‘The Martian’ Tops ‘Gravity’ on Opening Day

     October 3, 2015


Ridley Scott’s The Martian has landed and, in terms of the box office, it’s getting a very warm reception. On its first day in theatres, the Fox feature claimed an estimated $18 million. That doesn’t come close to the single day record for October ($26.3 million for Paranormal Activity 3), but it does top the first day of Gravity – a little sci-fi pic you may remember from a few years back.

For anyone who missed it, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity debuted on this same weekend in 2013 with a record-setting $55.7 million. The size of that opening caught the box office by surprise, but it was only the beginning. Driven by stellar reviews and lucrative runs in 3D and IMAX locations, Gravity went on to earn $723.2 worldwide and claim seven Academy Awards, including Best Director for Cuaron. Small wonder then that Fox chose the same weekend that launched Gravity for The Martian: another stranded in space epic with strong reviews and a big 3D footprint. And the fact that NASA happened to announce that they found water on Mars just days before the film’s opening? Just gravy.

the-martian-movie-posterJust because The Martian topped Gravity on day one does not mean it will beat its predecessor’s weekend record. The film is currently on course for about $54 million through Sunday, or just a bit under the all-time October record.

Of course, Gravity opened on a far less competitive frame, with the lackluster holdover Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 it’s only real challenger. The Martian is arriving one week after Hotel Transylvania 2 set a new record for September with its $48.4 million first weekend (also a career-high for Adam Sandler). On Friday, Sony’s animated sequel was down 43% from its opening day but is expected to hold well in its sophomore frame with at least $30 million. The Intern is also holding well and is expected to earn close to $12 million, or a drop of about 35%.

After two very successful weeks in limited release, Lionsgate’s Sicario is making its first appearance in the top five. The R-rated drama expanded from 59 to 2,620 locations on Friday and added an estimated $4.28 million to its domestic total. For its first weekend in wide release, Sicario should bring in close to $13 million.

Here’s Friday’s top five films. Check back tomorrow for details on the weekend box office.

 Title  Friday Total
1.  The Martian  $18,000,000 $18
2.  Hotel Transylvania 2   $7,500,000 $65
3.  Sicario  $4,280,000 $7.2
4.  The Intern  $3,575,000 $28.4
5.  Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials  $2,100,000 $57.7

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