"Gravity" soars to the top spot at the North American box office, leaving other new releases far behind. The George Clooney and Sandra Bullock starrer opens to a solid $55.6 million, marking the biggest opening of all time for an October release ahead of the $52.6M debut posted by "Paranormal Activity 3" back in 2011.
It also becomes the largest openings ever for Bullock and Clooney, and the 2nd largest for director Alfonso Cuaron. Bullock's previous record was "The Heat" ($39.1M this summer), Clooney's previous best was "Batman & Robin" ($42.9M in 1997), and Cuaron's previous biggest entry was "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" ($93M in 2004).
Boasted by Oscar buzz and an excellent "A-" grade from CinemaScore, "Gravity" appealed to adult audience evenly divided between male (54%) and female (56%). 82% of them was over the age of 25 and nearly 60% was over the age of 35. 80% of the movie's domestic weekend gross ($44 million) came from the 3D showing.
"In two days, this movie has become a cultural phenomenon. People that haven't gone to the movies in years, or who only see one or two movies a year, are going to see Gravity," says Warner Bros.' domestic distribution chief Dan Fellman. He expects the movie about two astronauts left stranded after their ship was damaged to lure younger audience in the coming days.
Overseas, "Gravity" also has a good start. It debuted to a solid $27.4 million from 27 markets, giving its worldwide total of $83 million. Russia led with $8.1 million, followed by Germany ($3.8 million) and Australia ($3.2 million). The movie will next open in Brazil (October 11), Korea (Oct. 17), Mexico (Oct. 18), France (Oct. 23), U.K. (Nov. 8), and Japan (Dec. 13).
Two spots lower at the box office's No. 3 sits crime thriller "Runner, Runner" starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. The film made on $30 million budget opened to a weak $7.6 million Stateside. "Considering the movie's cost, we'll be just fine," insisted 20th Century Fox's senior vice president of distribution Spencer Klein.
Last week's chart topper "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" slips to the runner-up place with $21.5 million, dropped 37 percent after its $35 million opening last weekend. The kiddie-friendly pic collected a domestic total of $60.6 million so far. Hugh Jackman's "Prisoners" and Chris Hemsworth's "Rush" round up the top 5 with $5.7M and $4.4M respectively.