Befitting its apocalyptic theme, 2012 brushed aside all before it and roared to number one thanks to an estimated $65m launch that delivered Sony’s eighth number one release of the year-to-date.

Combined with the $160m international debut Roland Emmerich’s film has already swept past its $200m production budget to stand at $225m worldwide. Sony sources claimed this was the highest grossing worldwide opening in history for an original film not based on an established franchise, brand or bestseller.

In North America, 2012 earned $23.6m on Friday, climbed 5% on Saturday to $24.8m, and was expected to pull in a further $16.6m on Sunday. It plays in 3,404 sites and based on weekend estimates averaged an excellent $19,095 per location.

John Cusack, Amanda Peet. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oliver Platt, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton and Woody Harrelson star in the story of global annihilation. According to exit polls the audience comprises 52% males and 48% females while 45% was under the age of 25.

However even 2012 and the weekend’s $140m box office couldn’t prevent a slight 6% fall against the same weekend last year when Sony launched Quantum Of Solace on $67.5m.

  • Disney’s A Christmas Carol fell a mere 26% to second place and added $22.3m for $63.3m after two weeks, while Overtures’ The Men Who Stare At Goats held in third following a 51% box office slide on $6.2m for $23.4m in its second weekend.

  • Lionsgate’s Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphiremade what was easily the biggest gain of the weekend, climbing eight places to number four in its second weekend and gaining 225% following an expansion from 18 to 174 venues. The drama, hotly tipped to be a leading player in the awards season, added $6.1m for $8.9m and averaged an excellent $35,000.

  • Paramount’s Paranormal Activity crossed $100m on Friday and slipped 49% in the eighth weekend of its astonishing run, falling three places to number eight on $4.2m for $103.8m. Universal’s comedy Couples Retreat crossed $100m n its sixth weekend as $4.3m raised the tally to $102.1m. It ranks seventh.

  • Focus Features’ Pirate Radio opened on $2.9m from 882 theatres, while the latest from the Coen Brothers, A Serious Man, added $645,950 from 240 theatres for $6.8m. Fantastic Mr Fox opened in 22nd place on $260,000 from four for a magnificent $65,000 per-site average.

  • New York-based Oscilloscope Laboratories reported its biggest opening weekend to date as The Messenger starring Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson and Samantha Morton grossed $50,000 from four screens in New York and Washington DC for a $12,500 per-screen average. The Iraq war film will open nationwide in 15 cities on November 20 before expanding further into Thanksgiving weekend.

  • Apparition’s action title Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day added a whisker over $1m for $2.5m and will expend further on November 25 followed by December 4.

Next weekend’s wide releases are: Summit’s eagerly awaited vampire sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner; Sony’s animated film Planet 51 with Dwayne Johnson; and Warner Bros’ drama The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock. Lionsgate expands Precious.

Estimated Top 10 North America November 13-15 2009
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) 2012 (Sony) SPRI $65m –

2 (1) A Christmas Carol (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $22.3m $63.3m

3 (3) The Men Who Stare At Goats (Overture) Mandate Int’l $6.2m $23.4m

4 (12) Precious: Based On The Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire (Lionsgate) $6.1m $8.9m

5 (2) This Is It (Sony) SPRI $5.1m $68.2m

6 (4) The Fourth Kind (Universal) UPI $4.7m $20.6m

7 (7) Couples Retreat (Universal) UPI $4.3m $102.1m

8 (5) Paranormal Activity (Paramount) IM Global $4.2m $103.8m

9 (8) Law Abiding Citizen (Overture) The Film Dept $3.9m $67.3m

10 (6)The Box(Warner Bros/MRC) TWC $3.2m $13.2m