3RD UPDATE, 9PM: As the old, crusty guy in the cabin tells 007 in Spectre: Mr. Bond, you’re like a kite, dancing around in a hurricane.” You could say the same thing about Spectre‘s opening weekend grosses. Matinee projections pointed toward an $80M weekend opening and by midnight Friday, Spectre‘s opening is closer to the estimates that were first projected earlier in the week: $75M.

spectreSpectre‘s Friday is currently looking like $28.1M for the Sony/MGM/Eon co-production, still second among the opening days of the last four Daniel Craig Bond films behind Skyfall‘s $30.5M and ahead of Quantum of Solace‘s $27M. Total estimated production cost on Spectre is at $250M with U.S. TV ad spend at $21.5M per iSpotTV. Already, overseas is well north of $80.4M. Factor in at least an estimated $100M P&A spend, and Spectre has a way to go before it breaks even.

Spectre received an A- CinemaScore, which is the same grade as Casino Royale, a tad lower than Skyfall‘s A, and thankfully higher than the B- that Quantum of Solace earned. One of the more interesting takeaways in regards to the difference between Spectre and Skyfall is that Daniel Craig’s popularity increased between the two films: 46% of the crowd came out for him this time vs. the 38% during Skyfall. The latest string of Craig 007 films have typically skewed toward older males, and that same demo was predominant tonight with 54% guys, 78% over 25. There was a tad more women this time around at Spectre with 46% to Skyfall‘s 40%. Both males and females gave the film an A-, but pulling down its score was the older 007 fans: The blue hairs, who repped 35% of the 50+ demo, gave Spectre a B+.

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Even before the film opened, both Sony and other rival distribution executives predicted Spectre‘s slight downfall from Skyfall. It’s just tough to top that film. It set a new dramatic standard for the franchise from a character origins standpoint; the title alone referred to Bond’s childhood home estate. You can’t blame the marketing for Spectre. Tracking spectre 9increased over the last two weeks, which indicates marketing worked: Total awareness moved from 65% to 75%, while unaided awareness surged from 9% to 23%. Furthermore, Sony aligned itself with a slew of guy brands from Gillette razors to Jaguar Land Rovers.

From the March teaser trailer, Sony aptly promised that Spectre would continue the character story line it laid out with the previous Craig films, promptly picking up where Skyfall left off: MI6 HQ is now in ruins. Moneypenny gives Bond a box of Skyfall memorabilia, notably a childhood photo indicating he might have a long-lost relative in Spectre. Also, it introduced Christoph Waltz’s villain and the Spectre committee, a criminal org that first appeared in Dr. No.  However, rival distribution chiefs cited that the less-than-Skyfall reivews (Spectre has 62% to Skyfall‘s 93%) would certainly impact business. Bond skews heavily toward older males, and given how adults are swayed by critics, that’s why there’s a slowdown from Skyfall to Spectre.

bibi dahlWhen it comes to the further dramatization of Bond’s roots in Spectre, some critics feel that the movie is just grasping at straws in regards to its big reveals. I mean, it’s not like the snow bunny that Bond bed in For Your Eyes Only, Bibi Dahlarrives and announces “James, it’s been 34 years. I’d like to finally introduce you to your kids.” That would have been more of a logical, riveting payoff for Bond fans. (duly note that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have been part of the 007 scribe team going back to 1999’s The World Is Not Enough). Rex Reed of The New York Observer whined about Spectre: “The trouble is, we’ve seen it all before. Despite a plot trajectory that changes so often they seem to be making it up as they go along, everyone on and off the screen seems to be doing it by the numbers”. Wall Street Journal‘s Joe Morgenstern huffed, “Debilitating fatigue has set in…clumsy acts of cannibalization in a new movie that recycles old concerns about secret service operatives like Bond becoming obsolete in a high-tech world.”

THE PEANUTS MOVIEComing on strong and chasing Bond down: 20th Century Fox’s The Peanuts Movie which is reaping an A CinemaScore. Talk about overperformance. Friday is between $12M-$13M currently for the CGI version of the classic Charles Schultz cartoon, with an industry projected opening of $47M-$48M. The initial assessment for this animated feature was that the older parents were going to drag their kids to this movie, versus the other way around (which is the way it usually goes down). 38% of those taking in Snoopy and Charlie Brown were under 18 and they gave it an A+. The 25 under/over set was split 50/50, with slightly more females than men. Peanuts cost an estimated $100M with the cost of TV ads at $15.5M per iSpotTV.

