Box office: ‘Gravity’ soars over ‘Captain’

George Clooney hangs on for dear life in "Gravity." Credit: Getty Images
George Clooney hangs on for dear life in “Gravity.”
Credit: Getty Images

The 3-D outer space thriller “Gravity” kept a tight grip on U.S. and Canadian box offices over the weekend, eclipsing the debut of Somali pirate drama “Captain Phillips” in a battle between two Oscar hopefuls.

“Gravity,” starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts stranded in space, held the top spot on movie charts for a second weekend, grabbing $44.3 million in domestic ticket sales from Friday through Sunday.

The continued pull of “Gravity” beat the $26 million opening for “Captain Phillips,” a drama starring Tom Hanks in a story based on the real-life hijacking of a U.S. cargo ship. Animated “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2″ took the No. 3 slot, collecting $14.3 million, according to studio estimates.

Both “Gravity” and “Captain Phillips” earned glowing reviews and mentions as likely Oscar contenders. “Gravity” wowed critics with its 3D depictions of space and weightlessness, while Hanks won praise for his portrayal of Captain Richard Phillips, the man taken hostage when Somali pirates seized his ship in 2009.

Ninety-seven percent of critics recommended “Gravity” in reviews on the Rotten Tomatoes website, slightly more than the 95 percent for “Captain Phillips.”

In “Gravity,” Bullock plays a novice astronaut and engineer alongside Clooney as the mission commander. After flying debris damages their shuttle, the pair are sent hurtling into space with depleting oxygen and remote chances of returning to Earth.

The movie took in record sales for an October weekend when it debuted a week ago. Filmgoers kept coming during the week, with many opting to pay for higher-priced 3D tickets. The film scored the best second weekend ever for an IMAX film with a take of $9 million, and North American sales for “Gravity” through Sunday reached an estimated $123.4 million, according to Warner Bros.

“It’s word-of-mouth,” said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution, explaining the film’s remarkable performance, which included a drop of only 21 percent in receipts from the opening weekend which he said was a record for a wide-release film.

“We’re filling theaters in small, medium and large towns throughout North America, and our audience has really spread from (ages) eight to 80,” Fellman added.

Though it couldn’t overcome “Gravity,” “Captain Phillips” exceeded predictions for a start of around $21 million. The film cost $55 million to make.

“This was a terrific opening for ‘Captain Phillips’ and we’re just beginning,” said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures’ worldwide president of distribution.

“We’re going to be around for a very long time with this film. People are really talking about it,” Bruer added.

Also this weekend, new action movie “Machete Kills” grossed $3.8 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters, finishing in fourth place. Danny Trejo plays a spy named Machete who is recruited by the U.S. government to stop an arms dealer planning to launch a weapon into space.

The film, a sequel to 2010 release “Machete,” was acquired by Open Road Films for less than $2 million.

In fifth place, drama “Runner Runner” took in $3.7 million. The film stars Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck in a story about the dark and murky world of online gambling.

The Ron Howard-directed Formula One drama “Rush” fell to eighth place with only $2.4 million, for a total of only $22.2 million in its fourth week of release.

“Gravity” was released by Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc. Sony Corp’s movie studio released “Captain Phillips” and “Cloudy 2.” “Machete Kills” was distributed by Open Road Films, a joint venture between theater owners Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment Inc. “Runner Runner” was distributed by 20th Century Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox. “Rush” was distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Easter Egg hunt horror as skydiver plummets to…

A FAMILY Easter egg hunt ended in horror when a skydiver plummeted to his death in a New York garden after his parachute failed to…

News

Boston Marathon 2014 on high alert, Red Sox…

One year on from the horrific Boston Marathon bombings a ring of steel has been thrown around today's race, and a city stands defiant against…

News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.