Martian: Ridley Scott’s Sci-Fi is Box-Office Winner

Ridley Scott’s sci-fi The Martian, featuring Matt Damon in top form, grossed $18 million on Friday, which suggests an opening weekend of over $50 million.

The 20th Century Fox release, which stars Matt Damon as a stranded astronaut attempting to survive alone on Mars, bowed in 2,800 locations Thursday night to $2.5 million.

The picture, which was made on a budget of $109 million, expanded to 3,826 locations on Friday. Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels also star in “The Martian,” which draws attention for its upbeat tone, a novelty in the space-exploration genre.

Based on Andy Weir’s novel, “The Martian” is on track to join the ranks of high-grossing October releases.

Current winner “Gravity,” which launched on the same weekend in 2013, is the one to beat with its $55.8 million haul.  “Gravity” pulled in $17.5 million on its opening day.

Other achievers include “Paranormal Activity 3” in 2011 with $52.6 million, “Jackass 3D” in 2010 with $50.4 million, and “Taken 2” in 2009 with $49. 5 million.