James Bond showed remarkable staying power as the latest instalment of the spy series, "Skyfall," captured the box office title and collected $11 million in its fifth week in U.S. and Canadian movie theatres, outgunning Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2," the final instalment of the blockbuster vampire series.
"Skyfall," the 23rd film in the series featuring Agent 007, also led movies at the box office when it first opened on November 2 and is already the best-selling movie in the 49-year old series. This weekend, it became the highest grossing movie in Sony Pictures' history with $918 million in ticket sales worldwide. The film distributed by Sony's Hollywood studio, has collected nearly $262 million in domestic sales, according to the movie tracking site Hollywood.com.
The animated "Rise of the Guardians" from Dreamworks Animation was second with $10.5 million in ticket sales. The movie, which was made for $145 million, opened with a disappointing $23.8 million when it first hit movie theatres on November 21. Since then, it has been steadily working its way toward becoming a solid family hit this season.
"Rise of the Guardians, which features Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and other childhood favourites who join together to save the world, was one of two family movies in a season traditionally heavy in family films. The other, Disney's "Wreck-it Ralph," collected $4.9 million for seventh place.
"Breaking Dawn - Part 2," the box office leader for the past three weeks, tallied $9.2 million in ticket sales. The five-movie series, released by Lions Gate Entertainment, is based on Stephenie Meyer's best-selling book about young vampire love and has collected more than $1.3 billion in overall domestic ticket sales.
"Lincoln," which chronicles the 16th president's successful fight to pass a constitutional amendment outlawing slavery, had total ticket sales of $9.1 million, according to studio estimates provided by the box office division of Hollywood.com.
"Life of Pi," director Ang Lee's movie about a boy who escapes a shipwreck but then shares his lifeboat with a tiger, sold $8.3 million in tickets to finish in fifth place. The movie, released by the Fox studio, is based on a best-selling 2001 novel by Yann Martel.
Hollywood studios shied away from scheduling major movies this weekend, steering clear of the expected blockbuster "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," which Warner Brothers will release on December 14. The movie, based on the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy novel about wizards and dwarves, features many of the same actors from the blockbuster "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
The only new major release, the romantic comedy "Playing for Keeps" starring Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel, opened with a lackluster $6 million, which was on target with forecasts by industry experts.
(Reporting by Ronald Grover and Andrea Burzynski; Editing by Bill Trott and Jackie Frank)