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Skyfall continues ascent; tops US charts

Daniel Craig in Skyfall.

The Daniel Craig-starring, much-anticipated Skyfall made its US debut this weekend, continuing its winning streak and easily taking the top spot in the US and international markets with $87.8 million domestically and $89 million in its third week internationally. Helped by overwhelmingly positive reviews and an excitement-building four-year hiatus between this and the last Bond installment, Quantum of Solace in 2008, the film has an incredible foreign total gross of $428.6 million and is poised to surpass the current Bond franchise record for foreign box office intake, currently held by Casino Royale with $432.2 million.

In second place in the US, Disney Animation’s Wreck-It Ralph abided in its second week with $33 million, down from last week’s chart-topping $49 million, but still a strong showing thanks to positive reviews and multi-generational appeal. The film stars John C. Reilly as the voice of Ralph, an arcade-era video game villain who yearns to be a hero. Overseas, the Ben Affleck-helmed Iran Hostage Crisis thriller Argo took second place with $12 million.

Flight, the Robert Zemeckis drama starring Denzel Washington, slipped from second to third place with $15.1 million for the weekend. Washington continues to generate buzz for his turn as an alcoholic pilot who successfully crash-lands his plane. As of yet, Flight has not been released internationally, and is scheduled for a February release in the UK. Wreck-It Ralph took the third spot at the foreign box office with $11.2 million.

Argo came in fourth in the US with $6.7 million, marking its steepest decline yet from last week’s $10.2 million. Adam Sandler-voiced animated family film Hotel Transylvania captured a very close fourth on the foreign charts with $11.1 million.

Rounding out the top five, Taken 2 held on with $5.9 million in its sixth week, bringing its domestic total to $131.3 million, not far off from the franchise original’s $145 million. In fifth place internationally was South Korean teen fantasy-romance A Werewolf Boy, which has not been released in the US.

The Wachowkis’ epic Cloud Atlas finally experienced a bit of success, debuting at #1 in Russia and taking in $8.7 million internationally for the weekend in sixth place. It continued to underwhelm audiences and critics in its third week at home, settling for $2.5 million at seventh place, and has still only managed to recoup $31.4 million of its rumored $100 million budget.

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the eponymous president, had an impressive limited release at just 11 locations with $900,000. It will face the true test next weekend when it expands to 1,500 venues, but is unlikely to be in direct competition with the weekend’s most-awaited premiere, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.

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