- Al Sharpton, Trayvon Martin’s parents rally against Fla. ‘stand your ground’ law
- Hillary Clinton campaign got illicit funds from D.C. scandal figure
- Obama administration backs off plan to cut prescription-drug program
- Tickets linked to stolen passports purchased by Iranian middleman
- More than 3,500 police planned for Boston Marathon
- Ottawa day care suspends 2-year-old for ‘outside’ cheese sandwich
- Liam Neeson tells NYC mayor to ‘man up’ in horse carriage fight
- Real-life Dr. Doolittle to reveal how to talk to animals
- Climate change could bring back smallpox, researchers say
- Shoe-bomb witness to speak from London at N.Y. trial
‘Skyfall,’ ‘Guardians’ duel for box-office win
LOS ANGELES (AP) - James Bond is in a box-office photo finish with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny over what looks to be the last slow weekend of the holidays.
According to studio estimates Sunday, Sony’s Bond tale “Skyfall” took in $11 million to move back to No. 1 in its fifth weekend.
That put it narrowly ahead of Paramount’s “Rise of the Guardians,” the animated adventure of Santa, the Easter Bunny and other mythological heroes that pulled in $10.5 million.
The two movies inched ahead of Summit Entertainment’s “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn _ Part 2,” which had been tops for three-straight weekends. The “Twilight” finale earned $9.2 million, slipping into a tight race for No. 3 with Disney’s “Lincoln,” which was close behind with $9.1 million.
The top movies were bunched up so closely that rankings could change once final weekend revenues are released Monday.
The weekend’s only new wide release, Gerard Butler’s romantic comedy “Playing for Keeps,” flopped with just $6 million, coming in at No. 6.
“Skyfall” raised its domestic total to $261.6 million and added $20.3 million overseas to bring its international income to $656.6 million. At $918 million worldwide, “Skyfall” has the best cash haul ever for the Bond franchise and surpassed “Spider-Man 3” at $890 million to become Sony’s top-grossing hit.
The “Twilight” finale also is a franchise record-breaker, surpassing the $710 million worldwide haul of last year’s “Breaking Dawn _ Part 1.” The finale’s domestic total now stands at $268.7 million.
“Rise of the Guardians” led the international box office with $26 million, followed by 20th Century Fox’s “Life of Pi” at $23.8 million.
The box office is expected to soar next weekend with the arrival of part one of “The Hobbit,” Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” prelude. After that comes a steady rush of action, comedy and drama through year’s end, including Tom Cruise’s “Jack Reacher,” Quentin Tarantino and Jamie Foxx’s “Django Unchained,” Seth Rogen’s “The Guilt Trip” and Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe’s “Les Miserables.”
“The last couple of weeks of the year are some of the strongest every year,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. “We are on the cusp of some really huge box office. There’s a lot of money still left in the year despite this slow period right now.”
Hollywood’s domestic revenues have topped $10 billion so far this year, with the industry expected to finish 2012 ahead of the all-time high of $10.6 billion set in 2009.
Trashed savagely by critics, FilmDistrict’s “Playing for Keeps” stars Butler as a washed-up soccer star trying to reconnect with his ex-wife (Jessica Biel) and young son. The all-star cast includes Catherine Zeta-Jones and Uma Thurman as soccer moms with the hots for Butler.
In limited release, Bill Murray’s Franklin Roosevelt drama “Hyde Park on Hudson” opened solidly with $83,280 in four theaters, averaging a healthy $20,820 a cinema. By comparison, “Playing for Keeps” averaged $2,115 in 2,837 theaters.
TWT Video Picks
Stunt raises carbon-dioxide level with lots of hot air
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Depth, distance reduce impact of California quake
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: 'We are going to crush them'
- Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS after months of talks
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- New faces finding ways to win on the PGA Tour
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Prosecutors: Gray had firsthand knowledge of 'shadow campaign'
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again