'Gravity' film to pass $200 million at domestic box office next weekend?
Oct. 23 update: Starring Academy Award winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, Alfonso Cuarón's thriller Gravity will quite likely pass the $200 million milestone at the North American box office this coming weekend, Oct. 25–27, '13. Gravity's domestic cume currently stands at $174.91 million, after having added $30.02 million last weekend (Oct. 18-20), in addition to $2.4 million on Monday (Oct. 21) and $2.95 million on Tuesday (Oct. 22) according to figures found at Boxofficemojo.com. In the next couple of days, Gravity should add another $5-5.5 million, raising its domestic total to a little over $180 million.
Last weekend, Gravity was down only 31 percent. As long as it drops about 33 percent or less next weekend, which is certainly a possibility even if it starts shedding theaters, Gravity will pass the $200 million milestone in the U.S. and Canada by Sunday evening. If so, that'll take place on the film's 24th day in release.
I should add that competition at the North American box office won't be exactly fierce: there's Ridley Scott's earthbound thriller The Counselor, featuring an all-star cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, and Javier Bardem; and Jeff Tremaine's Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa, featuring Johnny Knoxville and Being John Malkovich director Spike Jonze – and which isn't exactly the sort of movie for the Gravity crowd (or vice-versa).
'Gravity' and the $200 million domestic box office milestone: A few comparisons
For comparison's sake: to date, apart from a) animated features b) franchises c) film adaptations from other media, only five movies have reached $200 million at the North American box office within 25 days in release (not adjusted for inflation):
- Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver, James Cameron's Avatar – like Gravity a widely discussed 3D movie with impressive visual effects – reached the $200 million milestone after ten days out in North America in late 2009/early 2010.
- Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, and Tom Hardy, among others, Christopher Nolan's Inception, without the assistance of 3D surcharges, reached that milestone after 19 days out in summer 2010.
- Roland Emmerich's Independence Day – however derivative, its screenplay is officially “original” – reached $200 million in the U.S. and Canada after 20 days. And that was back in summer 1996, and without 3D/IMAX surcharges. Adjusted for inflation, Independence Day, starring Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, and Bill Pullman, reached $200 million after only nine days.
- The Will Smith superhero action comedy Hancock, also featuring Charlize Theron, reached $200 million after 24 days out in summer 2008.
- And finally, James Cameron's Titanic passed that milestone after 25 days in early 1998. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and veteran Gloria Stuart (The Invisible Man, The Old Dark House), adjusted for inflation Titanic passed $200 million after 14 days.
Also worth noting, Gravity should be passing the $300 million milestone worldwide either on Thursday or on Friday. Up to last Sunday, the film's international cume was an estimated $114.2 million, for a global cume of $289.11 million.
'Gravity' two-star cast: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
With a screenplay by Y Tu Mamá También and Children of Men's writer-director Alfonso Cuarón and his son, Jonás Cuarón, Gravity stars the aforementioned Oscar winners Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and George Clooney (Syriana; Clooney was also one of the producers of Ben Affleck's Best Picture Oscar winner Argo). The film's only other cast members – apart from its production design, and the visual and sound effects – are a handful of voice actors, including four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris (Apollo 13, The Truman Show, Pollock, The Hours).
Sandra Bullock as Ryan Stone in Gravity 2013 movie photo: Warner Bros.
Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity is now one of the top ten movies released in 2013 in North America. On its third weekend, October 18-20, 2013, Gravity was down a modest 28 percent, grossing $31.03 million from 3,820 locations in the U.S. and Canada according to studio estimates found at Boxofficemojo.com. (Image: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in Gravity.)
Gravity easily beat several underperforming newcomers in wide release:
- Kimberly Peirce's poorly received Carrie 2013 remake was a disappointment, collecting only an estimated $17 million. Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore star in the old Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie roles.
- Mikael Håfström's Escape Plan, teaming Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and The Passion of the Christ's Jim Caviezel bombed with a terrible $9.8 million. That's not surprising, considering the horrific box office performances of Stallone's crime thriller Bullet to the Head and Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand earlier this year.
- Worst of all was Bill Condon's The Fifth Estate, starring Star Trek: Into Darkness' Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks drama will quickly disappear from view after raking in $1.71 million while averaging less than $1,000 per screen – $969 to be exact, in case studio estimates are on target. That's quite a comedown for Condon (Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, Dreamgirls), even if one ignores his previous two megahits, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 and Part 2, the final installments in the Twilight Saga movie series starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner.
