Warner's Gravity had an exceptional second weekend hold to remain in first place this weekend with an estimated $44.27 million. The Alfonso Cuarón directed sci-fi drama starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney was down just 21 percent from its opening weekend performance, as the film had the type of second weekend hold that is rarely seen by blockbuster fare. Strong word of mouth and critical reviews, continued higher priced 3D and IMAX admissions and the film skewing heavily towards older moviegoers are all factors helping out the holding power of Gravity. Gravity zoomed past the $100 million mark on Saturday (its ninth day of release) and has now grossed $123.399 million in ten days. That places the film a very impressive 43 percent ahead of the $86.26 million ten-day start of The Heat earlier this year (which fell 37 percent in its second weekend to gross $24.76 million). Gravity has clearly become an event film and doesn't look to be slowing down anytime soon.
IMAX grosses were responsible for an estimated $9.00 million of the film's overall gross this weekend. That brings the current IMAX total for Gravity to $26.54 million, which represents 21.5 percent of the film's overall domestic gross thus far.
Sony's Captain Phillips debuted in second place with an estimated $26.0 million. The Paul Greengrass directed film starring Tom Hanks exceeded pre-release expectations, which is obviously especially impressive in this case given the continued strength of Gravity this weekend. Like Gravity, Captain Phillips is being helped out by very strong reviews and early word of mouth (the film received an A rating on CinemaScore). Captain Phillips represents a nice bounce back for Hanks, who had seen his drawing power fade in the last few years with the performances of Larry Crowne, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Cloud Atlas. The opening weekend performance of Captain Phillips was 6 percent stronger than the $24.44 million Sony's Zero Dark Thirty earned in its first weekend of wide release back in January.
Captain Phillips opened with $8.5 million on Friday (which included an estimated $0.60 million from late night shows on Thursday night), increased 23 percent on Saturday to take in $10.45 million and is estimated to decline 32.5 percent on Sunday to gross $7.05 million. In general, daily holds are expected to be strong on Sunday with the aid of the Columbus Day holiday on Monday. The estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio for Captain Phillips was 3.06 to 1, which is a promising early sign going forward. The audience breakdown for Captain Phillips skewed significantly towards moviegoers over 35 (62 percent) and slightly towards male moviegoers (52 percent).
Fellow Sony release Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 placed in third with an estimated $14.2 million. The 3D computer animated sequel was down a healthy 32 percent from last weekend. In comparison, 2009's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs fell 37 percent in its third weekend to gross $15.81 million. Cloudy 2 has grossed a very solid $78.04 million in 17 days, which places it 4 percent behind the $81.50 million 17-day take of Cloudy 1. With no new competition for family audiences throughout the rest of October, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 should continue to hold up well throughout the rest of the month.
Machete Kills proved to be a disappointment this weekend with a fourth place estimated debut of just $3.797 million. The Robert Rodriguez directed sequel released by Open Road opened below its already low expectations and a very lackluster 67 percent below the $11.42 million debut of Machete back in 2010. Clearly, opening in such a crowded marketplace for adult moviegoers proved to be an unwise decision and given the grosses of the first film, there wasn't much potential for a Machete sequel to begin with. With an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.71 to 1 (the film opened with $1.40 million on Friday), a lackluster B- CinemaScore rating and the film's fanbase driven nature, Machete Kills won't be in theatres for long.
Fox's Runner Runner and Warner's Prisoners both finished just behind Machete Kills with respective fifth place and sixth place estimated takes of $3.725 million and $3.665 million. The three films are close enough to one another that the order of the three could still change when actuals are released on Monday. Runner Runner was down 52 percent from last weekend's already poor start, while Prisoners stabilized this weekend to decline a solid 36 percent. To date, Runner Runner has managed just $14.11 million in ten days and Prisoners has grossed a respectable $53.62 million in 24 days.
On the limited front, Relativity's Romeo and Juliet made very little impact this weekend. The Shakespeare adaptation, starring Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth, grossed an estimated $509,000 from 461 locations. That gave Romeo and Juliet a per-location average of just $1,104 for the frame.