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Gravity retains US top spot ahead of Captain Phillips


Story by Jack Foley

GRAVITY has remained at the top of the US box office with a record $44.3 million in its second weekend.

The space film, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, beat Captain Phillips, which nevertheless performed well to take second spot with $26 million.

Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity has already raced past the $100 million mark in the US, ending the weekend with $123.4 million. Globally, that figure rises to over $150 million even though it has yet to debut in some major territories (including the UK).

Gravity‘s record, meanwhile, is related to its second week drop-off, which at just 21% marks the lowest decline in history for a movie that opened to more than $55 million. Pixar’s The Incredibles was the previous record holder at 29%.

Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution, said that the film’s performance suggested that it was safe to open tentpole movies in October. He also pointed out that it was now attracting younger audiences, having played older in its debut weekend.

Captain Phillips, meanwhile, marked one of leading man Tom Hanks’ best openings in some time. The film over-performed and even surpassed the $19.5 million earned a year ago by fellow adult drama Argo, which went onto Oscar-winning success.

The film, directed by Britain’s Paul Greengrass, is based on the true story of the capture of an American shipping captain by Somali pirates. It also opened the London Film Festival earlier this week to widespread acclaim.

Rory Bruer, Sony president of worldwide distribution, commented: “We couldn’t be happier to be a part of this film. To open to $26 million with Gravity being in the marketplace is an extraordinary feat.

“It says volumes for the film and its life. It’s one of those performances by Tom Hanks that everyone will want to see.”

In third place was animated title Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2, which left another new release, Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills, to languish in fourth with $3.8 million – the worst wide opening of the filmmaker’s career.

The film is the latest adventure to be based on a character played by Danny Trejo, which is the third film based on the fake trailers accompanying Grindhouse. It also boasts star-studded support from the likes of Mel Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlie Sheen (credited as Carlos Estevez), Antonio Banderas and Lady Gaga.

Another box office flop, the Justin Timberlake-Ben Affleck gambling thriller Runner Runner tied for fifth spot with abduction thriller Prisoners on $3.7 million each.

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