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Box Office: ‘Gravity’ Soars With Record $55 Million October Launch

Fox's 'Runner Runner' underperforms with $7.6 million domestic opening

In a record-setting debut, Warner Bros.’ 3D space epic “Gravity” scored a starry estimated $55.6 million, of which mega-screen exhib Imax — a significant partner on the film, considering the push the studio gave helmer Alfonso Cuaron’s cutting-edge filmmaking — contributed $11.2 million domestically. Both totals were records for October.

Internationally, “Gravity” estimated $27.4 million from 27 markets, including Russia, which led with $8.1 million, followed by Germany and Australia, each contributing north of $3 million.

The overall three-day domestic gross for “Gravity,” boosted by a whopping 80% from 3D, eclipsed the month’s previous record holder, “Paranormal Acitvity 3,” which earned $52.6 million in 2011. (Interestingly, the 3D share was less overseas, at 70%.)

SEE ALSO: Sandra Bullock On the Emotional Rollercoaster of Filming ‘Gravity’ (VIDEO)

The weekend’s other wide release, Fox’s Ben Affleck-Justin Timerlake actioner “Runner Runner,” grossed a meager $7.6 million Stateside. The studio launched the film last weekend internationally; the pic’s worldwide total so far is $31.2 million.

Despite the benchmark bow for “Gravity,” which received an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore, weekend totals still trailed this time last year, when “Taken 2” earned $49 million, plus holdover “Hotel Transylvania” grossed $27 million in its second frame. This year, Sony’s family-friendly leftover, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” grossed $21.5 million in its sophomore outing, lifting its Stateside cume to $60.6 million.

SEE ALSO: Film Review: ‘Gravity’

With “Gravity,” Warners risked trying to achieve a tentpole-sized opening outside a peak play period. The film’s bow, a significant coup for the studio’s marketing and distribution teams, became the largest domestic opening for stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, as well as the second-largest for Cuaron, behind “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

“October is strong, but not a lot of people have taken a shot at it,” said Warner domestic distribution prexy Dan Fellman. “To jump out at 80% (in 3D) opening weekend is phenomenal.”

The Imax portion — which was 20%, the largest percentage for the company with a $50 million-plus opener — contributed greatly to the 3D share, especially at the newly renovated TCL Chinese theater in Hollywood — now the largest Imax theater in the world.

What’s more, the competition in Hollywood was fierce. For context, the Chinese contributed in two days $90,000, while only a few blocks away the more established Arclight theater (which had four screens in addition to the dome presentation) grossed $176,000 in two days.

“A lot of people who grew up going to see Imax space documentaries like ‘Space Station’ and ‘Hubble 3D’ made the connection to see this film also in Imax,” said Greg Foster, chairman and president of Imax Entertainment. “This is proof that quality and commercial success can co-exist when made and crafted in the right way.”

Meanwhile, Sony’s week-early sneak of “Captain Phillips” saw enthusiastic responses, according to the studio, with 75% capacity at approximately 800 locations. Many markets were sell-outs including New York’s Lincoln Square, but also places like Plano, Texas, Minneapolis and Vancouver.

Fox Searchlight’s Nicole Holofcener-directed dramedy “Enough Said” landed in the top ten for the first time, estimating $2.2 million from only 437 locations. In its third frame, the film, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini, has cumed $5.4 million. Fox Searchlight plans to expand the pic next weekend to roughly 650 locations.

String of B.O. hits for Pantelion

In less than a month, Pantelion — the joint label between Lionsgate and Televisa — scored its second straight domestic standout: “Pulling Strings,” a 50/50 Spanish-English language comedy about a cavalier mariachi singer, scored an estimated $2.5 million from just 387 locations. The film averaged $6,460 per screen, the second-highest this weekend for a non-exclusive release, behind “Gravity.”

Pantelion’s earlier V.I.P. “Instructions Not Included” has grossed north of $40 million and counting domestically.

Domestic

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Locations; Per-theater average; Cume*; Percentage change

  1. Gravity (1): $55.6; 3,575; $15,538; $55.6; —
  2. Cloudy With … Meatballs 2 (2): $21.5; 4,001; $5,374; $60.6; -37%
  3. Runner Runner (1): $7.6; 3,026; $2,512; $7.6; —
  4. Prisoners (3): $5.7; 3,236; $1,761; $47.9; -48%
  5. Rush (3): $4.4; 2,308; $1,910; $18.1; -56%
  6. Don Jon (2): $4.2; 2,422; $1,718; $16.1; -52%
  7. Baggage Claim (2): $4.1; 2,030; $2,032; $15.2; -54%
  8. Insidious Chapter 2 (4): $3.9; 2,607; $1,487; $74.7; -41%
  9. Pulling Strings (1): $2.5; 387; $6,460; $2.5; —
  10. Enough Said (3): $2.2; 437; $4,920; $5.4; +2%

Overseas

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Territories; Screens; Int’l cume*; Global cume*; Percentage change

  1. Gravity (1): $27.4; 27; 4,763; $27.4; $83.0; —
  2. Turbo (12): $9.6; 15; 3,946; $112.8; $194.8; +75%
  3. Insidious Chapter 2 (3): $8.7; 29; 1,725; $15.5; $90.2; +123%
  4. Cloudy With … Meatballs 2 (2): $8.1; 15; 2,575; $11.2; $71.8; +999%
  5. Runner Runner (2): $7.6; 52; 4,380; $23.6; $31.2; -32%

*in millions of $

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