In less than a week, on October 4, we’ll finally be able to see Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, one of the most anticipated movies of 2013. In a year that is full of science fiction goodness like Pacific Rim, Star Trek Into Darkness, and World War Z, Gravity is set for big launch in the first week of October. While most sci-fi aimed at mature audiences generally don’t bring in large numbers, Cuarón’s latest is currently tracking for a healthy fall box office.
According to THR, Gravity is predicted to make upwards of $40 million over next weekend. This would be Cuarón’s highest opening gross since Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban which brought in $93.6 million in 2004. His last film, Children of Men, had a successful outing with a $501,000 opening weekend on only 16 screens in 2006. Gravity is also tracking well with younger audiences. The space epic has a reported $80 million production budget, so a $40 million opening weekend is a good sign that the film will turn a profit.
Although expectations are high, Warner Bros. is tempering their hopes, aiming for a $30 million opening. The studio points out that October doesn’t usually have large debuts for adult-centric dramas. In 2010, David Fincher’s The Social Network opened to a modest $22.4 million, and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed opened to a disappointing $26.9 million in October 2006. Both dramas went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Gravity will also be screened in IMAX and 3D, so the added surcharge for those extras will provide a nice bump. Considering the way the film was made, 3D and IMAX are ideal the ideal ways to watch. Cuarón spent seven long years trying to make his film a reality and intended the fruit of his labor to be seen in this format.
With overwhelmingly positive early reviews—a 95% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes—it seems like Gravity will have legs after its opening weekend. Unlike the summer, the fall movie going season doesn’t depend solely on opening weekend box office results for a movie to be successful. The aforementioned The Departed opened with a disappointing domestic gross, but ultimately took in $289.8 million worldwide. Gravity also has also created a lot of Oscar buzz. Cuarón has been mentioned for Best Director, Emmanuel Lubezki for Cinematography, star Sandra Bullock for Best Actress.
Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a medical engineer on her first space shuttle mission, and George Clooney plays Matt Kowalsky, a veteran astronaut on his final mission to space. When a horrific disaster occurs, the two become separated, and Stone is left to drift through space with little hope for rescue and with very little oxygen left in her tanks.