Weekend Box Office: “Gravity” Smashes October Record – by Matt Marshall

Sandra Bullock in "Gravity"

by Matt Marshall

The hype for Gravity shook the weekend box office as audiences returned for the most crowded weekend in seven weeks to experience the 3D sci-fi thriller. Debuting this weekend at #1, Gravity stunned analysts claiming an October high, $55.6 million opening. Gravity stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as a pair of surviving astronauts fighting for their lives moments after an unexpected space catastrophe.

Last week’s animated headliner, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 dropped one spot to second place, consuming an additional $21 million to its 10-day run. The next Batman himself, Ben Affleck settled for a weak third place start alongside co-star Justin Timberlake in Runner Runner.

Oscar hopefuls, Prisoners and Rush rounded out the Top 5 of the weekend box office with both dropping two positions from the previous weekend.

Note: These #’s are based on Sunday’s projections and can change with Monday’s actual #’s.

#1 – Gravity (NR)
$55.6 million / $55.6 million total

Director Alfonso Cuaron and all those involved with Gravity have much to be proud of.  The sci-fi thriller not only surpassed Paranormal Activity 3’s $52.6 million October opening weekend, but also largest opening ever for a film between Labor Day and Halloween. The critical praise has been equally successful with a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes and career opening highs for Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

#2 – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (1)
$21.5 million / $60.6 million total

Having free reign over family audiences for the entire month of October was supposed to be to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’s benefit. But that’s not the case. Meatballs 2 dropped a respectable 37% from its opening weekend, but compared to the 2009 film’s 17% second weekend drop, weaker legs are evident. Meatballs 2 will pig out on over $100 million by the end of its run, but duplicating success a second time is less likely.

#3 – Runner Runner (NR)
$7.6 million / $7.6 million total

Ben Affleck might be the next Batman, but audiences weren’t that interested in his latest crime thriller with Justin Timberlake. Opening at nearly $8 million, Runner Runner is one of the worst openers for a film in over 3000+ theaters. Make no mistake, Affleck is no box office dud, especially after critical hits like The Town and Argo. Runner Runner just wasn’t his best dealt hand.

#4 – Prisoners (2)
$5.7 million / $47.9 million total

Unlike the overnight success that is Gravity, the critical success for Hugh Jackman’s Prisoners hasn’t translated well at the box office. Prisoners has taken too many large dips in the past few weeks to regain momentum. That should leave the kidnapping drama with a $60 million finish.

#5 – Rush (3)
$4.4 million / $18.1 million total

After two weeks after going wide, Ron Howard’s Rush is in the same boat as Prisoners. Well liked by critics, the legendary F1 rivalry between James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) is running on empty at the box office. With many upcoming films vying for pole position during awards season, Rush could get lost in the pack without a “For Your Consideration” re-release.

Opening Next Week: Captain Phillips, Machete Kills, Romeo and Juliet (limited)

Source: Box Office Mojo


Matt Marshall is a YouTube movie reviewer who hosts MNMreviews. He has a B.A. in Communications/Journalism from St. John Fisher College and resides in Rochester, NY.

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