Monday, October 7, 2013

'Gravity's' record-setting haul flies past expectations

While many of us were expecting Gravity to achieve great financial heights over its opening weekend, the 3D thriller performed even better than predicted. The latest film from Alfonso Cuaron, his first since 2006’s Children of Men (don’t call it a comeback), earned a soaring $55.6 million this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It now holds the record for the largest opening in October, outpacing previous record-holder Paranormal Activity 3, which clocked in at $52.6 million back in 2011. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Gravity’s impressive haul is its breakdown: 80% of the film’s revenue came from 3D showings, amounting to roughly $44 million in sales. With #Gravity blowing up social media, I think it’s safe to call the movie a cultural phenomenon, granting pop-culture enthusiasts a much-needed trend on which to expound following the end of last week’s hot topic, “Breaking Bad.” Both star Sandra Bullock and her chatty partner-in-space George Clooney can also thank the survival flick for giving them their best – biggest – domestic opening ever.

More in-line with last week’s expectations and predictions, Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck’s Runner Runner failed to drum up much foot traffic. The stars’ action/drama feature earned a disappointing $7.6 million in domestic box-office; its international gross has been tallied at $23.6 million. Luckily, the movie only cost roughly $30 million to make, so stars and studio alike can pretty much cut their losses on this one and, much like Gigli or JT’s blonde curls, move beyond it in the interest of making wiser choices. (Let’s hope Ben Affleck’s turn in the new Batman movie falls into the latter category!)


The charming Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 continues to hold strong sway with audiences. The animated sequel boasted the second-best weekend behind Gravity, earning $21.5 million and bringing its total domestic earnings up to $60.5 million.


Tom Hanks’ new, captivating thriller Captain Phillips, based on a true sequence of events involving modern-day pirates, also saw some enthusiastic responses when it opened for several preview showings this past weekend.  On average, theaters at most of the 800 screening locations were 75% full, with many playing to sold-out crowds. The movie opens wide this coming weekend.

Though we could write all day about box office grosses and who’s out-drawing whom, we’ll end today’s recap with an update on the late James Gandolfini’s final feature, Enough Said. The romantic comedy co-starring the woman with an infallible sense of comedic timing, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, finally cracked the top 10 over the weekend, earning $5.4 million.  It will expand to around 650 more theatres this Friday.

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