Domestic box office: 'Gravity' vs. 'Avatar'
Gravity's current domestic cume is an estimated $170.56 million – no. 10 on the North American box office chart, having just surpassed The Heat. For comparison's sake: on its third weekend out, James Cameron's Avatar had collected $352.11 million in the U.S. and Canada; that's more than Gravity will gross during its entire domestic run.
Of course, though lacking “star appeal,” Avatar – which features Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver – had other box office-friendly advantages. Cameron's megabudgeted 2009 sci-fier opened during the much busier Christmas / New Year's season, at a time when 3D was still a novelty for live action movies. As a box office plus, the James Cameron brand helped moviegoers to associate the futuristic ecologically conscious adventure with the period romantic melodrama (and global megablockbuster) Titanic, released a dozen years earlier.
And needless to say, despite similarities between Gravity and Avatar, the two 3D movies are quite different in terms of scope, theme, and tone. That helps to explain why the more adult-minded Gravity could never become another Avatar at the box office – not in North America, and most likely not anywhere else either.
Having said that, the $100 million-budgeted Gravity is performing way above expectations. By next weekend, it should pass The Croods to become the ninth highest-grossing 2013 movie at the domestic box office.
By the end of its run, Gravity should be among the year's top six or seven movies, trailing only Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man 3, the animated Despicable Me 2, and Henry Cavill's Man of Steel, in addition to possibly one or more of the following upcoming entries: Jennifer Lawrence's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Chris Hemsworth's Thor: The Dark World; and Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Among the aforementioned titles, Gravity is the only one that isn't a sequel or a reboot. In fact, the film isn't based on any previously published or produced material. The Gravity screenplay was written by father and son duo Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón.
And finally, I should add that Gravity also topped the international box office this weekend; the film's international cume currently stands at $114.2 million from 51 territories. Its worldwide gross is 284.76 million.
Sandra Bullock: Two movies on 2013's top twelve box office chart
Best Actress Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) currently has two movies on North America's top twelve box office chart. At no. 11 – having just fallen behind Gravity – is The Heat, starring Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.
Leaving aside female satellites to superheroes and other male leads (i.e., Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man 3, Amy Adams in Man of Steel, Mila Kunis in Oz the Great and Powerful), Jennifer Aniston is the only other lead actress with a movie on the domestic top twelve box office chart: the ensemble comedy We're the Millers.
Note from the Editor: Thanks to Twilight fever, Kristen Stewart is one of the rare actresses in the last few decades to have had at least one of her star vehicles included for five years in a row on North America's top ten box office chart. In fact, Stewart is quite possibly the only actress in the past four decades to have achieved that feat.
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney Gravity photo: Warner Bros.
Distributed by Warner Bros., which reportedly saved it from turnaround purgatory at Universal, Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity has had what's officially the biggest ever opening weekend in October at the North American box office. As explained in my Gravity weekend box office post last night (see further below), Cuarón's $100 million-budgeted solar system thriller starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney was expected to earn around $40 million by Sunday evening. Instead, if studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo are on target, Gravity opened this weekend, October 4-6, 2013, with a spectacular $55.6 million (including $1.4 million from late Thursday shows) at 3,575 venues – 3,150 of which showing the film in 3D and representing 80 percent of its gross. (Note: Not including marketing and distribution expenses, some sources estimate Gravity's budget to range between $80 million and $120 million.)
Early Friday / Saturday estimates indicated Gravity would reach $48 million this weekend; I believed it could go as high as $51 million. Anyhow, the film's eventual $55.6 million take – once again, if studio estimates are on target – turned out to be nearly 40 percent above original predictions. I should add that Gravity's current worldwide total is $83 million.
'Gravity' box office record? Not if you consider inflation
Gravity's estimated $55.6 million box office gross placed it ahead of previous North American October champ Paranormal Activity 3's $52.56 million. Now, if you live somewhere in the solar system where the pull of inflation is a reality – Planet Earth, for instance – that monetary force should always be taken into account when making comparisons from year to year. And once inflation is factored in, Gravity trails at least two movies: Scary Movie 3's (approximately) $65 million and Shark Tale's $63 million. (The Box Office Mojo chart makes the comparison to Paranormal Activity 3 a little confusing.)
Now, in terms of actual ticket sales – the true barometer of a film's popularity – Gravity would trail not only the aforementioned three movies, but also Sarah Michelle Gellar's The Grudge, Anthony Hopkins' Red Dragon, Johnny Knoxville's Jackass-3D, Liam Neeson's Taken 2, and Zac Efron's High School Musical 3: Senior Year.
