As one of the biggest box office phenoms in recent years, Warner Bros.' "Gravity" displayed outstanding pull with audiences in its second frame, dropping just 21%, with an estimated $44.3 million. Pic's hold is the best-ever (during a non-holiday) for a film that opened to $55 million-plus domestically.
"Gravity" -- which also scored the largest second weekend for Imax, with $9 million -- soared to a boffo $123.4 million Stateside through Sunday.
Sony's similarly adult-targeted "Captain Phillips" performed exceptionally well, grossing an estimated $26 million. The film's debut is higher than "Argo," which bowed this same weekend last year, with $19 million.
"Captain Phillips," starring Tom Hanks as the real-life captain of the ship Maersk Alabama, who was held hostage by Somali pirates, also received an 'A' CinemaScore -- better than "Gravity," which received an 'A-' last weekend.
"With 'Gravity' in the market, an opening like this for 'Captain Phillips' speaks volumes to its potential longevity," said Sony worldwide distribution prexy Rory Bruer. "I think Tom's performance is one that everyone will want to see."
For "Gravity," which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, 3D boosted second frame totals in a big way: The film's overall share in stereo actually rose to 82%, up from 80% during opening weekend. "Gravity" is experiencing stellar repeat business, driven by premium formats, including Imax 3D and other large-format presentations.
Imax has committed to playing "Gravity" on the majority of its screens through October. "Captain Phillps" screened this weekend on 45 Imax screens, averaging a modest $10,000 per screen.
Interestingly, neither "Gravity" nor "Captain Phillips" was able to prevent weekend totals from trailing this time last year, when three films (including "Argo") opened to north of $10 million. "Taken 2" led in its second frame with $22 million.
This year, there were only three films which grossed more than $5 million -- "Gravity," "Captain Phillips" and "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2," with an estimated $14.2 million. In three weeks, the Sony toon has grossed $78 million domestically.
The weekend's top players received very little support from the other wide release, Open Road's "Machete Kills," which opened to a dismal estimated $3.8 million. Pre-weekend tracking projected the sequel, which Open Road paid $2 million to acquire from Aldamisa Entertainment, would gross between $8 million and $10 million.
Box Office: 'Gravity' Pulls Down Record Hold, With $44 Mil; 'Captain Phillips' Scores $26 Mil
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