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Grossing more than all the new releases combined, the space smash Gravity led the North American box office with ease for the third straight time collecting an estimated $31M. The Warner Bros. blockbuster displayed tremendous legs once again by slipping only 28% allowing the 17-day cume to soar to an eye-popping $170.6M. Only one 2013 film has grossed more in its third weekend - the year's top hit Iron Man 3 which did $35.8M. And The Butler was the only other film this year to spend three weeks at number one with its third frame winning only thanks to a holiday.
This weekend, Alfonso Cuaron's space thriller Gravity easily held on to the box office crown, Tom Hanks had his biggest opening in nearly five years, only one family film is playing in over 500 theaters, and those were the only films to make more than $4M this weekend.
Alfonso Cuarón's outer space survival thriller Gravity defied conventions both creatively and commercially and smashed the opening weekend record for October with a sensational $55.6M, according to estimates, to lead the North American box office accounting for half of all ticket sales in the top ten. The Warner Bros. release starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney took advantage of a perfect storm of sensational reviews, strong starpower, and awards buzz attracting a huge turnout which was especially impressive given that it was an original film with no built-in audience. It opened like a summer tentpole.
This weekend, Sony hit the top spot in North America with its new animated sequel Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 which grossed more than the frame's other three wide openers combined. The PG-rated 3D pic bowed to an estimated $35M from an ultrawide 4,001 theaters delivering a $8,748 average. Compared to the first Cloudy from this same month four years ago, the sequel's opening weekend gross was 16% higher but its average fell 10%. The original, also in 3D, was released in nearly 900 fewer locations bowing to $30.3M on its way to $124.9M, or four times its opening weekend.
North American audiences drove the well-reviewed kidnapping thriller Prisoners to the number one spot with a solid opening of $21.4M, according to estimates. The Warner Bros. release averaged a commendable $6,574 from 3,260 locations and marks the studio's fifth top spot debut of the year.
Fall moviegoers were in the mood to be scared as the horror sequel Insidious Chapter 2 dominated the North American box office with a spectacular opening that ranked among the best of all-time for its genre. FilmDistrict's follow-up to its 2011 sleeper hit thriller bowed to a stunning $41.1M, according to estimates, averaging a sensational $13,463 from 3,049 locations.
The slowest box office session of the year was ruled by action star Vin Diesel whose latest testosterone sequel Riddick topped the charts opening to an estimated $18.7M. Universal averaged a decent $6,010 from 3,107 locations and generated a debut that was not very muscular, but not lousy either. Considering the weak marketplace and the glut of action titles over the past couple of months, it was a respectable launch.
Moviegoers ended their summer by spreading dollars across a wide variety of films helping the North American box office deliver a record-breaking Labor Day holiday frame. An astonishing 26 different films grossed more than $1M over the Friday-to-Monday weekend with two of them making a legitimate claim to the number one spot. Traditionally, the holiday is judged by the four-day period which saw the popular White House drama The Butler spend its third consecutive term in the top position. However over the three-day Friday-to-Sunday period, the rapidly-eroding boy band doc One Direction: This Is Us was the leader. Regardless, the box office broke the old Labor Day weekend record set back in 2007 as the Top 20 grossed over $140M across four days.
This weekend, the historical drama Lee Daniels' The Butler easily won a second term as commander-in-chief of the North American box office, beating out three new releases that each opened in the single-digit millions. Forest Whitaker's White House saga declined by only 31% in its sophomore session to an estimated $17M, pushing the ten-day total to an impressive $52.3M and putting it on track to break the $100M mark and become one of the top five grossing films ever for its distributor.
The annual late-summer funk hit the North American box office with only one of the frame's four new wide releases connecting with audiences. The potential Oscar contender Lee Daniels' The Butler surprised many with its number one opening grossing an estimated $25M. The PG-13 film averaged a strong $8,527 from 2,933 theaters and was the only wide release this weekend to gross more than $20M or generate an average above $6,000.
North American multiplexes were hit with a traffic jam as four new wide releases took all the leading spots with the top ten beating out both last weekend's and last year's numbers. Leading the way with a number one debut was the sci-fi action thriller Elysium starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster which opened to $30.5M from 3,284 locations for a good $9,287 average. Considering the original story, R rating, and the fact that 14 other summer action films came before it, the debut was respectable though not stellar.
This weekend, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg seized the number one spot at the North American box office with their new action thriller 2 Guns, which opened to an estimated $27.4M. Universal's seventh top spot debut of the year averaged a solid $9,045 from 3,025 locations and ended up in the mid-20s range where so many of Washington's films have opened before. It was an impressive bow given that the film was rated R, was not part of a well-known brand, and arrived as the 14th action movie of the summer. Audiences have had a plethora of choices in this genre lately and no action movie has overperformed since World War Z in mid-June.
Hollywood's latest super hero offering took command of the box office as Hugh Jackman's return to Adamantium action in The Wolverine resulted in a number one opening. The popular Marvel character took in an estimated $55M from 3,924 locations for a solid $14,016 average. The debut was almost identical to the $55.1M debut of the franchise's last film X-Men: First Class which opened in June 2011. That summer's Thor and Captain America films bowed to about $65M a piece.
This weekend, following four consecutive frames of animated sequels ruling the North American box office, horror fans returned with a vengeance powering the new supernatural thriller The Conjuring to a number one opening over a crowded weekend that saw four new releases debut in wide release. The R-rated spookfest grossed a sensational $41.5M from 2,903 locations for a sizzling $14,306 average.
Humor was in demand as A-list funnymen Steve Carell and Adam Sandler dominated the box office with their hit sequels Despicable Me 2 and Grown Ups 2, respectively, while the raunchy laughs of The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy also finished among the top four movies for the frame. The big-budget sci-fi actioner Pacific Rim opened in third and helped lead another weekend when ticket sales were substantially ahead of last year's.
This weekend, toon bad guy Gru dominated the box office with a gargantuan debut for his animated sequel Despicable Me 2 which drove the marketplace to a new record for the Independence Day holiday frame. Meanwhile, Johnny Depp attracted disappointing numbers to his new summer tentpole The Lone Ranger which finished in second.
With two new monster hits combining to take in nearly $150M alone, the North American box office exploded this weekend with the top 10 grossing $226M becoming the second highest grossing weekend of the year and one of the top grossing weekends of all time.
This weekend, Superman was reborn at the box office as the big-budget gamble Man of Steel paid off handsomely with a spectacular opening weekend in North America plus impressive launches overseas in only a portion of the international marketplace. The Warner Bros. summer tentpole grossed an estimated $113.1M domestically, breaking the record for the biggest June opening ever. Adding in $12M from Thursday night group sales led by Walmart's promotion for 7:00pm shows, the total stood at a stellar $125.1M. The Friday-to-Sunday portion for the PG-13 film averaged a muscular $26,879 from 4,207 theaters including 331 IMAX screens. Toy Story 3 held the June record since 2010 with $110.3M.