“Gravity” scored a respectable $1.4 million in showings on Thursday, according to studio estimates. It showed on 2,600 screens.
Critics love the 3D space thriller, which is expected to dominate the weekend box office and is projected to earn as much as $40 million over its opening frame. “Gravity” will be expand to 3,575 theaters on Friday, most of which will be 3D capable. More than 300 of those theaters will be IMAX.
“Gravity” squares off against the Ben Affleck gambling thriller “Runner Runner,” which was slammed by reviewers and should open to a lackluster $10 million, analysts told TheWrap.
The film has earned raves for Alfonso Cuaron’s bravura direction, the performances of stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney and its ground-breaking visual effects. It enjoys an astounding 98 percent “fresh” rating on critics aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and should factor into the Oscar race, which could give it legs at the box office.
Filmed for a relatively economical $80 million (only in Hollywood!), “Gravity” centers on a pair of astronauts who find themselves stranded in zero gravity when their shuttle is destroyed by space debris.
“Gravity” has attracted a great deal of attention on social media sites, and pre-sales for the movie have been strong, particularly for its 3D showings. Online ticketer Fandango said that 91 percent of its advance sales for “Gravity were for showings on 3D screens, and Movietickets.com said 3D comprised 80 percent of its presales for the adventure film. As 3D screenings come with a steep $3 to $4 markup, that’s excellent news for the film’s distributor, Warner Bros.
If the reviews are any indication, “Gravity” should have no trouble building strong word of-mouth.
In the New York Times, A.O. Scott raved that that film’s use of 3D surpassed “Avatar” and enthused that it “…rewrites the rules of cinema as we have known them.”