As expected, James Bond and Charlie Brown conquered the box office this weekend.



After the slump of the last few weeks, including the catastrophic finish a week ago that marked one of Hollywood's worst weekends in seven years, audiences returned in droves and put the 2015 box office back on track for a record-breaking year. So why is there still a sense that the other shoe is waiting to drop?



On the surface, it seems like there should be nothing to complain about regarding this week's box office. The Bond franchise proved it's alive and well in its 53rd year with "Spectre," whose estimated $73.0 million debut is just about equal to the entire box office from last weekend. It's the second biggest opening ever for a 007 movie, after the $88.3 million earned by 2012's "Skyfall." Daniel Craig may be tired of playing the super-spy, but audiences clearly aren't tired of seeing him.



At No. 2, "The Peanuts Movie" also opened big, with an estimated $45.0 million. That $118 million total for the top two movies is very strong, showing that there's plenty of room in the marketplace for both an action film that plays to all ages and a family film based on a beloved franchise at the same time. "Peanuts" scored even better audience word-of-mouth than "Spectre," earning an A grade at CinemaScore.



Even the remaining top five movies -- holdovers "The Martian," "Goosebumps," and "Bridge of Spies" -- did well this weekend. None lost more than 30 percent of last weekend's business, an indication that all three movies are holding up well, even after four to six weeks of release. Overall, this week's box office receipts totaled an estimated $164.5 million, a jump of 122 percent from last weekend's crater. It's the best weekend at the multiplex since "Ant-Man" opened in July. Plus, the year-to-date box office stands at $9.1 billion, nearly 5 percent ahead of this time last year and 1.3 percent ahead of 2013, the biggest box office year ever.



That said, there are still some caveats to this weekend's results.

As well as "Spectre" did, it was widely expected to do better. Distributor Sony gave an absurdly lowball prediction of $65 million that allowed it to spin this weekend's results as outperforming expectations, but most tracking services predicted the movie would open between $80 and $85 million. Adjusting for ticket price inflation, "Spectre" actually opened below 2008's "Quantum of Solace," ($78.1 million at 2015 prices), a movie that most Bond fans found disappointing.



Reviews of "Spectre" have been okay (62 percent fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, compared to 93 percent for "Skyfall"), and given the nostalgic appeal of the franchise to older audiences who still trust critics, that less-than-enthusiastic response could have discouraged some viewers.



As for "Peanuts," its $45 million debut falls at the low end of expectations, which ran from $45 to $55 million. Some older viewers have grumbled that they found the 3D computer animation off-putting after half a century of watching Charlie Brown and Snoopy in hand-drawn 2D.

This is supposed to be the season when adult-oriented dramas open strongly in art-houses, generate strong reviews and word-of-mouth, then platform to wide release and enjoy modest nationwide success. That hasn't happened this year with most award-hopefuls, with movies like "Steve Jobs" opening with strong reviews and high per-screen averages in a handful of theaters, only to stumble as they expand into general release. Only the crime thriller "Sicario" has done well this fall on the traditional platform pattern.



This weekend saw strong limited art-house openings from "Spotlight," "Brooklyn," and "Trumbo," but except for period romance "Brooklyn," it's hard to imagine these movies doing much better in wide release. Like this fall's other platform flops, "Spotlight" and "Trumbo" deal with difficult, uncommercial topics, and they're not so obviously cinematic that people feel they need to see them on the big screen instead of waiting until they're available at home.



The big lesson here, from both the art-house failures and the big-budget bombs, is that you can't force people to see movies they're not interested in.



Even well-marketed, highly-anticipated films like "Spectre" and "The Peanuts Movie" can draw only so big an audience if they're flawed in execution. People have too many other entertainment options to mandate that they come to the multiplex for any movie that sounds like a less-than-compelling big-screen experience. There'll be a handful of such event-movies over the next couple of months, but the Hollywood business plan of letting a handful of such events make up for slates of mostly lackluster movies isn't sustainable forever.