‘Gravity’ Tightens Box-Office Stranglehold With $31 Million 3-Peat (Video)

Space epic blows away “Carrie” and Sly and Arnold's “Escape Plan” as WikiLeaks drama “The Fifth Estate” bombs

The pull of “Gravity” was the most powerful force at the box office for a third consecutive weekend, as the 3D space epic dominated with $31 million.

The Sandra Bullock-George Clooney thriller blew away three wide openers – a remake of the horror thriller “Carrie,” Sly Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s “Escape Plan” and the WikiLeaks drama “The Fifth Estate” – and has become a blockbuster for Warner Bros.

Since opening on Oct. 4, “Gravity” has taken in $170 million domestically and more than $250 million worldwide. The studio is firing the retro rockets in terms of cashing in; it added 160 theaters to land “Gravity” in a market high 3,820 locations, the vast majority of those 3D and Imax. Its third week total was off just 28 percent from last week, remarkable given that a 50 percent hold is considered strong.

Also read: Behind ‘Gravity's’ Historic Box Office Hold: 3D, Word-of-Mouth and Sandra Bullock

“People have clearly gotten the message that 3D and Imax absolutely enhance the experience of seeing this movie,” Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. executive vice-president of domstic distribution told TheWrap on Sunday.  The numbers back him up: 3D accounted for 82 percent of the weekend's grosses and Imax provided 24 percent.

The Tom Hanks piracy drama “Captain Phillips,” like “Gravity” a well-reviewed Oscar contender, held well in its second week and was in a tight race for second with MGM and Screen Gems’ “Carrie,” with both films at around $17 million.

Also read: Gwyneth Paltrow's Vanity Fair Controversy Is ‘Not Her Paula Deen Moment,’ Says Expert

Sony distributes both of those and the animated family film “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” which is still playing steadily in its fourth week and brought in $10 million. That put it just ahead of Summit's “Escape Plan,” which took in $9.8 million, in line with low expectations for the pairing of the aging action stars.

“The Fifth Estate” bombed. The $26 million co-production of Disney's DreamWorks and Participant Media wound up in ninth place with a dismal $1.7 million.

The opening for the R-rated “Carrie” was just a little under the studio's projection, but analysts thought the film might break out as several horror films have this year.

The Chloe Grace Moretz thriller directed by Kimberly Peirce is a redo of the 1976 film that was based on Stephen King's first novel and starred Sissy Spacek. It played female (56 percent) and young, with 44 percent of the audience under 25.  Its “B-” CinemaScore suggests word of mouth didn't help, as it did less business Saturday than it did on Friday.

Still, “Carrie” was made for less than $30 million and will have Halloween to itself, so it should wind up in the black.

The pairing of Stallone and Schwarzenegger in the R-rated prison break movie played closer to their recent solo outings than one of Stallone's “Expendables” movies. Schwarzenegger's previous film “The Last Stand” opened to a dismal $6.2 million in January, and Sly's “Bullet to the Head” did even worse, debuting to $4.5 million in February.

Also read: 6 Movies Ideas for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone After ‘Escape Plan’

The audience, which was 55 percent male and 61 percent over 30, gave it a “B+” CinemaScore.

“Escape Plan” cost Summit and equity partner Emmett/Furla about $50 million to make, and it's clear that overseas will be the best chance to recoup that investment.

“The Fifth Estate,” which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as secrets stealer Julian Assange, was at one point considered an Oscar contender. But a lukewarm reception from critics and audiences at the Toronto Film Festival last month killed momentum and its current rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 39 percent.

“We're disappointed,” Disney's head of distribution Dave Hollis said Sunday. “The talent and the whole team worked very hard on this, so it's a letdown.”

Also read: Julian Assange to the Hollywood Foreign Press: ‘The Fifth Estate Is Going to Fail' 

The audience that did show up was 54 percent male and 90 percent over the age of 25.

It didn't help the film when Assange himself, in remarks to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, said that the film was doomed to fail because its anti-WikiLeaks stance didn't give moviegoers the kind of underdog story they want.

The romantic comedy “Enough Said” returned to the top ten in seventh place. Fox Searchlight upped its screen count by 151 to 757 theaters and it brought in $1.8 million. That raises the domestic total for the movie, directed by Nicole Holofcener and starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini, to $10.8 million after five weeks.

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  • Tom

    What a bad year for Sony. Another one bites the dust! They fire the marketing guy but leave Amy Pascal in her job?