Art Directors Guild Awards: ‘Skyfall’ Best Contemporary Film, Fantasy Film To ‘Life Of Pi’, Period Film ‘Anna Karenina’; Also ‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’, ‘Girls’, 84th Oscars, ‘SNL’

By | Saturday February 2, 2013 @ 7:42pm PST

Art Directors Guild Awards 2013 WinnersSkyfall and James Bond were the big winners tonight as the Art Directors Guild handed out its 17th Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards for 2012. Unlike the Academy, the ADG divides production design for film honors into in three distinct categories — Period Film, Fantasy Film, and Contemporary Film — allowing Oscar rivals Anna Karenina and Life Of Pi to both take home top trophies. Meanwhile, Skyfall and its production designer Dennis Gassner took the Contemporary Film honors during the awards Art Directors Guild Awards 2013ceremony at the Beverly Hilton hosted by Paula Poundstone, who kept the stylish below-the-line crowd rolling with trade-oriented zingers throughout the night. (The ADG loves her — it’s Poundstone’s fourth consecutive year doing her outsider stand-up comic routine as emcee.)

Earlier in the evening, the Bond franchise’s production gurus Gassner, Ken Adam, Peter Lamont, and Allan Cameron were honored with the guild’s Cinematic Imagery Award, recognizing the longest-running franchise in film history for its visionary and innovative design. Gassner called the franchise “the greatest privilege of my life and career”. The only person to take the stage twice tonight, he joined the Bond team as production designer on Quantum Of Solace and Skyfall and is working on the next Daniel Craig-starring sequel, Bond 24. “It’s a joy to be able to work with such good people,” he said from the podium after winning the final award of the night, “because it’s such hard work.”

It won’t be the last we hear from Bond this awards season: the Academy plans its own tribute to the franchise, and Adele is singing the Skyfall theme, during the Oscarcast on February 24.

Art Directors Guild Awards 2013In other top honors tonight, production designer Sarah Greenwood staked her claim as the Oscar frontrunner, winning the Period Film prize for Anna Karenina, and David Gropman won the Fantasy Film award for Life Of Pi. Both brought their considerable crews onstage with them. “No designer acts by himself, so I thank my fantastic crew that helped me on this journey”, Gropman said.

Before the show, four-time Oscar nominee Greenwood spoke with Deadline about her ADG and Academy Award nominations for Anna Karenina (she won her first ADG award for 2010′s Sherlock Holmes): “I get more nervous [with each nominated film]. The first time we came out we had no idea what this was all about. You come in like an ingenue and you’re very naive. Now you come out and it’s quite scary, you’ve really got to keep it up. We always said Anna Karenina was a ‘marmite film’ — you either love it or hate it. And the reactions have been quite profound. People either got it, or they haven’t got it, and that’s fine. Joe had a very strong vision for this and we followed it through.”

Awards in nine categories of production design for film, television, commercials and music videos were announced during the evening, which saw Star Trek production designer and art director Herman Zimmerman receive the guild’s Art Directors Guild Awards 2013Lifetime Achievement Award. Family Guy creator (and Oscars 2013 host) Seth MacFarlane spoke of Zimmerman’s Star Trek legacy in a taped video: “Herman Zimmerman deserves a lot of credit that I don’t think he’s ever received for creating what is the most original production design for a spaceship that we’ve ever seen in the modern era of filmmaking.” The guild also enshrined Preston Ames, Richard MacDonald, and Edward S. Stephenson into the Hall Of Fame.

On the TV side, Saturday Night Live and the Academy Awards were repeat winners, while Girls (Judy Becker), Game Of Thrones (Gemma Jackson) and American Horror Story: Asylum (Mark Worthington) also scored. Following is a complete list of winners:

17th Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards

Contemporary Film
SKYFALL
Production Designer: Dennis Gassner

Gassner previously won the Oscar for his work on Bugsy the same year he earned an Oscar nomination for Barton Fink. He is a man of few words but has the presence of mind to add a last important thank you before he departs the dais: “Thank you to David Gersh, my agent.”

