(AFP) Space disaster odyssey “Gravity” soared to the top of the North American box office in its debut weekend with $55.6 million in ticket sales, industry estimates showed Sunday.
The film, directed by Oscar-nominated Alfonso Cuaron and starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney — both Oscar winners — as astronauts adrift in space after a devastating accident, has already been winning rave reviews and Oscars buzz.
It blew away the second place finisher, animated sequel “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2,” which took in $21.5 million in its second week in theaters, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.
Another new release opened in the third slot: crime drama “Runner Runner,” starring Justin Timberlake as a Princeton grad student who travels to Costa Rica to confront a tycoon, played by Ben Affleck, he believes has taken him for a ride on an online poker site.
The film earned an estimated $7.6 million.
Crime thriller “Prisoners” fell to fourth place. The film, starring Hugh Jackman as a desperate parent in search of his child and Jake Gyllenhaal as the detective in charge of the investigation, pulled in $5.7 million.
In fifth place was Formula One motorsport drama “Rush,” Ron Howard’s acclaimed account of the famous duel for the 1976 world championship between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, earning $4.4 million.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s raunchy comedy-drama “Don Jon,” written and directed by “The Dark Knight Rises” actor, took sixth with $4.2 million in receipts.
The film sees Gordon-Levitt play a porn addict who seeks to change his ways in order to win the woman of his dreams played by Scarlett Johansson.
Not far behind, in seventh place, was “Baggage Claim,” a romantic comedy about a lovelorn flight attendant who traverses America looking for Mr Right. The film took in $4.1 million.
Horror sequel “Insidious: Chapter 2″ slid to eighth place with $3.9 million. The film, starring Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson as a haunted husband and wife, is a follow-up to the successful 2010 horror flick “Insidious.”
In ninth spot was romantic comedy “Pulling Strings,” which stars Laura Ramsay as a US consular official in Mexico who finds herself mixed up with a mariachi singer, played by Jaime Camil, whose visa she rejected the day before.
The film directed by Pedro Pablo Ibarra debuted in the US and Canada with $2.5 million in ticket sales.
And, rounding out the top 10, another romantic comedy, “Enough Said,” starring James Gandolfini in one of his last roles before his death this year, earned an estimated $2.2 million.