Weekend Wrap-Up

Openers Fail, Flop and Fizzle as Gravity Soars

By John Hamann

October 20, 2013

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There is simply no gravity with Gravity. John Mayer must be impressed.

For the third consecutive weekend, Gravity is our number one film, as three newcomers either out and out flopped (The Fifth Estate), significantly missed expectations and fizzled (Carrie), or was an epic fail idea to begin with (Escape Plan cost at least $70 million to make). So, for the second consecutive weekend, the box office is (almost) saved by Gravity, Captain Phillips and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, as these three films earn 60% of the top 12 cumulative box office. Six films in the top 12 earned $2 million or less this weekend, as the overall box office score continues to seriously lag behind last year’s totals.

Our number one film is again the beautiful thing that is Gravity, as the $100 million Warner Bros. space thriller continues to shine in its third frame. After $43.2 million frame last weekend that equalled a drop of only 23% compared to its opening, Gravity continues to defy expectations. This weekend, Gravity earned another $31 million and again had a sub-30% drop, falling only 28% from the previous frame. This weekend’s take is one of the top 20 grosses of all time for a third frame, joining iconic films like Up, which took in $30.8 million in its third frame, Toy Story 3, which took in $30.3 million, and Iron Man, which earned $31.8 million in weekend three.


Gravity crossed the $150 million mark domestically on Saturday, its 16th day of release. Non-summer films that have earned $150 million in 16 days include Night at the Museum (a Christmas box office lotto winner), 300 and The Lorax (both of which opened $16 million higher than Gravity). The domestic total rises to an amazing $170.5 million, and now we start looking at where Gravity could possibly end up. Given the legs we’ve seen so far and the audience adherence to IMAX and 3D screenings, I would say there is at least another $100 million in the tank for Gravity, which would take it to $260 million. I believe that something fairly special would have to happen for Gravity to reach $300 million, as it’s not summer and not Christmas, and Thanksgiving remains five weeks away. Overseas, Gravity is still ramping up. It has pulled in $68 million so far, but still has some big, big markets where it has yet to debut, including the United Kingdom in November and Japan in December. Worldwide, Gravity has pulled in $239 million.

It’s a photo finish for second, which means good news for Captain Phillips and bad news for Carrie, the MGM remake of their 1976 original. Just eking by is Captain Phillips, the Tom Hanks thriller that got off to a great start last weekend with $25.7 million. To stay awards relevant in the shadow of Gravity, Captain Phillips needed to earn around $16 or $17 million to give the film a drop of 35%. That’s another one Sony can cross of its Oscar list, as Captain Phillips earned $16.7 million this weekend and falls 35%, a decent hold considering Gravity's run and the fact that the films' target demographics overlap. Flight, last year’s Denzel Washington starrer that earned him an Oscar nomination, opened to a similar $24.9 million, but then fell 41% to $14.8 million in its second frame.

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