Fantasy Film
LIFE OF PI
Production Designer: David Gropman

Period Film
ANNA KARENINA
Production Designer: Sarah Greenwood Read More »

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BFI Reports Mixed UK Box Office & Production Statistics For 2012

By | Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 6:46am PST

The British Film Institute has released box office and production stats for the UK in 2012 that offer up a mix of good, bad and unsurprising news. Box office was up just a touch after being dented by summer events that turned attention away from the multiplex. At the same time, investment from abroad dropped drastically after a record 2011 that included the shoots of The Dark Knight Rises, Dark Shadows, Skyfall, Prometheus, Snow White And The Huntsman, World War Z and Wrath Of The Titans.

The overall UK spend of features that started production in 2012 was £927M ($1.47B), a 29% drop on 2011’s record-breaking £1.29B. A total of 26 so-called inward investment movies, including Warner Bros.’ All You Need Is Kill, Red 2 for Lionsgate/Summit, Paramount’s Jack Ryan and Universal’s Fast And Furious 6 and Kick Ass 2, contributed £631M compared to the 34 films in 2011 which spent £1B. Simon Oakes, producer of 2012′s top indie, Woman In Black, thinks the trend is cyclical. “I don’t think this is a forever stat. We’ll probably see this year that it will come back up again. Look, if there was an intention not to spend money by the U.S. studios in the UK, Warner Bros. wouldn’t have spent money on Leavesden,” Oakes tells me about the £100M+ Warner invested on a London-adjacent studio facility after the end of the Harry Potter franchise. Read More »

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James Bond Writers Neal Purvis And Robert Wade To Pen Gaumont’s ‘Barbarella’ Series

By | Tuesday January 29, 2013 @ 8:13am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who have co-written five James Bond movies including the most recent Skyfall, have come on board to write Barbarella, Gaumont International Television’s upcoming series based on the character created Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Skyfall’ China B.O., Alberto Sciamma’s ‘Bite’ & More

By | Friday January 25, 2013 @ 10:10pm PST

‘Skyfall’ On Track To Beat ‘Quantum’s China Cume In 7 Days
As of Thursday night, Skyfall’s 4-day cume in China was $17.9M, handily breaking the coveted 100M yuan mark. The film opened Monday and is playing on 8,079 screens in the country’s widest release ever. Sony says the 23rd James Bond film that has already broken the $1B mark internationally, is on track to outgross the last Bond film, Quantum Of Solace, in its first seven days in China. The movie’s release on Monday, at $5.1M, was almost three times that of Quantum. It came out amid reports of some tweaks by the local censors and calls by film industry insiders for reforms to the movie review system. Shi Chuan, a professor at Shanghai University’s school of film & TV arts and technology, proposed laws be put in place for censors to follow and said, “Movie regulators should respect the producers’ original ideas, rather than chopping scenes arbitrarily.”
Read More »

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OSCARS: Adele To Perform Nominated ‘Skyfall’ Theme Song On Telecast

By | Wednesday January 23, 2013 @ 3:53am PST

BREAKING: The Oscars have perenially ignored James Bond, but this year — despite a snub for Skyfall in the Best Picture category — they’re upping the 007 quotient. Along with a tribute to the franchise’s 50th anniversary during the Oscar telecast, producers announced today that they’ve lined up Adele’s first live performance anywhere of the Oscar-nominated original theme song, “Skyfall.” A likely ratings draw, this will also be the British superstar singer’s first TV appearance since the Grammys last year. She’s nominated for writing the Skyfall tune along with Paul Epworth. Here’s the Academy’s release:

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter Adele will perform the Oscar®-nominated theme song from the latest James Bond movie at the 85th Academy Awards®, the show’s producers announced today. “Skyfall,” from the film of the same name, was announced as a nominee for Original Song at the Academy’s Nominations Announcement on January 10. The song, written by Adele and Paul Epworth, is the first Bond theme ever to debut in Billboard’s Top 10 and the first to be nominated for an Oscar since “For Your Eyes Only” in 1981.

