LOS ANGELES — It took the combination of James Bond and Charlie Brown to save the box office after a disastrous few weekends of flops. Both “Spectre” and “The Peanuts Movie” reinvigorated moviegoers who turned out in droves to check out the new fare, including buzzy limited-release titles like “Spotlight.”

“Spectre” took an easy first-place spot with an estimated $73 million, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday, to become the second-biggest Bond opening of all time. The 24th film in the 53-year-old series stars Daniel Craig as the dapper spy and cost a reported $250 million to produce.

Domestically, “Spectre” failed to live up to the record-breaking standard set by “Skyfall,” which debuted to $88.4 million in 2012 and went on to become the first film in the franchise to earn over $1 billion worldwide.

“We never expected it to open to the level of ‘Skyfall.’ It was a very different scenario. The competition was different, the weekend was different,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s president of worldwide distribution. “One thing I am certain of is that the Bond franchise is as healthy and strong as ever.”

Distributor Sony, who co-produced the film with Eon Productions and MGM, tried to manage expectations going into the weekend, predicting an opening in the $60 million range.

“It’s still a great number,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Rentrak’s senior media analyst. “For a franchise that’s over 50 years old, it’s really an astounding achievement.”

“Spectre’s” worldwide take is a different story. The film opened No. 1 in all 71 territories and earned a total of $117.8 million. It has earned a whopping $300 million worldwide in less than two weeks and still has yet to open in a few major markets, including China.

Stateside, though, reviews have been mixed, and “Spectre,” unlike “Skyfall,” had competition in its first weekend in theaters with another beloved set of characters – Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

“The Peanuts Movie” provided a family-friendly alternative to James Bond’s guns and martinis and took second place with a strong $45 million.

– The Associated Press


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