Sandra Bullock and George Clooney’s ‘Gravity’ Rocketing Toward October Box Office Record


3D drives $17.5M opening day and has space epic on $50M pace. Justin Timberlake-Ben Affleck thriller “Runner Runner” stumbling

Fueled by rave reviews and boosted by 3D and Imax premium pricing, the George Clooney-Sandra Bullock space epic “Gravity” launched Friday with $17.5 million and is on pace for a record-breaking opening weekend of around $50 million.

That would be about $10 million more than analysts had projected for director Alfonso Cuaron’s inventive thriller, and make it the biggest non-sequel debut ever in October. The biggest opener ever in October, typically a slow month at the box office, is the $52 million scared up by “Paranormal 3″ 2011.

Also read: How ‘Gravity’ Revolutionized Visual Effects and Blasted Sandra Bullock Into Space

Warner Bros.’ PG-13-rated “Gravity” is getting a major lift from the typically $3-$4 price add-ons at the 3,150 theaters that are showing in it in 3D (out of 3,575 total). The 323 Imax screens provided $3.6 million, an average of $11,600 each and a whopping 21 percent of the Friday grosses.  The film’s 91-minute running time, which allows for more screenings, isn’t hurting, either.

The awards contender will get a boost from buzz, as well. First-night moviegoers liked it as much as the critics, who have it at 98 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes, and gave it an “A-” CinemaScore.

The “Gravity” debut will be the best ever for the film’s two stars, topping the $39 million Bullock’s “The Heat” debuted with this summer and the $42 million that Clooney’s “Batman and Robin’ opened to way back in 1997.

The Friday grosses include $1.4 million from 10 p.m. Thursday showings.

The $80 million space saga was overwhelming the weekend’s other wide opener, New Regency’s Justin Timberlake-Ben Affleck thriller “Runner Runner,” which took in $2.7 million Friday.

That translates to an $8 million three-day total, below expectations that were low to begin with. Word of mouth isn’t going to help, since it received a “C” CinemaScore from first-night audiences at the 3,024 theaters where distributor Fox had it booked.

Also read: Why Doesn’t Justin Timberlake Hit Higher Notes at the Box Office?

It was running way behind last weekend’s No. 1 movie, Sony’s animated family film “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” which brought in $4.7 million Friday and is heading for a $21 million second weekend. That’s a roughly 49 percent drop, and keeps it on track with the original “Cloudy,” which brought in $125 million domestically.

Warner Bros. “Prisoners’ was fourth after taking in $4.7 million Friday and the Hugh Jackman-Jake Gyllenhaal revenge saga is on course for a $5.7 million third week.

Fox Searchlight’s comedy “Baggage Claim,” Universal’s Ron Howard-directed auto racing saga “Rush” and Relativity’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt sex comedy ‘Don Jon” were battling for fifth. All three were films were looking at three-day totals between $4 million and $5 million.

Also read: 6 of Fall’s Most Intriguing Box-Office Face-Offs

“Insidious Chapter 2″ was next, and the FilmDistrict horror thriller was on a $3.7 million pace in its fourth week.

The partly Spanish-language “Pulling Strings,” from Lionsgate’s Pantelion Entertainment, opened to $759,000 from 387 theaters and is looking at $2.6 million for the weekend.

Pantelion is the company behind “Instructions Not Included,” the comedy that last month became the highest-grossing Spanish-language movie ever in the United States.

Fox Searchlight’s romantic comedy “Enough Said,” one of the final films of the late James Gandolfini, expanded by 200 theaters and brought in $597,000 from 437 locations. Julia Louis-Dreyfus co-stars.

  • hupto

    But…but…everybody hates 3-D! Don’t they?

    • John Constantine

      Not this time

  • Film_Shark

    The Best Actress Oscar race is heating up. It will be between Cate Blanchett for ‘Blue Jasmine’ versus Sandra Bullock for ‘Gravity.’ Check out my online review of ‘Gravity’ on Twitter @Film_Shark.

  • Sarah

    Sandra Bullock is the most overrated actress in Hollywood.