Read More »

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China: ‘Skyfall’ Opens Strong As Bond Film Debut And ‘Cloud Atlas’ Premiere Raise More Questions About Censorship

By | Tuesday January 22, 2013 @ 1:24pm PST

Both Skyfall and Cloud Atlas have been making waves in the Chinese media during the past few days, turning a spotlight on the notorious censors at the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. They’ve also highlighted why, as my local contacts often refrain, doing business in China is never cut and dried.

James Bond juggernaut Skyfall opened to $5.1M in China on Monday, almost three times the debut of Quantum Of Solace. The film, which prominently features the Shanghai skyline and shows off Macau in what could pass for a travel brochure, is understood to nevertheless have had some scenes modified ahead of release, the BBC reported. The shooting of a Chinese security guard is said to have been excised, and a mention of torture by Chinese security services is said to have been subtitled to remove the reference. Mathew Alderson, a Beijing-based partner at law firm Harris & Moure who specializes in entertainment, tells me that although he has not seen the Chinese version of Skyfall, the reported cuts are “fairly typical examples of censorship. The Chinese are inclined to remove anything that portrays them in a negative light. It could be something as obvious and simple as having Chinese security guards appear ineffective, or because they wouldn’t want people to get the idea that you can walk into some building in Shanghai, kill the guard and walk up to the top of the building… It gets down to a bunch of censors who make decisions based on what they regard as better representing the national prestige of China and directly, or indirectly, the prestige of the Party.”

At the same time, a question hovers over Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer’s sci-fi epic Cloud Atlas which just had its Beijing premiere Read More »

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OSCARS: Who Got Snubbed By Academy?

By | Thursday January 10, 2013 @ 5:53am PST

Some Oscar dreams flourished and some were dashed with this morning’s announcement of the 85th annual Academy Award nominations. Academy voters can be as harsh as they can be predictable, and some snubs seem designed to sting. Thankfully some take it with a degree of humor. “I just got snubbed for a flu shot at CVS,” tweeted Prometheus co-writer Damon Lindelof today. Here are some of the directors, films and actors who got left out today even though they might have deserved better.

Related: OSCARS: 85th Academy Award Nominations

Kathryn Bigelow The Zero Dark Thirty director was the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker– she won’t be repeating that feat this year even though her film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden was nominated for Best Picture. “Kathryn Bigelow was robbed. So f—ed up. #recount,” tweeted ZD30 producer Megan Ellison after the nominations were announced Thursday.

Leonardo DiCaprio – He got a Supporting Actor nomination from the Golden Globes for his Calvin Candie in Django Unchained but nothing today — cast mate Christoph Waltz got the nod.

Marion Cotillard – No Best Actress for her Rust and Bone performance?

The Intouchables A big hit at home and France’s submission for Best Foreign film, this comedy-drama Weinstein released movie got treated like an untouchable.

Ben Affleck No Best Director or Best Actor for Argo. Really? Even though it got a Best Picture nomination?

Related: OSCARS: Nominations By Studio & Distributor

Skyfall Yes it’s a James Bond movie. But, as the PGA recognized, it is a Sam Mendes-directed Bond movie starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem. It would have been a nice addition to the tribute the Academy plans for the Bond movies’ 50th anniversary during the Oscarcast, but Oscar himself was neither shaken nor stirred beyond Adele’s best song nom.

Cloud Atlas Not even a technical nomination? The Academy must have really hated it.

John Hawkes – His performance in The Sessions made this past nominee seem a sure thing for a Academy Award nomination – what happened Oscar?

Rise Of The Guardians That must have really hurt over at DreamWorks Animation this morning.

