Box office: ‘Gravity’ floats to No. 1 with $17.5 million Friday

“Gravity” has landed.

The Alfonso Cuaron-directed sci-fi film floated away with a stellar $17 million on Friday at the box office, and is likely on its way to a debut haul of $50 million.

If it does hit that magic number on Sunday, “Gravity” will be the third biggest October opening ever, as well as the month’s biggest non-sequel. The current record holder is “Paranormal Activity 3,” which scared up $52.5 million in 2011.

“Gravity” is also on schedule to deliver the biggest three-day opening for both of its stars. It will easily eclipse Sandra Bullock’s “The Heat,” which scooped up $39 million in its debut earlier this year, as well as George Clooney’s “Batman and Robin,” which nabbed $42 million back in 1997. 

Of course, “Gravity” is benefitting greatly from inflated 3D and IMAX ticket prices; Friday’ IMAX take was a huge $3.6 million.

Meanwhile, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” — which topped the chart last week — earned $4.7 million on Friday, good for the No. 2 slot. The animated sequel has so far earned a healthy $43.7 million domestically.  

Newcomer “Runner Runner,” starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, picked up $2.7 million and will likely earn around $8 million for the weekend. Although reportedly just $30 million to produce, the gambling drama is nonetheless off to a disappointing start, considering its star power.

The starry crime drama “Prisoners” captured another $1.7 million on Friday. The film stars Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal and has so far made $43.9 million at the domestic box office.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s “Don Jon” picked up another $1.4 million to close out the top five, bringing its domestic take to $13.3 million. 

Next week will bring the Tom Hanks drama “Captain Phillips,” the action sequel “Machete Kills” and the new “Romeo and Juliet” into the fray. 

Look for complete box office estimates for the weekend on Sunday.