Having said that, it's undeniable that Gravity has had the no. 1 domestic October opening weekend ever for an “original film,” i.e., not a remake or a sequel – or, in this particular case, an adaptation.
'Gravity' opening weekend box office: Biggest Sandra Bullock and George Clooney debut ever?
Gravity has been touted as boasting the biggest opening weekend ever in the careers of both Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. But once inflation is taken into account that isn't quite accurate as far as Clooney is concerned.
However impressive, especially considering its early fall release, Gravity's $55.6 million pales in comparison to the inflation-adjusted (approx.) $76 million earned by Batman and Robin, starring George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Chris O'Donnell, back in 1996 ($42.87 million at the time). Adjusted for inflation, Gravity would also trail The Perfect Storm's $63 million. And in ticket sales, the latest Clooney movie would also lag behind Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve, ensemble pieces that also featured Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts.
As for Sandra Bullock, Gravity indeed boasts her biggest opening weekend to date, even adjusted for inflation, beating The Heat's $39.11 million earlier this year. In the coming months, expect Bullock to be named 2013's top female box office draw in the United States – perhaps the top box office draw in the country, period. In 2009, she was no. 1 thanks to The Blind Side and The Proposal (but not All About Steve).
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney: 'Gravity' two-person cast
With a screenplay by Y Tu Mamá También and Children of Men's Alfonso Cuarón and his son, Jonás Cuarón, Gravity stars the aforementioned Oscar winners Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and George Clooney (Syriana; Clooney was also one of the producers of Ben Affleck's Argo). Besides Bullock and Clooney, Gravity features only large chunks of space debris and a handful of disembodied voices, including that of Apollo 13's Ed Harris.
Alfonso Cuarón produced Gravity alongside David Heyman, best known as one of the producers of the hugely popular Harry Potter franchise. Cuarón and Heyman had previously collaborated on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), and should be joining forces once again on the Scottish-set A Boy and His Shoe.
Needless to say, Gravity – even forgetting inflation – isn't Cuarón's biggest opening-weekend movie. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban debuted with $93.68 million, or about $123 million in 2013 dollars.
Gravity's weekend box office actuals will come out on Monday.
Sandra Bullock Gravity movie photo: Warner Bros.
Oct. 5, p.m.
Alfonso Cuarón's Warner Bros.-released Gravity will undoubtedly have one of the biggest October openings ever at the North American box office. As mentioned in my previous Gravity box office post (see further below), Cuarón's mix of adventure, horror, suspense thriller, and psychological drama starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney was expected to earn around $40 million by Sunday evening. The Warner Bros.-distributed $100 million-budgeted film will, however, easily surpass that figure. (Note: some sources peg Gravity's budget at between $80 million and $120 million, not including marketing and distribution expenses.)
The story of two U.S. astronauts adrift in the solar system after chunks of Earth-orbiting debris crash into their space shuttle, on Friday, Oct. 4, '13, Gravity brought in $17.52 million from 3,575 venues – 3,150 of which showing the film in 3D – according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. That figure includes $1.4 million from late Thursday and Friday midnight screenings. (Sunday update: Gravity opened with an estimated $55.6 million.)
Theoretically, in case it soars on Saturday (compared to Friday), Gravity could still reach $50 million this weekend, though estimates found online have the Alfonso Cuarón / Sandra Bullock / George Clooney collaboration topping at about $48 million. Saturday figures would be essential to more accurately predict the film's weekend hold, but early estimates aren't out yet. At worst, Gravity will rake in $44-46 million; at best $50-$51 million.
'Gravity' box office: Biggest October opening ever for an 'original film'
In case it grosses exactly $48 million by Sunday evening, Gravity will have the fourth highest October opening ever at the domestic box office – behind only Paranormal Activity 3 ($52.56 million), Jackass-3D ($50.35 million), Taken 2 ($49.51 million), and Scary Movie 3 ($48.11 million). Well, that is, if you live somewhere in the solar system where the pull of inflation doesn't exist.
Now, if you live on Planet Earth, where inflation is a (heavy-duty) fact of life, Gravity's assumed $48 million would have it trailing not only the aforementioned four titles, but also Shark Tale, The Grudge, and Red Dragon – thus landing at no. 8 on North America's October box office chart.
In number of ticket sales, the 3D / IMAX-surcharge-boosted Gravity would fall behind another half a dozen titles, among them the Zac Efron musical High School Musical 3: Senior Year and no less than three Saw movies.