Related: OSCARS: Nominations By Picture

Quentin Tarantino – The Golden Globes gave the Django Unchained helmer a nomination and the Academy gave the movie itself a Best Picture nomination today but no Best Director for Quentin? Too much controversy?

Perks Of Being A Wallflower If any movie called out for Best Adapted Screenplay, it was this coming of ager directed and written by Stephen Chbosky based on his own acclaimed 1999 novel. And yet Oscar offered no perks at all.

Christopher Nolan Holy Oversight, Batman! Even though Inception was nominated for Best Picture in 2010 and he’s picked up a pair of writing noms, The Dark Knight Rises director has never received a nomination for his helming work — including on the hugely successful Batman franchise. And just like with 2005’s Batman Begins and 2008’s The Dark Knight, Nolan was again left off the Best Director list. Read More »

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BAFTA Nominations Announced: ‘Lincoln’ Leads Followed By ‘Les Mis’ & ‘Life Of Pi’; Spielberg & Hooper Not Among Director Field

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln leads the pack of nominees (see full list below) for the 65th EE BAFTA Awards, which were announced this morning in London by Alice Eve and Jeremy Irvine. Lincoln scored 10 nominations, though it did not pick up a directing mention. Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi and Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables each got nine nods, but Hooper (nominated here for The King’s Speech in 2010) failed to make the directing category. Working Title’s Tim Bevan, who has both Les Mis and Anna Karenina vying for prizes this year, told me he was surprised that Spielberg and Hooper missed out on directing slots but called it an “interesting year because [nominations] seem to be spread all over the place.” The takeaway, he said, is that Spielberg and Hooper are “swimming in a pool of extreme talent this year. Which is great for the movie business.”

Meanwhile, Skyfall, now the highest-grossing film in UK history, was nominated eight times, yet was noted in the Best British Film category and not the overall Best Film group. The only picture to cross over those two fields was Les Mis. The trio of Life Of Pi, Ben Affleck’s Argo and Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty have both Best Film and Best Director slots. The two Best Director candidates whose films were not mentioned in the Best Film group are Michael Haneke for Amour (although it did also land Foreign Language, Original Screenplay and Leading Actress nods) and Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained, which also picked up nominations for Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor for Christoph Waltz and Editing. Read More »

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Perennially Ignored By Academy Voters, James Bond Gets Oscarcast Tribute

By | Friday January 4, 2013 @ 6:26am PST
Mike Fleming

James Bond Oscar Tribute SkyfallBREAKING: It has only taken 007 half a century to get his due from the Academy. Oscars exec producers will include a tribute to the James Bond franchise, it was announced this morning. It’s a good idea from the standpoint of getting the masses interested in avoiding a snore-fest like last year, but the timing is also fortuitous for honoring moviedom’s most enduring feature franchise.

The most recent installment, the Sam Mendes-directed Skyfall, recently became the first 007 film to crack the $1 billion worldwide gross mark; also, Bond celebrated its 50-year anniversary with the Skyfall release.

Related: Academy Celebrates 50 Years Of James Bond Music From ‘Goldfinger’ To ‘Skyfall’

It is a remarkable exception to how the Academy has historically dismissed the James Bond films as award-worthy. Only 1964′s Goldfinger and 1965′s Thunderball won awards, and they were for Best Effects. The 2006 film Casino Royale, which introduced Daniel Craig as 007 and is on my Top 10 favorite films, didn’t get a single Oscar nomination. Perhaps this year will be different — Javier Bardem’s villain character in Skyfall has so far been nominated for SAG and PGA Awards. I’m not sure about a Best Picture nomination, because there are so many worthy films up against Skyfall. At least the series will get a little bit of love from Oscar. Has 007 been done an injustice all these years by Oscar?

