart from a gory horror movie from a lesser-known franchise and an archly dark comedy starring Brad Pitt, it was up to the proven commodities to consolidate the gains of previous weeks.
Lionsgate's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 ruled the roost for the third weekend in a row, thanks to an estimated $17.4m (£10.8m) take that would have barely managed fifth place last weekend. Still, it was enough to edge out Sony, MGM and Eon's James Bond smash Skyfall and pushed the franchise climax past the $250m mark. Breaking Dawn – Part 2 still only ranks as the fourth biggest North American entry in the five-strong franchise. Eclipse is the leader on $300.5m, followed by New Moon on $296.6m and Breaking Dawn – Part 1 on $281.3m. However the finale is the highest grossing movie outside North America on $447.8m, which speaks to the growing potency of the global market.
Skyfall's extraordinary run continues and at this rate 007 stands a chance of crossing $270m in the US. The $623m international haul combines for an $877m worldwide running total. Given that the superspy brought in approximately $34m outside North America at the weekend, it is on course to reach $925m by the end of its service and build on its status as the biggest James Bond movie in history.
Killing Them Softly marks the reunion of Pitt and Andrew Dominik, the New Zealander who directed him in 2007 gem The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The movie takes place in 2008 and charts the fallout after three buffoons steal from a mob card game. Pitt is the gang enforcer called in to find the perpetrators. He has seldom been more menacing. Killing Them Softly is well acted, features plenty of stylised violence and is lifted by consistently excellent writing. But the droll tone cannot change the fact that the movie lacks a pay-off and I fear Dominik's ulterior motives and rarified intellectual sensibility is lost on a multiplex audience.
Prior to the movie's world premiere in Cannes, Dominik told me that his film is really about how a particular criminal ecosystem deals with the recession. Killing Them Softly would have been better suited to a limited release and the Weinstein Company only have themselves to blame for taking it out in 2,424 theatres. This should have been a platform: open the movie in several theatres, parlay the strong reviews into a gradual expansion and perhaps reach $30m. It will fall short of that number and fade from view quickly.
North American top 10, 30 November-2 December 2012
1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, $17.4m. Total: $254.6m
2. Skyfall, $17m. Total: $246m
3. Lincoln, $13.51m. Total: $83.7m
4. Rise of the Guardians, $13.5m. Total: $48.9m
5. Life of Pi, $12m. Total: $48.4m
6. Wreck-It Ralph, $7m. Total: $158.3m
7. Killing Them Softly, $7m
8. Red Dawn, $6.6m. Total: $31.3m
9. Flight, $4.5m. Total: $81.5m
10. The Collection, $3.4m
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