Daniel Craig;Judi Dench Going into a sixth week of play, gruff James Bond vehicle SKYFALL finally beat its way back to the top after a couple of weeks playing second fiddle to the nubile teens of the TWILIGHT franchise. Taking a further £2.3M, SKYFALL edged ever closer to the record for biggest UK film set by AVATAR in 2009 (£94M) with a whopping £93.5M so far, and this without a 3D premium on ticket sales. At second position, TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN PART II took a further £2.2M to make a stonking £31M to date after three weeks of play, while at third, new kiddie start RISE OF THE GUARDIANS took a decent enough £1.9M ahead of inevitable long term business over the seasonal period. God bless us, everyone.

At fourth position more Christmas shenanigans with NATIVITY 2: DANGER IN THE MANGER took a further £1.2M, to put the seasonal sequel on a bracing £3.2M thus far. At fifth, a much needed valium from SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK took £747K to put the quirky romcom on £2.7M after two weeks, while at sixth, new opener GREAT EXPECTATIONS performed rather disappointingly with a £538K launch decidedly lacking in larks to average £1.2K from arguably too wide saturation launch. Pip pip. At seventh spot, hindi epic TALAASH took a tip-top £389K from a targeted 79 site launch to average £4.9K – the highest in the top ten – while at eighth position, fourth week hold ARGO trundled along nicely with £336K, and £4.5M to date – all but guaranteeing the political thriller will outbeat Affleck’s biggest directorial hit THE TOWN back in 2010 which wound up at just over £5M. At ninth, second week player END OF WATCH failed to ape its US smash, dwindling to £306K and a procedural £1.4M thus far, and finally at tenth, seventh week kiddie hold MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE’S MOST WANTED took £263K and £22M to date. Bring on the relentless, mind-numbing inevitability of a fourth entry in the franchise. Ba Humbug.

Of the remaining starts, poorly received US cop thriller ALEX CROSS took an underwhelming £226K from a wide release to average just over £1K. Critically lauded Britcom SIGHTSEERS opened in 92 sites to £185K and a decent £2K average, while Thomas Vinterberg’s devastating potboiler THE HUNT opened to a disappointing £30K to average £1.5K from a 17 site launch. However, Clint Eastwood’s grumpy old bastard vehicle TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE proved the biggest failure, kicking off with £41K from a wide release to average a miserable £237. Imaginary Obama will be laughing his socks off in that chair.

Over in the states, for the third consecutive weekend the top three remained unchanged. TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN PART II at the top spot took a further $17.4M down 60% on last week’s figure, SKYFALL at second place took $17M, while awards-baiter LINCOLN at third took a further $13.5M in a smashing third weekend of play. Buoyed by a comparatively low haul for the top ten – and some diasappointing studio openers from the likes of KILLING THEM SOFTLY and THE COLLECTION – a handful of smaller films fared better, with third weeker SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK proving the biggest indie success story, dropping just a slight 24% on last weekend’s figure to take $3.3M to average a very strong $9K and a smashing $10M so far.

On Friday there are wide launches for cutesy anti-romcoms CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER and THE ORANGES, pomo goings on in Neal McDonagh’s SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, as well as bonkers action in the RZA’s MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS and Miley Cyrus spy vehicle SO UNDERCOVER. God help us all. Then from Thursday punters can return to Middle Earth in the first entry in Peter Jackson’s THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY.


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