Here’s the official announcement: Read More »

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‘Skyfall’ Reaches $1 Billion Global Milestone

By | Sunday December 30, 2012 @ 4:49pm PST

Sony Pictures-MGM’s 23rd James Bond pic Skyfall became the 14th film ever to reach $1 billion globally, with a domestic cume of $289.6 million and $710.6 million internationally. Sony, which a month ago posted the studio’s best-ever performance Read More »

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Chinese Box Office Hits $2.3B; Local Pics Struggle Against Imports: Report

By | Wednesday December 19, 2012 @ 2:42am PST

Chinese box office takings were $2.3B for the January through November period, up from about $2.1B for all of 2011, the Xinhua news agency reports. And even though China has produced 686 movies so far this year, the … Read More »

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007 SHOCK: ‘Skyfall’ Now $918M Global: Bond Tops Twilight Finale For #1 In U.S.; Gerard Butler’s ‘Playing For Keeps’ Bombs

By | Sunday December 9, 2012 @ 9:29am PST

SUNDAY 9 AM, 3RD UPDATESkyfall internationally grossed an estimated $20.3 million this weekend, bringing its overseas total to $656.6M. With the estimated $261.6M from North America, the 23rd James Bond movie has now taken in $918M  worldwide. It’s now the highest grossing film ever released by Sony Pictures, beating Spider-Man 3‘s ($890M). The movie from EON Productions is co-owned domestically by MGM. Sony’s international markets earned an estimated $18.8M to bring the cume to $571.1M. MGM’s distribution partners grossed an estimated $1.6M bring their cume to $85.5M. Australia remained #1 in the market for the 3rd consecutive weekend raising its cume to $33.5M. The UK continues to add to its record-setting total of $154.5M. Earlier in the week, it was announced that Skyfall had smashed the all time box office record in the UK, becoming the highest grossing film of all time in that market and overtaking Avatar for the record. This is truly a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, considering this spy has been on film since 1962. But, domestically, this most successful 007 starrer rose to #1 in Week 5 to knock off Summit Entertainment’s Breaking Dawn Part 2 in Week 4 at the North American box office. “Nothing demonstrates the powerful word of mouth and outstanding playability on this film better than reclaiming the top spot in such a competitive marketplace,” Sony said today. The 23rd James Bond actioner even has a shot of outgrossing domestically the Twilight Saga finale. The Bond pic made $10.8M for the weekend and $261.4M domestic cume through Sunday. Breaking Dawn Part 2 ended up #3 behind DreamWorks Animation’s disappointing Rise Of The Guardians in Week 3.

The only wide release film this weekend is the treacly Millennium’s Playing For Keeps which should have run on Lifetime instead of in 2,837 theaters. FilmDistrict did not produce but only bought the U.S. distribution rights. (Why?) The melodrama debuted to only $2.1M Friday, prompting LA radio host Peter Tilden to snark that box office stars should at least be able to open their movies to numbers higher than their home prices. Ouch! Gerard Butler (not to mention costars Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones) needs to rethink his sinking career with this bomb grossing only $6.1M this weekend for only #6th place. What’s bizarre here is that this pic is from the director of the hugely successful The Pursuit Of Happyness, Gabriele Muccino who was handpicked by Will Smith. But that actor put people in seats unlike Butler whose huge hit 300 was back in 2007. His star turns in The Ugly Truth and Law Abiding Citizen also fared passably though Gamer and P.S. I Love You both tanked. But this new one in far more theaters may only slightly outdo what his October flop Chasing Mavericks did.

