Astronomical Ticket Sales Boost ‘Gravity’ at Box Office

(Source Warner Bros.)

If you tried to avoid the crowds for Warner Bros.’s (NYSE:TWX) space epic Gravity this weekend in an attempt to see it during the week, chances are it didn’t exactly work out as planned. That’s because the box office frenzy for Alfonso Cuarón’s hugely buzzed-about film has followed it through the weekend on unrivaled word-of-mouth, leading to some incredible box office numbers in the typically slow month of October.

Gravity crossed the $100 million mark worldwide on Tuesday, Variety reports, and the Warner Bros. film is showing no signs of slowing down. According to Box Office Mojo, Gravity has posted box office totals of $6.02 million, $6.63 million, and $5.33 million through the first three days of the week, which Variety says is almost unheard of for weekday box office numbers in October. Domestic box office totals for Gravity stand at $73.7 million as of Wednesday.

“The word-of-mouth on this movie is staggering,” Warner Bros. President of Domestic Distribution Dan Fellman said to Variety. “These are extremely huge, record-breaking numbers for midweek. We did a survey last night showing that 6 percent of the audience has seen the movie more than once.” The Hollywood Reporter put it simply: ”Gravity is playing like summer in fall.”

In addition to the film’s strong critical reception and word-of-mouth, Gravity has also benefitted from impressive numbers in 3-D sales. Over the weekend, 80 percent of the film’s sales came from its 3-D screens, placing the film above both Avatar (72 percent) and Life of Pi (68 percent) in the highest percentage of box office gross coming from 3-D sales.

The film generated an extraordinary $15,605 per screen average over the weekend, more than triple that of the next closest film, while moviegoers awarded the film an A- CinemaScore rating.

Gravity, which reportedly cost between $80 million and $100 million to make, is poised to post huge profits for Warner Bros. as the film expands to more than 27 foreign markets over the next month. Gravity represents career best openings for the film’s two stars, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

Warner Bros. is likely to see its film dominate the weekend box office for at least one more week, even as Sony Pictures’s (NYSE:SNE) Captain Phillips, which stars Tom Hanks, enters wide release on Friday. Early projections are predicting that Gravity could pull in as much as $28 million or more at the weekend box office, compared to Captain Phillips’s $18 million to $20 million — a box office take that Sony would be more than pleased with, given the film’s $55 million price tag.

However, a comparatively slow start for the Paul Greengrass-directed maritime thriller isn’t something Sony is too worried about: The film is likely to have strong legs at the box office en route to award nominations at this year’s Oscars.

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