Gravity: Commercial Triumph

gravity_cuaron_posterIn a record debut, Warner 3D space epic “Gravity” scored an estimated $55.6 million, of which mega-screen exhib Imax, a significant partner on the film, considering the push the studio gave helmer Alfonso Cuaron’s cutting-edge filmmaking, contributed $11.2 million domestically. Both totals were records for October.

Internationally, “Gravity” estimated $27.4 million from 27 markets, including Russia, which led with $8.1 million, followed by Germany and Australia, each contributing north of $3 million.

The overall three-day domestic gross for “Gravity,” boosted by a whopping 80% from 3D, eclipsed the month’s previous record holder, “Paranormal Acitvity 3,” which earned $52.6 million in 2011.

With “Gravity,” Warner risked trying to achieve a tentpole-sized opening outside a peak play period. The film’s bow, a significant coup for the studio’s marketing and distribution teams, became the largest domestic opening for stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, as well as the second-largest for Cuaron, behind “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

“October is strong, but not a lot of people have taken a shot at it,” said Warner domestic distribution prexy Dan Fellman. “To jump out at 80% (in 3D) opening weekend is phenomenal.”

The Imax portion — which was 20%, the largest percentage for the company with a $50 million-plus opener — contributed greatly to the 3D share, especially at the newly renovated TCL Chinese theater in Hollywood — now the largest Imax theater in the world.

“A lot of people who grew up going to see Imax space documentaries like ‘Space Station’ and ‘Hubble 3D’ made the connection to see this film also in Imax,” said Greg Foster, chairman and president of Imax Entertainment. “This is proof that quality and commercial success can co-exist when made and crafted in the right way.”

Domestic

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Locations; Per-theater average; Cume*; Percentage change
1.Gravity (1): $55.6; 3,575; $15,538; $55.6; –
2.Cloudy With … Meatballs 2 (2): $21.5; 4,001; $5,374; $60.6; -37%
3.Runner Runner (1): $7.6; 3,026; $2,512; $7.6; –
4.Prisoners (3): $5.7; 3,236; $1,761; $47.9; -48%
5.Rush (3): $4.4; 2,308; $1,910; $18.1; -56%
6.Don Jon (2): $4.2; 2,422; $1,718; $16.1; -52%
7.Baggage Claim (2): $4.1; 2,030; $2,032; $15.2; -54%
8.Insidious Chapter 2 (4): $3.9; 2,607; $1,487; $74.7; -41%
9.Pulling Strings (1): $2.5; 387; $6,460; $2.5; –
10.Enough Said (3): $2.2; 437; $4,920; $5.4; +2%

*in millions of $