Executives at Fox and Sony are doing a little dance after their new releases – The Peanuts Movie for Fox and Spectre for Sony – topped the weekend box office, signaling a turnaround after weeks of less-than-stellar returns.
Spectre, the 24th film in the long-running James Bond franchise, took first place with an estimated $73 million haul. That would be good for the second-best box office opening in the series’ 53-year history, following on the heels of Skyfall’s $88.4 million opening in 2012.
The film also marks star Daniel Craig’s fourth turn as the British secret agent. Stories have swirled for weeks that Craig might be angling for an exit after saying he would “rather break this glass and slash my wrists” than film another 007 adventure. He has since clarified that he was just trying to express how exhausted he is with the long production, one he isn’t keen to repeat soon.
The Bond producers have also said they want Craig back in the legendary role.
Meanwhile, Fox’s The Peanuts Movie saw the return of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and their pint-sized friends to the big screen after decades away. Where Spectre underperformed earlier studio estimates, the Peanuts gang did about $5 million more than Fox originally forecast to finish second with $45 million.
While its domestic showing might be a slight disappointment,Spectre likely won’t cast much doubt on future 007 tales coming to your local theater. Bond continues to draw very well abroad, with Sony’s Josh Greenstein saying that the studio is “really thrilled by the foreign box office. Bond is such a global franchise and Spectre is truly an international and global film.”
It also seems to be a hit with audiences, garnering an A- on CinemaScore despite an abundance of mixed reviews from critics.
Snoopy, meanwhile, had a little better luck with both critics and audiences. Exhibitor Relations’ analyst Jeff Bock told USA Today that “Peanuts will have legs through the holiday season.”
It’s also likely not the last you’ll see of Charlie Brown and company on the big screen.
“All signs point for this to be the beginning of a new Peanuts franchise,” Bock said. “This opening is exactly what the filmmakers needed for that.”
Rounding out the top 5 were Fox’s The Martian starring Matt Damon ($197.1 million after 6 weeks in release), Sony’s Goosebumps with Jack Black ($66.5 million after 4 weeks) and the Steven Spielberg-helmed Bridge of Spies from Disney ($55 million over 4 weeks).