Warner Bros.’ (NYSE:TWX) space epic Gravity took the box office by storm in its opening weekend, blowing past both studio and analyst projections en route to a record-breaking $55.6 million debut in North America. That number firmly positions the film as the best October opening and represents the best three-day box office performance for stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
The raw box office numbers numbers for director Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, which cost between $80 million and $100 million to produce, come as a surprise as projections for the film had been unusually conservative despite immense buzz from movie-goers and critical acclaim. Warner Bros. had projected a $35 million weekend take, citing typically slow box office business in the month of October, while industry analysts had estimated a $40 million to $45 million take. But no one had even raised the possibility of the film making upwards of $50 million until Friday returns showed significant momentum at the box office.
Now, an interesting article over at The Hollywood Reporter raises the question of whether the performance of Warner Bros.’ Gravity puts the film in line for a strong Oscar push. While the film has been mentioned in early Oscar talk, it has recently been discussed more in regards to being in the Best Picture category, rather than seeing real discussion as to whether the film could be a contender. Big-budget, commercially successful films have won big at the Oscars, but the general trend seems to show smaller, lower-budget features taking the stature more often than not. According to THR writer Scott Feinberg, Gravity could be an exception.