'Gravity' soars to top of weekend box office

October 6, 2013 - 2:35 PM

Film Gravity Luncheon

This image released by Starpix shows Sandra Bullock, left, and George Clooney at luncheon honoring the film "Gravity," and hosted by The Peggy Siegal Company and Warner Brothers Pictures at The Explorers Club, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo/Starpix, Dave Allocca) -PICTURED: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney -PHOTO by: Dave Allocca/Startraksphoto.com -File name: DA560447.JPG -Location: The Explorers Club Editorial - Rights Managed Image - Please contact <a href=

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Sandra Bullock-George Clooney space drama "Gravity" rocketed to the top of the box office and into industry record books during its opening weekend.

The Warner Bros. adventure debuted with $55.55 million in North American ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday — the biggest October opening ever and the biggest openings for Bullock and Clooney. The film also dominated the international box office, adding another $27.4 million overseas.

"It's all good news," said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution.

He credited director and co-writer Alfonso Cuaron, who takes viewers into orbit with a story set almost entirely in space that explores challenges faced by two astronauts during a spacewalk. Cuaron's team developed equipment and technology to replicate the weightlessness of space.

"It's never been seen before, visual effects like this," Fellman said. "Just the space shots are mind-boggling. It looks like you're right there."

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.

R-rated fare rounds out the top six. Twentieth Century Fox's "Runner Runner," starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, opened in third place with $7.6 million.

Warner Bros.' "Prisoners," starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, locked onto the fourth spot. Universal's racing tale "Rush," starring Chris Hemsworth, drove into fifth place, followed by "Don Jon," Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut about a porn addict looking for love.

"The adult drama is back, and fall is the season for the adult drama," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. "This is when you get your more challenging films, some of the more esoteric fare, and a lot of those movies, by their nature, have to be rated R."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

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.

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Estimated weekend ticket sales Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:

1. "Gravity," $27.4 million.

2. "Turbo," $9.6 million.

3. "Insidious: Chapter 2," $9.3 million.

4. "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2," $8.1 million.

5. "Runner Runner," $7.6 million.

6. "Rush," $7.5 million.

7. "The Lone Ranger," $7 million.

8. "Smurfs 2," $6.1 million.

9. "Planes," $5.9 million.

10. "Prisoners," $5.7 million.

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at http://www.twitter.com/APSandy .

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Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.