Argo finally tops the US box office

Ben Affleck in Argo

Critical darling and Oscar hopeful, Argo rose to the top of the US box office in its 3rd weekend of play, grossing $12.4 million to a North American total of $60.8 million. It’s the first film to reach the top spot for the first time in its third week of release since The Blind Side, three years ago. It also opened in the 2nd place, behind Skyfall, in the international market with $5 million.

Directed by and starring Ben Affleck, the political thriller tells the story of a CIA agent who contrives a plan to rescue 6 Americans, who took refuge at the Canadian ambassador’s home after escaping the US embassy, when it was taken over by Iranian demonstrators in 1979.

Halloween themed animation Hotel Transylvania claimed the 2nd spot with $9.5 million in its fifth weekend for a total of $130.4 million in the US. It also performed well overseas, settling in the 3rd spot in its 4th weekend with $18.1 million to a foreign total of $68.8 million.

The news wasn’t as rosy for the $100 million Cloud Atlas, which failed to live up to expectations, debuting in the 3rd spot in North America with a measly $9.4 million.

Directed by the Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer and starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant, the 3 hour meditative epic is based on David Mitchell’s book of the same name that follows characters as they reincarnate in 6 stories spanning over 500 years. In spite of the massive marketing campaign the film has failed to impress critics and audience alike.

More horror movies filled the top of the US box office list in this Halloween weekend. Holdover Paranormal Activity 4 captured the 4th spot in the US and overseas with $8.7 million for a total of $42.6 million and $14.1 million to a total of $48.3 respectively.  It was followed in the US by Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, which debuted to $8 million.

Overall the US box office delivered a mediocre performance over the weekend, which has been attributed to the Halloween parties, baseball and above all Hurricane Sandy, which lead to the complete shutdown of New York city and other cities along  along the US east coast.

In the meantime, the biggest success story was unfolding overseas, where the new Bond movie Skyfall debuted to a staggering $77.7 million, breaking records in several countries, including in the UK, where, having grossed $32.4 million – just over £20 million – it smashed the all-time Saturday attendance record as well as posting the 2nd opening weekend in history just behind Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

Skyfall opens in the US in two weeks.

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