"Gravity" shot to the top of the box office in its opening weekend, pulling in a record $55.6 million and breaking the previous October opening movie ticket sales records in the process. Gravity was blessed with A-list stars in Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, fantastic critical reviews and word of mouth descriptions of incredible 3-D effects. The previous record for the biggest October opening was the $52.6 million that horror sequel "Paranormal Activity 3" took in two years ago this month, according to USA Today on Oct. 6.
Bolstered by the best reviews of any movie so far this year, "Gravity" destroyed the only other new opening this weekend, the Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake crime drama "Runner Runner".
That flick had only an 8 percent approval rating among critics, as opposed to the whopping 98 percent that "Gravity" enjoyed coming into this weekend. The Afleck-Timberlake movie managed a disappointing $7.6 million, giving it a third place weekend finish.
Ben Fritz of The Wall Street Journal noted that "Gravity" opened more like a summer blockbuster designed to appeal to wider audiences than the more targeted type of films that typically open in the fall.
Amazingly, this marked the highest ever opening for both Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, both highly bankable A-list stars. The movie is said to combine incredible special effects with a horror movie-style vibe.
The pair star as astronauts whose mission goes horribly wrong, when a cloud of orbital debris shreds their shuttle, cuts off their communication with earth and leaves them stranded in space.
But what the trailers can't convey, is not only how visually stunning the movie is, but how pulse-pounding the drama of the stars' plight becomes. The film makes you hold your breath, and gives you the feeling of actually being in space say many critics.
The animated comedy "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" landed in second place with $21.5 million, while the drama "Prisoners" took in $5.7 million, finishing fourth.
The Ron Howard racing film "Rush" rounded out the top five movies of the weekend with $4.4 million.