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Box office report: 'Gravity' pulls in record-breaking $55.6 million

By Grady Smith, EW
updated 7:18 AM EDT, Tue October 8, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Bullock/Clooney thriller blasted into first place
  • The film played to a much broader audience than most sci-fi films
  • Affleck and Timberlake faltered in third place with Runner Runner

(CNN) -- Warner Bros.' $100 million Alfonso Cuarón-directed thriller Gravity blasted off on its opening weekend at the box office, scoring a stunning $55.6 million from 3,575 theaters. The sci-fi title, which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, set a new October opening weekend record, surpassing Paranormal Activity 3's $52.6 million debut in 2011.

Gravity also marks the best-ever debut for both of its stars, beating Bullock's $39.1 million start for this summer's The Heat (talk about having a great year at the box office!) and Clooney's $42.9 million debut for Batman & Robin in 1997. And to put a cherry on top of Warner Bros.' incredible weekend, audiences issued Gravity an excellent "A-" CinemaScore grade, which will yield great word-of-mouth for weeks to come.

The film played to a much broader audience than most young-male-dominated sci-fi films. Crowds were 54 percent male and 46 percent female, and 59 percent were above the age of 35. 3-D showings accounted for a whopping 80 percent of the film's weekend gross (bucking the downward trend 3-D has faced this year and proving that audiences will pay for the format if they feel it's worth it). IMAX tickets made up 20 percent of revenue — because if there's one thing that looks great on a big screen, it's outer space.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 dropped 37 percent in its second weekend to $21.5 million, which gives the animated title a $60.6 million total after 10 days. Sony spent $78 million on the saucy sequel and wisely scheduled it away from other family competition, which should allow it to thrive throughout October. (By comparison, films like Turbo and The Smurfs 2 got choked out this summer while competing with each other and Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University.) The next animated film to arrive in theaters, Free Birds, won't come out until Nov. 1.

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Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake faltered in third place with their new crime drama Runner Runner, which earned a weak $7.6 million in its first three days. Both stars are hotter than ever: Affleck, after winning an Oscar for Argo and landing the Batman role in Warner Bros.' upcoming Man of Steel sequel, and Timberlake, after hitting No. 1 with his comeback album The 20/20 Experience, the sequel to which is projected to be the No. 1 album this week. But nothing about Runner Runner inspired crowds to check it out in theaters. Audiences issued the poorly reviewed film, which cost Fox about $30 million, a weak "C" CinemaScore grade.

Prisoners and Rush made up the rest of the Top 5. Prisoners fell 48 percent to $5.7 million, giving the Hugh Jackman vehicle a $47.9 million total against a $46 million budget. The film earned excellent reviews, but has had trouble holding on to audiences due to the arrival of Rush, Don Jon, and Gravity — three well-reviewed dramas attracting attention. Fortunately, Prisoners is holding on better than one of those films, Rush, which fell 56 percent this weekend to $4.4 million. The Formula One racing drama starring Chris Hemsworth and directed by Ron Howard has now earned $18.1 million total and will fall short of its $38 million budget.

1. Gravity -- $55.6 million

2. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 -- $21.5 million

3. Runner Runner -- $7.6 million

4. Prisoners -- $5.7 million

5. Rush -- $4.4 million

Check back next weekend for full box office coverage of new releases Machete Kills and Captain Phillips.

See the original story at EW.com.

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