It was extremely close, but the dancing penguins beat 007 in their head-to-head opening shootout by less than $1M for the weekend ended Nov. 19, 2006. Warner Bros.' HAPPY FEET (the first 3D-animated feature from Animal Logic) scored $41.5M, while Sony's CASINO ROYALE, the 21st James Bond movie and first with Daniel Craig, hit the jackpot with $40.8M (vfx by Peerless Camera). That's the second best opening in Bond franchise history (DIE ANOTHER DAY topped $45M). Meanwhile, overseas, CASINO ROYALE raked in another $42M in 27 countries, including a record $25.6M in the U.K.
Meanwhile, Fox's BORAT slipped to third place but added another $14.6M for a three-week cume of $90.7M. Buena Vista's THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE (vfx from Tippett Studio and Furious FX) followed in fourth with $8.3M and $51.7M. Fifth place belonged to Sony's STRANGER THAN FICTION (with vfx from Intelligent Creatures, Double Negative, Digital Dimension and Mokko Studio, among others), which conjured $6.6M for a cume of $22.9M. The 3D-animated FLUSHED AWAY from Aardman/DreamWorks fell to sixth with $6.5M and $48.5M. SAW III (with vfx from Switch VFX) settled for seventh, bringing home $2.9M and $74.9M for Lionsgate. Paramount Vantage's BABEL (with vfx from Intelligent Creatures and Lola Visual Effects) dropped to eighth with $2.9M and $12M. THE DEPARTED (vfx from The Basement, Lola Visua Effects and Ockhams Razor) followed in ninth, adding another $2.5M for a tidy $113.8M. Debuting in 10th for Freestyle was AFTER DARK'S HORROR FEST: 8 FILMS TO DIE FOR, which collected $2.3M. Box office information obtained from boxofficemojo.com.