Admittedly, in terms of sheer box office figures, even factoring in inflation, by Sunday evening Gravity will undoubtedly boast the top domestic October opening ever for an “original film,” i.e., not a remake or a sequel (and in this case, not even based on a book or play or graphic novel). In number of ticket sales, Gravity will likely land somewhere in the vicinity of Couples Retreat – though probably still slightly ahead of Jon Favreau / Vince Vaughn's critically lambasted comedy.
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney: 'Gravity' two-person cast
With a screenplay by Y Tu Mamá También and Children of Men's director Alfonso Cuarón and his son, Jonás Cuarón, Gravity stars Best Actress Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and Best Supporting Actor Academy Award winner George Clooney (Syriana; Clooney was also one of the producers of Ben Affleck's Best Picture Oscar winner Argo). Additionally, Gravity features a handful of disembodied voices, including those of Apollo 13's Ed Harris, Paul Sharma, and Amy Warren.
Besides his work as director and screenwriter, Alfonso Cuarón is also a Gravity producer alongside David Heyman, best known as one of the producers of the Harry Potter film franchise. Cuarón and Heyman had previously collaborated on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), at the time considered by some the best Harry Potter movie. Cuarón and Heyman are also supposed to join forces on the Scottish-set drama A Boy and His Shoe.
Official weekend box office estimates will be released on Sunday morning. Weekend box office actuals come out on Monday.
Alfonso Cuarón directing Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in Gravity movie photo: Warner Bros.
Oct. 5 early a.m.
In large part thanks to brisk 3D ticket sales, Alfonso Cuarón's Warner Bros.-released Gravity is bound to far surpass initial opening-weekend estimates at the North American box office. Starring Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and George Clooney (Syriana, Argo), by Sunday evening the $100 million-budgeted two-character psychological thriller about two U.S. astronauts adrift in space was expected to collect around $40 million from 3,575 locations according to early tracking – with 91 percent of its tickets sales going to the film's whopping 3,150 3D venues. (For comparison's sake, back in 2009 3D theaters represented 90 percent of James Cameron's Avatar advance ticket sales.)
On late Thursday, October 3, 2013, and Friday midnight, Gravity took in a solid – but hardly outstanding – $1.4 million. Again, that seemed to indicate a weekend debut around $40 million. However, if early estimates found at The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com are on target, Gravity has grossed approximately $17 million on Friday. And that means the Alfonso Cuarón / Sandra Bullock / George Clooney collaboration could well reach $50 million by Sunday evening – about 25 percent above early estimates. According to the Reporter, 83 percent of Gravity's opening weekend ticket sales came from 3D houses.
Internationally, Gravity opened with $3.8 million on Thursday in a handful of market, with nearly one third of that total originating in Russia: $1.2 million.
'Gravity' to have one of October's biggest domestic opening weekends ever
Without taking inflation into account, only two movies have opened north of $50 million at the U.S. and Canada box office: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman's horror thriller Paranormal Activity 3, with $52.56 million, and Jeff Tremaine's tragedy Jackass 3-D, with $50.35 million. Now, once inflation is factored in, things change quite a bit. October's top opening weekend movie at the domestic box office actually is David Zucker's Scary Movie 3, with approximately $65 million, followed by DreamWorks' Rob Letterman-directed animated Shark Tale, with about $62 million, and Paranormal Activity 3, with about $54 million.
Additionally, four other movies earned an inflation-adjusted $50-51 million: the horror thriller The Grudge, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar; Brett Ratner's thriller Red Dragon, with Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, and Ralph Fiennes; Jackass-3D; and Olivier Megaton's thriller Taken 2, with Liam Neeson. Of the aforementioned movies, only one – guess which – was released in 3D.
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney: 'Gravity' cast
Written by Y Tu Mamá También and Children of Men's Alfonso Cuarón and his son, Jonás Cuarón, Gravity stars Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, and the solar system. Additionally, you get to hear the voices of a handful of performers, including Apollo 13's Ed Harris, Paul Sharma, and Amy Warren.
Alfonso Cuarón is one of Gravity's two listed producers, alongside David Heyman, whose career spans more than two decades. Most notably, beginning with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Heyman was one of the producers of the monumentally successful Harry Potter movie franchise. Among his other producing credits are the Will Smith star vehicle I Am Legend and the World War II drama The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
Official Friday box office estimates will be released on Saturday morning. Weekend estimates come out on Sunday, and weekend box office actuals will be released on Monday.
Sandra Bullock Gravity movie photo: Warner Bros.