Movie-goers were lost in space in a big and good way as "Gravity" not only took hold, it grabbed an October record at the box office.
"Gravity," starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, tethered $55.5 million and buried its competition. No other movie has ever had an October weekend like that one did. And given the formats, it can be seen more than once if one wants to experience it on many levels.
It was a record opening in IMAX with its haul of $11.2 million and Warner Bros. is reporting that 80 percent of its total take was for the 3D format. The film will be on the list as a best picture nominees come Oscar time and no wonder. It is a wonder for the eyes and senses. Meanwhile, it has what it takes with a story and suspense to make the cut.
Then there is Clooney and Bullock, already Oscar winners, which add to its overall appeal. "Gravity" could very well be a 3D movie that makes a serious challenge for best picture. But, can it maintain the hype as it goes forward? Looking at what is ahead, there will be a couple more front-runners.
Deadline is pointing out the "Argo" was released at the same time last year by the same studio (Warner Bros,) so a bit of an Oscar good luck charm has emerged.
1. "Gravity" - $55 million
2. "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" - $21.5 million
3. "Runner Runner" - $7.6 million
4. "Prisoners" - $5.7 million
5. "Rush" - $4.4 million
As for "Runner Runner," it was not widely praised and it is no surprise at the lackluster performance. Justin Timberlake, while very popular, is not a person who can hold a movie yet. Ben Affleck works better with an ensemble, and his films do not always take off right away either. "Argo" took time to grow into what it became.
It was a poor performance overall for "Runner Runner." "Pulling Strings," while only in 387 theaters, managed to break into the top ten (No. 9) with $2.5 million. Now, take a look at "Gravity" once more. Its take in IMAX alone beat "Runner Runner."
Now, back to Clooney. It is not by accident that Clooney seems to always be around when award season comes. He has a knack for picking movies, whether that be producing, directing or acting. He is a movie star who happens to be good at his craft, too. He has that special touch. He was at the podium when "Argo" won the top prize because he was one of its producers. Perhaps the folks who cast Affleck as Batman are scratching their heads now. That will pass, though.
Looking ahead at another possible Oscar contender is "Captain Philips" starring Tom Hanks. The Wrap reported that is has fared real well in sneak previews, including those in Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto. They noted that it is skewing older as a well. It opens Oct. 11. It is what they are calling a fact-based film about Somali pirates.