‘Gravity’ Was a Force at Weekend Box Office

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Gravity Trailer Screenshot

Gravity,” the new 3-D thriller that stars Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney rocketed to the top of the weekend box office, breaking a record for the month of October by pulling in $55.6 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters. It beat the previous October record, the $52.5 million opening for “Paranormal Activity 3” in 2011.

The film, which follows two stranded astronauts floating through space, added $27.4 million from sales in international markets, for a combined debut of $83 million, distributor Warner Bros. said on Sunday.

Critics raved about the visual effects in the film, which cost close to $100 million to make and reproduced space and zero gravity in ways never seen on screen. Eighty percent of “Gravity” filmgoers purchased the higher-priced 3-D tickets, according to Warner Bros.

“It’s great because it’s a film that’s played well with the press and also equally well with the public,” said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution.

Last week’s top movie, Sony’s “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” rolled into second place with $21.5 million. The animated sequel features the voices of Bill Hader and Anna Faris and a cast of “foodimals,” like tacodiles and shrimpanzees.

Twentieth Century Fox’s “Runner Runner,” starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, opened in third place with a disappointing $7.6 million. Warner Bros.’ “Prisoners,” starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, locked onto the fourth spot with $5.7 million, while Universal’s car-racing drama “Rush” took the No. 5 slot with $4.4 million.

“Don Jon” and “Baggage Claim” also had a tough time this weekend. Don Jon fell 52 percent to $4.16 million, and has so far earned a light $16.1 million. Meanwhile, Baggage Claim fell 54 percent to $4.1 million for a new total of $15.2 million.

Here’s the estimated ticket sales for the top 10 films, Friday through Sunday, at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. International numbers included where available.

1. “Gravity,” $55.55 million ($27.4 million international).

2. “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” $21.5 million ($8.1 international).

3. “Runner Runner,” $7.6 million ($7.6 million international).

4. “Prisoners,” $5.7 million ($5.7 million international).

5. “Rush,” $4.8 million ($7.5 million international).

6. “Don Jon,” $4.16 million ($350,000 international).

7. “Baggage Claim,” $4.12 million.

8. “Insidious: Chapter 2,” $3.87 million ($9.3 million international).

9. “Pulling Strings,” $2.5 million.

10. “Enough Said,” $2.15 million.