The third time was the charm for Ben Affleck as his third directorial outing became the #1 movie in America during its third weekend of release. "Argo" collected an estimated $12.3 million over the weekend even as four new releases floundered. Overseas, "Skyfall" generated a queen's ransom of $77 million, two weeks ahead of the new Bond flick's U.S. debut.
Tom Hanks' sci-fi epic "Cloud Atlas," from "The Matrix" masterminds Lana and Andy Wachowski, was #3 with a $9.4 million debut, which was the highest of the weekend's new releases. "Silent Hill: Revelation 3D" was #5 with just $8 million. "Fun Size" barely cracked the top 10 with $4 million, while Gerard Butler's "Chasing Mavericks" opened with just $2.2 million.
The latest James Bond movie, featuring Daniel Craig as 007 for the third time, opened in 25 foreign markets, beating the debuts of "Casino Royale" and "Quantum of Solace" thus far. "Skyfall" had the second-biggest three-day debut ever in the U.K., behind only "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2." Incidentally, Craig is the only actor aside from Roger Moore to play Her Majesty's most famous fictitious spy who was actually born in England. Sean Connery is Scottish; George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton are both Welsh; Pierce Brosnan, Craig's immediate predecessor in the role, is Irish.
"Argo" has now made $60.7 at the domestic box office, and has generated a lot of Oscar buzz along the way. "Argo" has earned only $3 million less than Affleck's second directorial outing, "The Town," at the same point in its run.
"Hotel Transylvania" continued to truck along, gathering another $9.5 million to land at #2. Featuring the voice of Adam Sandler alongside many of his usual cohorts like Kevin James and David Spade, the kid flick has earned $130.4 million in the U.S. "Taken 2" is the fall's other $100 million movie so far, with $8 million over the weekend for a $117.3 million total.