This was the weekend that nothing went as expected at the box office -- hinting that the multiplex may be in for a wild ride this winter.



Even though many predicted that none of this weekend's new releases were going to dislodge "Spectre" and "The Peanuts Movie" from the top two spots, those films still surprised. "Spectre" held on better than anyone thought, losing just 50 percent of last week's business instead of the 60 that many predicted, to finish with an estimated $35.4 million for the weekend. On the other hand, "Peanuts" was supposed to lose just 35 percent of last week's business, but it plunged 45 percent, to an estimated $24.2 million.



It's possible that "Love the Coopers" ate into the "Peanuts" family audience. Instead of debuting at $6 or $7 million, it earned an estimated $8.4 million, good for third place. Despite its unclear title, the movie was well-marketed; viewers knew that it was a Christmas-themed family comedy, and as the first such film of the season, it had an advantage. An all-star cast (including Diane Keaton and John Goodman) didn't hurt.

"The 33" premiered in fifth place, with $5.8 million -- less than the $10 million analysts pegged it to earn. Despite being based on the gripping true story of the successful rescue of the Chilean miners who were trapped below ground for 69 days in 2010, the movie had limited appeal. The title was weak, the marketing was nearly invisible, and the reviews were lackluster, which hurt among the older audience the film targeted. The waning star power of Antonio Banderas wasn't enough to overcome those liabilities.



The weekend's biggest surprise? The Bollywood romantic epic "Prem Ratan Dhan Payo." The Hindi-language musical cracked the top ten, landing in eighth placed with an estimated $2.4 million. That take is all the more impressive considering that it's playing on just 286 screens, and that "Prem" is three hours long -- meaning fewer showings per day. Give credit to Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor, two of India's biggest stars, as the romantic leads.



Failing to crack the top 10, despite opening on 1,565 screens, was period football drama "My All American." It debuted in 12th place with just $1.4 million, meaning it earned just $889 per theater. The movie had a pedigree -- writer/director Angelo Pizzo is the screenwriter behind such tearjerking sports-drama classics as "Hoosiers" and "Rudy" -- but he's not a household name. And the movie opened while the similar "Woodlawn" is still doing decent business (it's earned $13.6 million over five weeks, including another estimated $635,000 this weekend).Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's much-anticipated marital drama "By the Sea" was a box office dud, to be expected considering it only premiered on 10 screens, earning an estimated $95,440, or $9,544 per screen. That seems like a good per-screen average -- "Spectre" earned $9,010 per screen this weekend -- but it pales in comparison to other recent art-house movies that opened with $20,000 or more in limited release.



The movie's underwhelming reviews may have kept viewers away, and the numbers suggest that, even when the movie is playing nationwide, fascination with Brangelina won't be enough to draw audiences curious about whether the couple's on-screen turmoil sheds light on their off-screen relationship.



Overall, the box office was down nearly 35 percent from last week's surge. Does that mean last week was a fluke, and that we're still in the midst of a deep slump? Not necessarily.



Next weekend should spike again with the release of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 2." And 2015 is still on track to beat the yearly record set in 2013. But beyond sure things like "Mockingjay" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," how the rest of the year will play out is anybody's guess.