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
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Movies

From 'La Femme Nikita' to 'Lucy,' a list…

French filmmaker Luc Besson has created a cottage industry of junk cinema. Here are his many unique action heroes, including Liam Neeson and "Lucy"'s Lucy.

Movies

Review: 'Lucy,' with Scarlett Johansson, is smart, stupid…

Luc Besson's "Lucy," in which Scarlett Johansson gains increased control over her brain, is a film about smart and stupid but always enjoyable.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.