The Martian rocketed into theaters this weekend to an estimated $55 million, besting expectations and falling just short of Gravity’s record for the biggest October opening of all time.
Gravity, which opened the same weekend two years ago, set the current record with $55.8 million, and there’s a chance that when final numbers come in on Monday, The Martian could actually end up on top. But even if The Martian can’t top Gravity’s record, it’s still an impressive showing for Ridley Scott’s return to sc-fi. Going into the weekend, The Martian was only projected to make between $40 and $45 million, and its debut is especially impressive considering that Gravity made a good chunk of its money from IMAX screens, which were exclusively reserved for The Walk this weekend. But even though The Martian didn’t have the benefit of IMAX, it still made 46 percent of its total from 3-D screens.
The Martian marks the second-biggest debut ever for both Scott and Matt Damon, behind Hannibal ($58 million) and The Bourne Ultimatum ($69.3 million) respectively.
This weekend’s other new wide release also had a strong showing, as Sicario expanded from 59 to 2,620 theaters, earning an estimated $12.1 million. When it opened two weeks ago in only six theaters, Sicario earned the best theater average of the year with almost $67,000 per theater, and the drug war thriller’s domestic total is now at $15.1 million.
Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk, on the other hand, didn’t meet expectations, earning an estimated $1.6 million for the weekend and $2 million since it opened on Wednesday. Opening exclusively in 448 IMAX and premium large-format locations, The Walk was expected to bring in about $3 million for the weekend. It’ll go wide and open in about 2,500 locations on Oct. 9.
Hotel Transylvania 2 placed second in its second weekend, dropping a miniscule 32 percent to an estimated $33 million. The animated Dracula adventure set a new record for biggest September opening ever last weekend, and its domestic total is now at $90.5 million. The Intern also had an excellent second outing, dropping only 34 percent to an estimated $11.6 million. Its domestic total is now at $36.5 million. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials rounds out the top five with an estimated $7.7 million for a domestic total of $63.2 million.
At the specialty box office, Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page, opened in five locations to about $40,000, and the documentary He Named Me Malala opened to $56,000 in four locations.
Here are this weekend’s top five at the box office:
1. The Martian — $55 million
2. Hotel Transylvania 2 — $33 million
3. Sicario — $12.1 million
4. The Intern — $11.6 million
5. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials —$7.7 million