Total moviegoing this weekend was about $82.5M, or +9.7% over last year. Here’s the Top Ten based on Friday through Sunday estimates:

1. Skyfall (Eon/MGM/Sony) Week 5 [Runs 3,401] PG13
Friday $3.1M, Saturday $5.0M, Weekend $10.8M, Cume $261.4M

2. Rise Of The Guardian (DWAnim/Par) Week 3 [Runs 3,639] PG
Friday $2.2M, Saturday $4.9M, Weekend $10.4M, Cume $61.8M

3. Breaking Dawn Part 2 (Summit/Lionsgate) Week 4 [Runs 3,646] PG13
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $3.9M, Weekend $8.9M, Cume $268.5M

4. Lincoln (DreamWorks/Fox/Disney) Week 5 [Runs 2,014] PG13
Friday $2.5M, Saturday $4.0M, Weekend $8.8M, Cume $97.0M

5. Life Of Pi (Fox) Week 3 [Runs 2,946] PG
Friday $2.2M, Saturday $3.6M, Weekend $8.3M, Cume $60.9M

6. Playing For Keeps (Millennium/FilmDistrict) NEW [Runs 2,837] PG13
Friday $2.1M, Saturday $2.3M, Weekend $6.1M

Read More »

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‘Skyfall’ Becomes UK’s Highest-Grossing Film Of All Time

By | Wednesday December 5, 2012 @ 2:44am PST

It was already the biggest film of the year and the best 007 movie ever in the UK. Now, Skyfall has achieved yet another milestone to become the highest-grossing film ever in the territory. In 40 … Read More »

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Pinewood Shepperton Studios See Increased Film Revenues, Operating Profit

Studios operator Pinewood Shepperton’s unaudited six month results for the year ended September 30 show a marked improvement over the last comparable period. Before-tax profits are at £3M largely reversing a £5.4M loss in 2011. Revenues were £27.1M, up from £24.6M and operating profit jumped from £3.7M to £6.1M. Specifically, revenues from film were £18.8M, up from £16.4M. During the period, the UK facilities hosted Disney’s Maleficent; Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World; Working Title and Universal’s Les Misérables; Paramount’s latest Jack Ryan pic, Maryland; Universal’s Fast And Furious 6, Marv Films/Kick Ass 2 Productions’ Kick Ass 2 and Eon, MGM and Sony’s Skyfall. Pinewood Shepperton CEO Ivan Dunleavy said “The number of film productions contracted so far for next year is encouraging and the Board looks forward to the future with confidence.” TV revenues, however, were down to £2.5M from £3.6M in the earlier period. That was due to the increased film activity that saw those productions spill over to the TV studios. Read More »

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‘Skyfall’s $669.2M Global Helps Sony Pictures Post Best Ever $4B Worldwide

By | Sunday November 18, 2012 @ 9:16am PST

BREAKING… Sony Pictures today announced its biggest movie year ever at the global box office, passing $4 billion for the first time in the studio’s history. Thanks in large part to Skyfall becoming the biggest 007 film … Read More »

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MGM Chief Gary Barber Tells Investors He’ll Stay Through 2017

By | Thursday November 15, 2012 @ 3:50pm PST

Gary Barber’s new agreement follows last month’s announcement that Roger Birnbaum — who had been co-CEO and co-chairman — will return to movie making. “We are thrilled he has chosen to stay at MGM on an exclusive … Read More »

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‘Skyfall’ Expected To Exceed $800M In Worldwide Box Office Sales

By | Thursday November 15, 2012 @ 2:58pm PST

MGM chief Gary Barber presented the forecast to his company’s investors today, saying that the film will become “the highest-grossing Bond film of all time.” He adds that Skyfall is performing “substantially above our expectations.” Barber also … Read More »

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‘Skyfall’ Becomes No. 2 Movie Of All Time In The UK And Top 2D Film Ever

By | Wednesday November 14, 2012 @ 9:09am PST

Skyfall is climbing higher and higher in the UK record books. The 23rd James Bond entry last week became the biggest film of the year in the territory and the top 007 film ever. Now, after … Read More »

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‘Skyfall’ Crosses $100M At Domestic Box Office

By | Tuesday November 13, 2012 @ 10:05am PST

The Veterans Day holiday yesterday was good for $11.3 million more in North America, Sony said this morning. That puts the domestic total for Skyfall at $101.9 million after its big release this past weekend. The latest … Read More »

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