Eon, Sony and MGM’s Skyfall pulled off the biggest debut of the franchise on an estimated $87.8m through Sony and powered a 31% climb for the top 12 box office against the same session last year.

The latest James Bond episode delivered the fourth biggest North American debut of the year-to-date behind The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games.

Factoring in Thursday previews on Imax the debut weekend generated $90m and propelled the worldwide running total to $518m after three weekends including a muscular $428.6m international tally.

The Imax set a domestic opening weekend record for a non-summer release. The $13.1m-plus score from 320 Imax screens is the best in the company’s 45-year history.

Daniel Craig reprises his role as 007 in his third outing and stars alongside Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw.

Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph slid a respectable 32% in its second weekend to rank second on $93.7m while live-action Oscar contenders Argo and Flight ranked third on $47.8m after two weekends through Paramount and fourth on $85.7m after five through Warner Bros, respectively.

Cloud Atlas ranked seventh through Warner Bros on $22.7m after three.

DreamWorks’ Lincoln from Steven Spielberg began its box office career. The heavyweight drama stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones and opened very strongly in limited release through Disney, grossing $900,000 from 11 theatres to rank 15th.

Magnolia opened the acclaimed Danish foreign language Oscar contender A Royal Affair on $40,000 from seven.

Next weekend’s wide release is Summit Entertainment’s Twilight finale The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 through Lionsgate. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner star.

Estimated Top 10 North America Nov 9-11 2012
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Skyfall (Sony) SPRI/MGM $87.8m $90m

2 (1) Wreck-It Ralph (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $33.1m $93.7m

3 (2) Flight (Paramount) PPI-Sierra/Affinity $15.1m $47.8m

4 (3) Argo (Warner Bros) WBPI $6.7m $85.7m

5 (5) Taken 2 (Fox/EuropaCorp) Fox Int’l / EuropaCorp $4m $131.3m

6 (9) Here Comes The Boom (Sony) SPRI $2.6m $39.1m

7 (6) Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros) FFI $2.5m $22.7m

8 (11) Pitch Perfect (Universal) UPI $2.5m $59m

9 (4) The Man With The Iron Fists (Universal) UPI $2.5m $12.7m

10 (7) Hotel Transylvania (Sony) SPRI $2.4m $140.9m