Spectre, the 24th James Bond opus, rang up $11.3 million last weekend plus $751,000 in previews on 618 screens for a total of just over $12 million.
That’s below Skyfall’s $12.3 million four-day debut in 2011 but it ranks as the fourth biggest launch of the year behind Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Fast & Furious 7.
Meanwhile The Dressmaker showed great legs in its third weekend, mustering $2 million as it dropped by 34 per cent.
Jocelyn Moorhouse’s dramedy has pocketed $11.6 million, surpassing The Water Diviner’s $10.1 million calendar year earnings to become the second highest local grosser released this year, behind Mad Max: Fury Road’s $21.6 million.
As IF had foreshadowed, The Dressmaker, Oddball ($10.74 million) and Alex & Eve ($400,000) have propelled Australian films’ B.O. receipts past $80 million, an all-time record in dollars, eclipsing 2001’s $63.4 million.
Thanks largely to 007, The Dressmaker and the latest Bollywood blockbuster, nationwide takings shot up by 70 per cent to $17 million last weekend, according to Rentrak's estimate.
The Sam Mendes-directed Spectre has hauled in $US130.7 million in the US (falling by 50 per cent to $35.4 million in its second weekend) and $413.1 million in the rest of the world, for a total of $543.8 million.
In China, the Sony/MGM/Eon blockbuster raked in $48 million, the market’s highest opening weekend of all-time for a US 2D release.
Despite the stellar Australian debut, the action-adventure has little chance of reaching Skyfall’s $49 million lifetime cume, given the looming competition from the last chapter of The Hunger Games on Thursday and J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode V11- The Force Awakens on December 17.
Director Sooraj R. Barjatya’s romantic drama Prem Ratan Dhan Payo fetched $606,000 in its Australian opening on 36 screens, a per-screen average of more than $16,800.
Released during the Diwali holidays in India, the film starring Salman Khan in the dual roles of a happy-go-lucky guy looking for love and a prince, smashed the record for the biggest Bollywood opening ever, taking $27 million in four days.
Effusive reviews for He Named Me Malala did not pay off as the documentary about the Pashtun girl who champions the cause of female education in the Muslin world after being shot in the head by the Taliban brought in $56,000 on 36 screens, including previews.
Roadshow gave Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, the tale of a Hollywood screenwriter trying to make sense of his life starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Antonio Banderas, Isabel Lucas and Teresa Palmer, a token release on 10 screens, grossing less than $10,000.