Gravity cleaned up at the box office over the weekend, which should help rehabilitate its reputation somewhat after the way it ravaged your mom. Earning an estimated $55.6 million at 3,575 locations, Alfonso Cuarón’s 3D space epic beat out Paranormal Activity 3‘s $52.6 million opening in 2011 for the highest October opening ever. It benefited from premium priced 3D, which accounted for 80 percent of its sales, and IMAX, which made up 20. Oh, and people actually liked it, which is cool. Maybe art and commerce can be bros after all.
Recognizing that Gravity had huge commercial potential, Warner Bros. rolled out a blockbuster-level marketing effort in the past month. Advertisements played up the movie’s unique setting and stunning visuals, and also positioned it as a thrilling, action-packed adventure. Leading up to the release, Warner Bros. started emphasizing the movie’s critical reception, which was nothing short of fantastic (it currently has a 98 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes). Also, Sandra Bullock was all over the place promoting the movie, which helped bring in more women than may otherwise have attended an action-packed sci-fi movie (46 percent of the audience was female).
Probably my favorite Sandra Bullock movie since Demolition Man (the best imagined futures always involve Taco Bell).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, it turns out no one wanted to watch Justin Timberlake play a 32-year-old college student while Ben Affleck fed people to crocodiles, and Runner Runner bombed hard.
This while running up an 8 percent recommended rating on RottenTomatoes and a C Cinemascore. Next time you see Runner Runner will be in the drug store bargain bin three years from now. “What the hell? Batman was in a movie with Senator Timberlake?” you’ll think to yourself.
1. Gravity (Warner Bros.) – $55,550,000
2. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (Sony) – $21,500,000 ($60,557,000)
3. Runner Runner – $7,600,000
4. Prisoners (Warner Bros.) – $5,700,000 ($47,880,000)
5. Rush (Universal) – $4,408,000 ($18,095,000)
6. Don Jon (Relativity Media) – $4,160,000 ($16,077,000)
7. Baggage Claim (FoxSearchlight) – $4,125,000 ($15,185,000)
8. Insidious: Chapter 2 (FilmDistrict) – $3,876,000 ($74,750,000)
9. Pulling the Strings (Lionsgate) – $2,500,000
10. Enough Said (FoxSearchlight) – $2,150,000 ($5,387,000) [Indiewire]