Although profits from this weekend were lower overall than those from this time last year (roughly $19 million less, or a 13.4% drop), the box office still did decently ($123 million—not too shabby) thanks to the top two films and their reportedly mind-blowing visual effects, which made filmgoers more inclined to fork over a few extra dollars for 3D and IMAX.
Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity" opened with a whopping $55.6 million (with a $15,538 per theater average, the biggest of the weekend), making it the largest October opening of all time (beating out the previous record holder "Paranormal Activity 3" and its $52.6 million). A massive hit at Venice, Telluride and Toronto (a festival hat trick/triple crown/other sports term), the space-set film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney has been getting rave (or, ahem, out of this world, ahem) buzz from critics and filmgoers alike (A- CinemaScore, and check out your Twitter feed). Even before this weekend's wide release, there had been a lot of awards talk, especially around the Best Film and Best Actress categories. Both "The Departed" and "Argo" opened the same weekend, going on to win Best Film for "Gravity" studio Warner Bros., and many are commenting on how Bullock succeeded in a role that could have easily been given to a man (therefore, could-be Oscar bait). This marks Bullock's highest grossing film opening yet (beating out this summer's "The Heat" and its $39.1 million) along with Clooney's, whose previous best was "Batman and Robin" with $42.9 million (we kid you not, his now third best is "The Perfect Storm" with $41.3 million). Even though it's the largest original sci-fi opening of the year so far, "Gravity" has yet to compete with "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" numbers ($93.7 million), making it Alfonso Cuarón's career second best at the box office. With a worldwide running total of $83 million (80% from 3D screens in the U.S.), the film (considered by many a visually stunning masterpiece) is on track to make back its estimated $100 million budget and then much more.
Slipping to a strong second, "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs" made $21.5 million and crossed the $50 million domestic mark with a running total of $60.6 million. That's a spicy meatball! (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
Brad Furman's "Runner Runner" opened with a weak $7.6 million. Even though the studio had been aiming for something in the $10-12 million range, the Justin Timberlake-Ben Affleck crime actioner involving online poker did not make the cut.
"Prisoners" held its own in fourth place and made $5.7 million, nearing the domestic $50 million mark with a running total of $47.9 million. In fifth, "Rush" suffered the largest percentage drop of the top ten (56%) and made $4.4 million. "Don Jon" sexed its way to sixth with $4.2 million. Wheeling in at a close seventh, "Baggage Claim" made $4.1 million. In ominous eighth, "Insidious: Chapter 2" made $3.9 million and is a breath shy of $75 million, with a domestic running total of $74.8 million.
In ninth, Pedro Pablo Ibarra's "Pulling the Strings" opened with $2.5 million. Following the recent footsteps of "Instructions Not Included" (the highest grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.), the English-Spanish-language rom com stars Mexican celebrity Jaime Camil as a mariachi who romances an American (Laura Ramsay), with Stockard Channing and Tom Arnold in the supporting cast.
Last on the leader board, "Enough Said" made $2.2 million, crossing the $5 million mark with a running total of $5.4 million.1. Gravity (Warner Bros.) - $55,550,000