After five decades of globe-trotting cinematic adventures, James Bond kept things close to home for his latest mission, "Skyfall." And residents of the United Kingdom have paid back the kindness in spades: This past weekend the film celebrating the movie franchise's 50th anniversary became the highest-grossing movie ever there.
After 40 days of release, "Skyfall" has earned £94.3 million (or $151.8 million) in Bond's home territory, surpassing the previous record-holder, James Cameron's "Avatar," which grossed £94 million (or $151.3 million) in 11 months.
To date, the film has grossed $869.7 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.
However, the eye-popping grosses should not be confused with actual attendance. According to a BBC report, the biggest movie ever in the U.K. in terms of actual tickets sold is still "Gone With the Wind" from 1939.
—Patrick Kevin Day
Raphael drawing tops $47 million
One of the most significant drawings by Italian master Raphael in private hands has sold for $47.8 million in London, smashing pre-sale estimates for the black chalk work.
"Head of an Apostle" was expected to fetch between one-third and one-half that much, and Sotheby's auction house said Wednesday's sale set a record for any work on paper sold at auction.
The name of the buyer was not disclosed.
"Head of an Apostle" was created in preparation for Raphael's biblical painting "The Transfiguration," which hangs in the Vatican Museum in Rome.
Local projects to collect grants
Street Symphony, a community project co-founded by Los Angeles Philharmonic violinist Robert Gupta, is one of a number of cultural initiatives across the country that have been named recipients of "fast-track" grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The $10,000 Challenge America Fast-Track grants are intended for small and mid-sized organizations to help fund projects that extend the reach of the arts to disadvantaged groups.
Street Symphony received its grant for a project to bring concerts to impoverished military veterans.
Other local groups to receive the NEA grant include Piece by Piece, an L.A. group that provides mosaic workshops in underserved communities; Great Leap, another L.A. organization that uses the arts to reach disadvantaged communities; and the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra of Culver City, which is working to put on free jazz concerts for economically disadvantaged students.
Closing: David Mamet's new play "The Anarchist," which just opened Sunday at the John Golden Theatre in New York, will close Dec. 16. The play, starring Patti LuPone and Debra Winger, received lukewarm to negative reviews.
Selection: "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie," a novel by Ayana Mathis about a teenager's journey from Mississippi to Philadelphia in the 1920s and the large family she ends up raising, has been chosen by Oprah Winfrey for Oprah's Book Club 2.0.