Warner Brothers have been pulling out all the stops to promote Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, and it has paid off. After an onslaught of advertising, promotional activity from the stars, and some incredible reviews, Gravity has opened at the top of the US box office this weekend, but that is only half the story. Gravity, which has been promoted to be seen in 3D rather than 2D, has broken a number of records with its $55.5 million opening.
The reviews for Gravity have all stated that to see this film, and to get the best experience, it MUST be seen in 3D, and critics have been hailing it as one of the best films of the year. Gravity already has a whopping 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with cinema audiences in the US scoring it an A+ CinemaScore after its massive opening. On IMDB the film has already scored a respectful 8.8/10.
Cuaron, who directed such greats as Children of Men, Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban and Y Tu Mama Tambien, is a visionary director who has brought something brand new to the sci-fi genre, and no doubt Gravity is set for Oscar glory next year. However, let’s take a look at the records the film broke this weekend, shall we:
Firstly, Gravity has become the biggest October opener of all time, beating previous record holder Paranormal Activity 3. Gravity destroyed the competition with a $55.5 million opening, and this figure dwarfs Paranormal Activity 3’s 2011 record holder of $42 million. While on the subject of biggest October opening, it is also by far the biggest October opening for an original film. The previous record holder for an original film in October was Shark Tale in 2004, which opened with $47 million.
Gravity has also achieved the biggest opening weekend ever for both its stars. Sandra Bullock’s previous record was also achieved this year when The Heat opened to $39 million in June, this broke her previous records of The Blind Side and The Proposal, which both earned $34 million. Gravity is well ahead of The Heat, and it will take some doing for Bullock to top this opening.
George Clooney also scored his biggest opening weekend ever, and his previous record was the embarrassing Batman and Robin. Clooney’s biggest US overall box office take goes to 2000’s The Perfect Storm which achieved a US box office gross of $182 million. Gravity is expected to top that.
Warner Brothers have been really promoting the fact that the best way to see Gravity is in 3D, and critics have all said the same, and this has caused Gravity to break yet another record, this time for the 3D and 2D split of an opening over $50 million.. The record for 3D tickets sales compared to 2D was originally held by James Cameron’s Avatar in 2009. That film achieved 3D tickets sales of 72% of its huge $77 million opening in the US, while last years Life of Pi achieved 68% of its $24 million opening in 3D sales in the US. Gravity has broken the record, with a whopping 80% of all tickets sales being for 3D. $44 million of its total weekend gross came from 3D sales, with $11.2 million of that coming from IMAX sales (which were all in 3D). With 3D a dying trend, this is great news for the formula.
“We knew we were going to do well this weekend,” Warner Bros.’ head of distribution Dan Fellman told TheWrap, “but this surprised us.” Analysts had projected a $40 million start, but surging social-media buzz as the weekend drew near suggested something bigger.
Her’s the US top 10 for the weekend:
1. Gravity 3D (Warner Bros) NEW [Runs 3,575] PG13
Friday $17.5M, Saturday $23.5M, Weekend $55.5M
2. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 3D (Sony) Week 2 [Runs 4,001] PG
Friday $4.7M, Saturday $9.4M, Weekend $21.5M (-37%), Cume $60.5M
3. Runner Runner (Fox) NEW [Runs 3,024] R
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $7.9M
4. Prisoners (Alcon/Warner Bros) Week 3 [Runs 3,236] R
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.6M, Weekend $5.7M, Cume $47.8M
5. Rush (Imagine/Universal) Week 3 [Runs 2,308] R
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $2.0M, Weekend $4.5M, Cume $18.2M
6. Baggage Claim (Fox Searchlight) Week 2 [Runs 2,230] PG13
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $2.1M, Weekend $4.5M (-50%), Cume $15.5M
7. Don Jon (Relativity) Week 2 [Runs 2,422] R
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $1.8M, Weekend $4.2M (-49%), Cume $16.1M
8. Insidious: Chapter 2 (FilmDistrict) Week 4 [Runs 2,607] PG13
Friday $1.1M, Weekend $3.7M, Cume $74.6M
9. Pulling Strings [Pantelion/Lionsgate] NEW [Runs 387] PG
Friday $757K, Weekend $2.7M
10. Enough Said (Fox Searchlight) Week 3 [Runs 437] PG13
Friday $601K, Weekend $2.1M, Cume $5.4M
Written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron and co-written by Jonas Cuaron, Gravity stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, with Basher Savage and Eric Michels providing the voices of the Space Station Captain and NASA.
Gravity opens in the UK on November 8th.
Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone–tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.