BRIDGE OF SPIESAmong adult titles, Fox’s The Martian and Disney/DreamWorks’ Bridge of Spies continue to write their meal tickets throughout the fall. Martian is currently estimated to dip only 19% in its sixth frame with an estimated $9.5M FSS and a cume by Sunday of $197.3M. The Steven Spielberg-Tom Hanks combo is expected to post a soft decline of 26% in weekend four with $6.1M and a running total cume by the end of the weekend of $55M. Steve Jobs looks like it was infected with malware, but alas that’s not the case: The film lost 2,072 theaters, free falling 74% in its fifth weekend with $698K and a total cume of $16.6M.

spotlight 2Among the new arthouse entries, Open Road’s Spotlight looks to make that $50K per theater mark from five runs in Boston, New York and Los Angeles with an estimated FSS of $262K. Fox Searchlight’s Brooklyn looks to make $232K by Sunday after opening Wednesday with a per theater of $46K (over 5-days) from five runs in New York and Los Angeles. Bleecker Street’s Trumbo has less money in its pockets with a projected $14K per theater or $70K from five NY and LA runs.

The top 10 films for the weekend of Nov. 6-8 per industry estimates as compiled by Deadline’s Amanda N’Duka:

1). Spectre (SONY), 3,929 theaters / $28.1M Fri.*/3-day cume: $75M /Wk 1
*includes $5.25M Thursday night previews

2). The Peanuts Movie (FOX), 3,897 theaters / $12-$13M Fri. /3-day cume: $47-$48M /Wk 1

3). The Martian (FOX), 2,855 theaters (-363) / $2.7M Fri. (-23%)/3-day cume: $9.5M (-19%)/ Total cume: $197.3M / Wk 6

4). Goosebumps (SONY), 3,051 theaters (-567) / $1.7M Fri. (-44%)/ 3-day cume: $6.7M (-32%)/Total cume: $66M /Wk 4

5). Bridge Of Spies (DIS), 2,767 theaters (-106) / $1.8M Fri. (-28%)/3-day cume: $6.1M (-26%)/Total cume: $55M /Wk 3

6). Hotel Transylvania 2 (SONY), 2,274 theaters (-688) / $866K Fri. (-53%)/ 3-day cume: $3.6M (-39%) / Total cume: $161.6M /Wk 7

7). Burnt (TWC), 3,003 theaters (0) / $918K Fri. (-50%)/3-day cume: $3.1M (-38%)/ Total cume: $10.3M /Wk 2

8). The Last Witch Hunter (LGF), 2,286 theaters (-796) / $671K Fri. (-55%)/ 3-day cume: $2.2M (-57%) /Total cume: $23.15M /Wk 3

9). The Intern (WB), 1,071 theaters (-450) / $547K Fri. (-26%)/3-day cume: $1.9M (-23%)/Total cume: $71.5M/ Wk 7

10). Our Brand Is Crisis (WB), 2,202 theaters (0)/ $460K Fri. (-59%)/3-day cume: $1.6M (-51%)/Total cume: $6.1M /Wk 2


Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse (UNI), 1,151 theaters (-358)/ $186K Fri. (-73%)/ 3-day cume:$568K (-69%) / Total cume: $3.1M /Wk 2

Miss You Already (RSA), 384 theaters / $150K Fri. /3-day cume: $459K /Wk 1

Spotlight (OPRD), 5 theaters / $80K Fri. /3-day cume: $262K / Per screen: $52K /Wk 1

Everyday I Love You (ABS), 80 theaters / $64K Fri. /3-day cume: $201K /Wk 1

Brooklyn (FSL), 5 theaters / $55K Fri. /3-day cume: $175K / Per screen: $35K /Total cume: $232K /Wk 1

The Man In 3B  (FREE), 50 theaters / $40K Fri. /3-day cume: $119K /Wk 1

Trumbo (BST), 5 theaters / $22K Fri. /3-day cume: $70K /Per screen: $14K / Wk 1

2ND UPDATE, 12:15 PM: For 007, the box office, not diamonds, is forever. Industry projections have the opening weekend for Spectre at $80M — still the second-best James Bond opening behind 2012’s Skyfall– with an eye on a $30M Friday. By the way, Skyfall made $30.5M on its opening day. Rentak’s PostTrak currently reports a heavily older-male audience for Spectre at 65% to ladies at 35%. Over 25 is 74%. Of those moviegoers polled, a leading 34% came out because it’s a franchise they like.

spectre 3Again, the bigger the box office for Spectre in the long run, the more leverage that Bond rights holders –MGM chief Gary Barber and Danjaq producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli — will have in their negotiations as other studios vie for the franchise rights. Again, that discussion will happen after all the global receipts and ancillaries are counted on Spectre. CinemaScore, which will come in tonight, definitely will have an impact on the leg-out factor for Spectre. Of the past three Daniel Craig films, 2008’s Quantum Of Solace earned the lowest grade at B- and finaled at $168.4M, 2.5x its $67.5M debut. Skyfall had the best grade with an A and a domestic B.O. of $304.36M, which was 3.4x its $88.36M FSS opening. Casino Royale cashed in $167.4M off an A- CinemaScore, which repped a 4x leg-out from its $40.8M opening in 2006.

