The Oscar season has its first smash hit. Gravity, Warner Bros. new sci-fi film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney opened to a stunning $55.5 million this weekend. That topped every other original sci-fi opening this year including Pacific Rim, Oblivion, The Purge, Elysium and After Earth. Gravity was only $7 million behind Inception's 2010 intake. In addition, Gravity's 3D shares were massive. 80% of the film's tickets sold were for 3D and IMAX accounted for $11.23 million of the weekend gross. Gravity also received an "A-" Cinemascore from audiences. That indicates that it will have very strong word of mouth in the coming weeks. Gravity is certainly one of the better films of the year, and even though my first viewing wasn't in IMAX or 3D, I certainly intend on checking it out in that format next weekend. Safe to say that if word of mouth is strong and Oscar buzz continues, Gravity will hit $200 million.
In second place this weekend was Sony's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. The animated sequel dropped 37% to $21.5 million, enough for a $60.5 million total. That was a solid drop for the animated film, as it practically mirrored last year's Hotel Transylvania. With several weeks until the next children's film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 should have strong enough legs for $100 million.
The big flop of the weekend was Fox's gambling drama Runner Runner. The film, which starred Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck, grossed $7.6 million this weekend along with a "C" Cinemascore. Runner Runner never appeared to be good and it also received dismal reviews from critics. In addition to the R-rating and the overperformance of Gravity, there's no surprise that Runner Runner flopped.
When you look beyond those three films, it's not hard to see why this weekend was down a whopping 13% from last year. Prisoners placed in fourth with $5.7 million, enough for a $47.8 million total. The kidnapping drama received strong reviews but never broke out. It's subject matter just always appeared to be too dark for mainstream audiences. However, Ron Howard's Rush is a whole different story. The racing drama placed in fifth this weekend with $4.4 million. That's enough for a total of $18 million. Rush is the best film of the year, and it's terribly sad to see that an appealing film with action and dramatic leads can't get play in Hollywood anymore. At least we have movies like Gravity and Argo to keep our spirits up.
Don Jon surprisingly held better than Rush with a sixth place finish and a $4.1 million weekend. The romantic comedy about porn has grossed $16 million so far. Baggage Claim also dropped significantly with a seventh place finish and a $4.125 million weekend. The romantic comedy has grossed $15.1 million so far. And in eighth place was Insidious Chapter 2, which grossed $3.8 million this weekend, for a total of $74.7 million.
Finally, in ninth and tenth place were Pulling Strings and Enough Said, respectively. Pulling Strings, a Spanish-language comedy from Lionsgate grossed $2.5 million and Enough Said grossed another $2.1 million.
Next weekend sees the release of Captain Phillips and Machete Kills. Check out my predictions:
1. Gravity- $31.5 million
2. Captain Phillips- $26.4 million
3. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2- $13.5 million
4. Machete Kills- $12 million
5. Prisoners- $4.1 million
6. Runner Runner- $3.6 million
7. Rush- $2.8 million
8. Pulling Strings- $2.4 million
9. Don Jon- $2 million
10. Baggage Claim- $1.9 million