Justin Timberlake Faces The Weight Of ‘Gravity’ At The Box Office

Timberlake's 'Runner Runner' will likely get crushed by Sandra Bullock's sci-fi drama.

Not even Batman and a pop star stand a chance against Sandra Bullock.

Director Alfonso Cuaron’s 3-D sci-fi epic “Gravity” should crush the box office this weekend, buoyed by a buzzed-about performance from Sandra Bullock in a lead role previously attached to Angelina Jolie and Natalie Portman. “Gravity” should take down between $40 million and $45 million, according to box-office forecasts. “Gravity” wowed audiences at the Venice Film Festival and has racked up a beyond-impressive 90 percent critical average on Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s something of a former Batman/future Batman matchup this weekend. George Clooney donned the cape and cowl in 1997′s ill-fated “Batman & Robin” and Ben Affleck will suit up for 2015′s “Man of Steel” sequel. Clooney stars opposite Bullock in “Gravity”; Affleck is a shady gambler opposite Timberlake’s Princeton grad in “Runner Runner.”

Anthony Mackie recently joked with MTV News that he joined the “Runner Runner” cast in order to slap Timberlake around, but unfortunately for both of them, film critics have been beating up on the movie itself. “Runner Runner” sat on the opposite end of the Tomatometer going into the weekend with a very “rotten” 9 percent critical average. The movie “takes us inside the world of Internet gambling, which proves every bit as fascinating as you’d imagine, by which I mean, not at all,” wrote Liam Lacey at Globe and Mail. “Runner Runner” will likely open at #3 with around $10 million.

“Gravity” carried a reported production budget of $80 million and will undoubtedly give writer/director Cuaron his biggest opening weekend ever, behind 2004′s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” of course. The dramatic weight of “Gravity” proved even more challenging than the physical rigors of the spacesuit for the film’s lead. “Preparing physically was easier” than preparing emotionally, Bullock told MTV News. “It wasn’t easy, but [I] knew what [I] had to do.”

The runner-up spot should belong to last weekend’s box office champ, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” which should collect almost double the weekend haul of “Runner Runner.” Revenge thriller “Prisoners” should stick around the top five at #4 with a million or two more than Chris Hemsworth’s “Rush,” which is likely to make around $5 million.

After posting the biggest debut for an IMAX only concert film ever, “Metallica Through the Never” will expand into standard theaters this weekend as “Gravity” gobbles up many of the IMAX screens. After screening for evangelical pastors, “Grace Unplugged” will debut in 500 theaters. AJ Michalka from “Super 8″ stars in the Christian family drama.