20th Century Fox’s The Peanuts Movie also is doing well, with a $14M Friday and a weekend that is at least in the mid-$40M range. Rival distribs think it could get to $50M. Some schools are off today due to parent-teacher conferences in the state of New Jersey and such cities as Los Angeles, Chicago and Denver, and no doubt this is contributing to business. Holding up well in third is Fox’s The Martian, which looks to be down 35% in its sixth frame at the No. 3 spot with $7.6M over the three-day and a cume by Sunday of $195.4M.

SpotlightIn regards to the handful of prestige specialty films, their foot traffic always is spurred by excellent reviews. I’m told with Open Road’s Spotlight, that if the film does less than $50K per theater, that would be unfortunate for a title that carries a glowing 96% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score. The Tom McCarthy-directed title about the Boston Globe’s investigation into the covered-up molestations by the city’s Catholic Archdiocese actually could hit that number. If Fox Searchlight’s Brooklyn gets $50K per theater, off its 99% fresh Rotten Tomato reviews, that would be a boon for them. Bleecker Street’s Trumbo, which only carries a 66% fresh score, likely will be around $25K per theater for the weekend. Adults come at night, so these art house B.O. figures could change drastically.

1ST UPDATE, 7:26AM: Last night, Mr. Bond started knocking over the casino at the North American box office, making a royal $5.25 million at 3,221 theaters from previews that started at 7 PM. Industry projections for Spectre‘s opening have risen slightly since earlier in the week, with a FSS of $75M-$80M at 3,929 theaters — the widest release ever for a Bond film. That would make the 24th 007 title the second-highest opener stateside in the franchise behind 2012’s Skyfall ($88.4M).

Sony has the film’s opening at a much lower level — in the $60M-$65M range — but many believe Spectre will be higher than that. Bond is also getting some Viagra from Imax and PLF bookings.

Spectre is a co-production between Sony, MGM and Eon, and it marks Sam Mendes’ second time in the director’s chair after Skyfall. To date, the 007 franchise through 24 titles has made in excess of $6.1B worldwide (that’s not counting Never Say Never Again). Sony’s three Daniel Craig Bond titles — Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace and Skyfall — rep close to 40% of that franchise cume.

SPECTRESpectre‘s anticipated less-than-Skyfall opening doesn’t mean that the Bond franchise is bound to have a heart attack. Many factors were working in Skyfall‘s favor when it opened in 2012: There wasn’t any competition at the box office, it was the 50th anniversary of 007, and the film, armed with a 93% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score, truly titillated fans. Skyfall took Bond’s origin story to a deeper level that had never been portrayed before on the big screen.

There has been some concern that older nostalgic adults will skip Spectre this weekend in favor of taking the kids to see 20th Century Fox’s The Peanuts Movie. In addition, Spectre is showing a soft spot with younger women under 25, with unaided awareness at 16%, whereas other demos are in the 20%-30% range. (Unaided is that portion of audience polling where a person names a movie title without any leading or prompting from a pollster).

The Peanuts moviePeanuts Movie didn’t hold previews last night. It is expected to make $40M-$45M at 3,897 venues. The film is tracking strongly among females of all ages, with men not too far behind. While animated fare typically debuts during the first weekend of November, Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles still holds the best opening for the genre during this period at $70.5M.

On Wednesday, Fandango showed Spectre beating Skyfall at the same point in its advance ticket cycle, while The Peanuts Movie was besting the pre-sales of early autumn hits Hotel Transylvania 2 and Goosebumps.

The-MartianMeanwhile, pre-industry estimates this morning (not reported by 20th Century Fox) show that Ridley Scott’s The Martian has clicked past 2000’s Gladiator ($187.7M) to become the director’s highest-grossing film at the domestic B.O. with a current running cume of $187.76M. Last night, the film was the No. 1 title outside of Spectre previews, making $950K. The film is expected to fall a bit this weekend no thanks to 007, with an estimated sixth frame of $6.5M. On a worldwide basis, The Martian at $435.6M has yet to topple Gladiator‘s global score of $457.6M.

And if you think the adult specialty marketplace is crowded already, look out for Bleecker Street’s Trumbo, Fox Searchlight’s Brooklyn and Open Road’s Spotlight as they jump into the fray today, largely playing in New York and Los Angeles.