The weight of “Gravity” was just too heavy for Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck over the weekend.
Filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron’s sci-fi epic crushed the box office record for October with a $55.5 million weekend, displacing 2011’s “Paranormal Activity 3” and providing career-best openings for Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in the process.
Remaining at a beyond impressive 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes “Tomatometer” as the weekend concluded, “Gravity” enjoyed the combination of critical consensus and word of mouth about its impressive 3-D IMAX visuals.
3-D ticket sales accounted for 71 percent of that $55.5 million total, with IMAX showings contributing roughly 20 percent. In addition to the heavy-duty emotional work poured into the performances (Bullock recently talked about that scene with MTV News), there are many other noteworthy facts to consider surrounding its record breaking weekend. The movie isn’t a sequel, or remake or an adaptation. The female lead is 49 years old; the male lead is 52.
Bullock’s previous career-best opening was just a few months ago, when the action-comedy “Heat” started with $39.1 million. Clooney’s new #2 stretches all the way back to 1997’s ill-fated “Batman and Robin,” which kicked off with $42.8 million.
Ben Affleck will step inside the Batman suit in 2015’s followup to “Man of Steel,” but for now, he’ll have to look forward to next year’s release of “Gone Girl” (directed by David Fincher) and his own adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s “Live By Night” (which Affleck co-wrote and will both direct and star in) because there isn’t much to celebrate about “Runner Runner” now.
Despite the star power of Justin Timberlake and Affleck and an association with producer Leonardo DiCaprio, “Runner Runner” stumbled with one of the worst openings ever for a movie debuting on more than 3,000 screens (the #1 record for that belongs to “Hoot,” which featured future Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Clark Gregg in a small role). “Runner Runner” made just $7.6 million at the domestic box office. In stark contrast with “Gravity,” the gambling drama sat at just 8 percent on Rotten Tomatoes on Sunday.
With “Runner Runner” barely reaching #3, that left the #2 spot wide open for last week’s champ, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.” The kid-friendly sequel made another $21.5 million for a two week total of $60.5 million. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal’s “Prisoners” was #4 with $5.7 million got a three week total near $48 million. Chris Hemsworth’s 1970s-set racing drama “Rush” rounded out the Top 5 with $4.4 million for a somewhat lackluster total domestic gross of $18 million.