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James Bond’s ‘Spectre’ Powers Past ‘Peanuts,’ Eyes $75 Million at Box Office

Daniel Craig thriller pacing behind ”Skyfall“ after $28 million Friday. Charlie Brown and gang eye strong $45 million

The James Bond action thriller “Spectre” sped past “The Peanuts Movie” in their box office debuts Friday, and the U.K.’s suave super spy is heading for an opening weekend north of $75 million in North America.

That would be well under the $88 million rung up by “Skyfall” two years ago, and at the low end of analysts’ predictions, though above the projections of distributor Sony Pictures for the action film from MGM and Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson‘s Eon Productions. Daniel Craig‘s fourth go-round as 007 brought in more than $28 million Friday, compared to the $30.5 million that “Skyfall” did on its first Friday. 

That November 2012 release became the highest-grossing 007 film ever after a Saturday surge that saw its grosses top its Friday number by 11 percent. Matching that will be a challenge for “Spectre.” The 24th entry in Hollywood’s longest-running franchise is the worst-reviewed of recent Bond films at 62 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite that, first-night moviegoers awarded it an “A-” CinemaScore, so we’ll see how word of mouth affects it the rest of the weekend.

“The Peanuts Movie” brought in $12.1 million on Friday and could hit $45 million in its opening weekend. That would be a terrific start for the film based on the classic comic strip  from Charles M. Schulz, which Fox hopes to turn into a family film franchise. The well-reviewed “Peanuts” (86 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes) received an “A” CinemaScore grade from moviegoers.

The strong showings by the PG-13-rated “Spectre” and the G-rated “Peanuts Movie” provided a much-need boost for the overall domestic box office, which is expected to be the biggest ever, but just suffered through the worst October in 15 years.

Both movies will be getting a lift from ticket premiums this weekend. The 3D “Peanuts” was in more theaters at 3,929 locations, but a full run of IMAX locations were among the 3,897 sites showing “Spectre.”

Neither film came cheaply. “The Peanuts Movie” has a $100 million production budget while Sony put that of “Spectre” at $245 million post-tax rebates.

The rest of the top ten looked a lot like the past few weeks. “The Martian” was third and eyeing around $9 million in its fifth weekend, after taking in $2.6 million Friday, just a 25 percent drop from last Friday. Sony’s “Goosebumps” (-32 percent) and DreamWorks and Disney’s Tom Hanks thriller “Bridge of Spies” (-26 percent) also held well and are looking at $6 million-$7 million.

None of last week’s disappointing openers turned it around. Bradley Cooper‘s “Burnt” fell off 43 percent and will be seventh with around $3 million for the Weinstein Company. Sandra Bullock‘s “Our Brand is Crisis” and “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” failed to make the top ten.

“Brooklyn,” a drama Fox Searchlight hopes to see in the Oscar race, is making noise in its limited debut. Starring Saorise Ronan as an Irish immigrant in 1950s New York, it took in took in $51,560 from five theaters for a $10,312 per-screen average on Friday. That projects to around $174,000 from the three days and an average of around $35,000 per screen.