NEW YORK (AP) -- Star power and Oscar aspirations are reigning at the box office, where the space adventure “Gravity” and the Somali pirate docudrama “Captain Phillips” are holding off all comers.
With $31 million over the weekend according to studio estimates Sunday, “Gravity” topped the box office for the third straight week, cementing its status as the juggernaut of the fall movie-going season. The 3-D Warner Bros. movie, staring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, has now made more than $170 million in three weeks. The film’s groundbreaking visuals have been particularly popular on IMAX screens, where it made an “Avatar”-like $7.4 million on the weekend.
“Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks and directed by Paul Greengrass, also held in second place, taking in $17.3 million in its second week. The Sony film slid only 33 percent from its debut last weekend of $25.7 million.
The two movies and their veteran stars were able to keep three new wide releases at bay: the horror remake “Carrie” ($17 million for Sony and MGM), the Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick “Escape Plan” ($9.8 million for Lionsgate), and the WikiLeaks drama “The Fifth Estate.”
The last utterly flopped—a fate predicted by its subject, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange—taking in a paltry $1.7 million for Disney. It’s the worst debut this year for a film in such wide release (1,769 theaters).
“It’s a very strong lineup that is not budging,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak, who noted the primary family choice, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” is also holding steady with $10.1 million in its fourth week. “‘Carrie’ came into a very competitive marketplace.”
In a limited release of just 19 theaters, Steve McQueen’s highly-anticipated slavery epic “12 Years a Slave,” starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, opened with $960,000. The exceptionally high theater average of $50,000 suggested considerable audience eagerness for the already much-lauded film.