Gravity Rises to the Top in the Box Office Once Again

Scott looks at what was a newsworthy weekend at the box office as Gravity is a legitimate hit and a respected action director takes a hit with a giant flop.


Last weekend had Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity setting records with the highest October opening weekend of all time. This weekend it looked to maintain its dominance on top. Challenging it for top spot this weekend is Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks, and Machete Kills from director Robert Rodriguez. The competition was tough, at least from Captain Phillips, but that did not stop Gravity from walking away with a second consecutive weekend at number one.

I had felt extremely confident that Gravity was going to be able to maintain its spot this weekend, but I had no idea at all that it would perform the way it did. After having opened to a record setting $55 million its first weekend, it pulled in $43 million for its second weekend, a drop of a mere 23% in gross. Not only did it hold well from week one to week two, it maintained quite well over the course of the weekend. It saw a 47% jump in gross on Saturday over Friday, and an incredible Friday to Sunday drop in grosses of a mere 3.9%. It does not get much better than that, and it is a sign that people are still dying to see this film, which may end up in first place next weekend as well. For a movie that is in serious contention for an Oscar, this box office performance may go a long way towards affecting who Academy members vote for. After its two weekends, it has made a global cumulative of around $200 million and is bound to end up with a lot more.

From one Oscar contender we now turn our attention to another as Tom Hanks is reasserting himself as a powerhouse in the ‘based on a true story’ Captain Phillips, which brought in $25 million this past weekend. It has large support from both critics and audiences, with both giving it 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and was able to debut very strongly considering the competition it was up against with Gravity. It opened in 3,020 theatres and average of $8,516 per theatre. There is talk about possible Oscar nods for best picture, best director, best lead actor, and there is even some talk about actor newcomer Barkhad Abdi for best supporting actor for his portrayal of the Somali pirate captain. It appears that for Abdi the transition from driving taxis to acting opposite Tom Hanks is a seamless task.

Also opening this weekend was Machete Kills, the sequel to the Robert Rodriguez directed Machete, which came out in 2010. While the original was able to open to $11.4 million dollars, the sequel managed an opening weekend of only $3.8 million dollars, a sixty six percent decrease. The movie is geared towards a niche market, birthing from a fake trailer for the 2007 movie Grindhouse. Films based on novel concepts seem to have a much lower ceiling than others, but I don’t know if anyone saw this poor of a showing coming. The poor performance puts Machete Kills at the 8th worst opening for a movie in over 2,500 theatres. There is a rumour that a third movie, possibly titled Machete Kills Again… In Space!, has already been greenlit. Seeing as how it may have a very hard time making back the modest budget of $20 million, the brakes may very well be put on the franchise.