James Bond was the boss and Gerard Butler was a bust at the box office over the weekend.
"Skyfall," the highest-grossing 007 adventure in history, reclaimed the top spot as the combined might of strong holdovers like "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" and "Lincoln" made mincemeat of "Playing For Keeps."
A romantic comedy that paired Butler with Jessica Biel, "Keeps" was the second flop for the "300" actor in as many months. Despite being the weekend's only major new release, the soccer-centric flick opened with just $6 million on the heels of Butler's surfing movie "Chasing Mavericks," which opened to a paltry $2.2 million in late October. A mere 2 percent of film critics gave "Playing For Keeps" positive marks, according to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
"Skyfall" sat at 92 percent on the Tomatometer at press time. Positive word of mouth and worldwide buzz (remember that Daniel Craig/Queen Elizabeth moment at the Olympics?) have put Craig's third turn in the tuxedo past the $918 million mark worldwide. The Sam Mendes-directed 23rd chapter in the world's longest-running franchise took in another $11 million Stateside over the weekend, raising its domestic total to $261.6 million.
Speaking of mega-franchises, the final entry in the "Twilight" series finally surrendered the top spot after a three-week victory lap. "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" had to settle for #3 with another $9.2 million toward its $268.7 million gross, which is just about $1 million ahead of where "New Moon" had landed by the same period in its run.
Despite getting off to a weak start, "Rise of the Guardians" managed to climb to #2 with $10.5 million. Carrying a reported production cost of $145 million for DreamWorks Animation, the kid flick's $61.9 million three-week domestic gross is still far from a success. But its holiday-themed premise should help it continue to generate some interest.
"Lincoln" inched closer to the $100 million mark as it came in at #4 with $9.1 million. Disney's Oscar-buzzing historical epic has earned $97.3 million. Director Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" rounded out the top five with $8.3 million.
Theaters have cleared more than $10 billion domestically this year. The impending arrival of films like "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and "Les Miserables" should put the year past the record $10.6 billion gathered in 2009.