Box Office: “Spectre” opens 17% lower than “Skyfall, “Peanuts” not quite a blockbuster

Bond2It was obvious from the product tie-ins, the clumsy way the studio promoted it and the early reviews that “Spectre” represented a pretty serious fall-off in the again-burgeoning James Bond franchise.

Not fatal, just serious. It turns out the critical fall-off was steeper than the box office one, but it still was telling. Box office returns on opening weekend show this $245 million film, opening on more screens, managed $73 million. Those numbers are closer to “Quantum of Solace” ($67 million). Worldwide, it’ll do great. But the U.S. take, with a 50-65% falloff the second week — steeper than usual because it’s just not as good — looks to be significantly lower than “Skyfall.”

Daniel Craig knew it, which is why there was all this British press about him being ready to exit the franchise. So maybe all the speculation about who will replace him will gain urgency. He’s done well, but this franchise is entirely too costly to risk on somebody less committed to the part.

They spent the money this time, and the digitally augmented explosions and set-piece Villain’s Lair stuff was still only mildly impressive. Christoph Waltz was entirely too-on-the-nose as the villain, and probably entirely too costly. He gave us nothing unexpected.

The car chase was feeble, and so on and so on.

So, $73 this weekend, probably low $30s next. It will have to get into the black playing overseas. As for its place in the Bond Box Office All Time Sweepstakes?

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Oddly enough, “The Peanuts Movie” did almost what “Wreck it Ralph” did opening against “Skyfall,” as Box Office Mojo notes.

It opened bigger than “Hotel Transylvania,” but just below “Hotel Transylvania 2.”

Decent, on the low end of higher expectations for the film ($50something should have been within reach). But whatever the familiarity of the TV specials, kids are decades removed from this brand, so that’s a hats-off to parents for dragging their kids to a 3D version of the animation they loved when they were children. The second weekend should be strong, though it won’t do the repeat business of some animated fare. It’s not a “ride,” but more a sweet and soulful kids-life cartoon.

Look for its overall take to be in the $165 million or so “Hotel Transylvania 2” will have taken in when it loses the last of its screens.

“The Martian” will clear $200 million by Thursday.

“Goosebumps” is doing well, but less than spectacular. It will be lucky to hit $80 million before its screens disappear.

“Bridge of Spies” is holding audience and screens, but doesn’t look like it will reach $70, unless it gets an Oscar bump.

“The Intern” has done better than that, and remains in the Top Ten one more week.

The Christian football drama “Woodlawn” has made its money, and will lose screens and audience when “My All American” opens Friday. Probably.

“Suffragette” isn’t yet setting the world on fire in limited release, “Steve Jobs” will not hit $20 without Oscar help, “Spotlight” is winning the per screen average in very limited release.

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