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‘The Martian’ Outselling ‘Gravity’ in Weekend Pre-Sales

Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” may rocket into the box office stratosphere.

The outer space thriller is outselling “Gravity” at a similar point in its sales cycle, Fandango reports. The ticket service didn’t say how much the film was outpacing “Gravity” by, but it does report that “The Martian” currently accounts for 54% of weekend ticket sales.

Fandango’s rival MovieTickets.com didn’t offer up any sales information of its own, but its site has “The Martian” as the second biggest seller Wednesday, behind “Black Mass.”

Despite the robust pre-sales, tracking services aren’t predicting that “The Martian” will overtake “Gravity” as the top October debut in history. It is currently projected to gross $45 million, which is short of “Gravity’s” record-holding $55.8 million launch.

There are other factors to consider. For one thing, “The Martian” won’t benefit from an Imax run, as those screens are committed to showing Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk.” It won’t be entirely deprived of hefty surcharges. It will show in more than 350 premium large-format theaters, which do carry higher prices, and two-thirds of the 3,826 locations showing “The Martian” will be in 3D.

However, “Gravity” was a 3D anomaly. Because critics lavished praise on director Alfonso Cuaron’s use of the technology, 3D became the de facto way to see the picture. Eighty percent of the film’s opening weekend gross came from 3D screens. Most major blockbusters are lucky if 45% of their debut comes from 3D venues, so it’s a feat “The Martian” is unlikely to replicate.

The strong buzz for “The Martian” is partly attributable to sterling reviews. The film has been praised as Scott’s best work in years and currently holds a 94% “fresh” rating on critics aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

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