Box Office: 'Gravity' No. 1 Again With $31 Million; 'Fifth Estate' Flops With $1.7 Million

9:07 AM PST 10/20/2013 by Pamela McClintock

UPDATED: "Captain Phillips" also stands tough to come in No. 2 ahead of "Carrie," which debuts to $17 million; Sylvester Stallone-Arnold Schwarzenegger action pic "Escape Plan" falters at No. 5 with $9.8 million.

Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity and Paul Greengrass' adult drama Captain Phillips served up a one-two punch at the North American box office as they stayed at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, to beat a host of newcomers.

Gravity fell just 28 percent in its third weekend to $31 million, pushing its domestic total to $170.6 million and worldwide total to $284.8 million. Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks, likewise impressed. The Sony pic dropped 33 percent to $17.3 million for a 10-day domestic total of $53.3 million.

Overseas, Warner Bros.' Gravity also placed No. 1 for the third consecutive weekend, taking in $33.5 million from 51 markets and crossing the $100 million market for a foreign cume of $114.2 million.

Captain Phillips opened to a promising $9.1 million in 11 international markets, including a No. 1 finish in the U.K. with $5.6 million and ahead of other adult dramas including Argo and The Social Network.

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Heading into the weekend, many box-office observers believed Sony and MGM's Carrie had a shot at crossing $20 million in its North American opening, but the remake topped out at $17 million to come in No. 3. The pic was fueled by females (54 percent) and moviegoers under the age of 25 (56 percent).

Directed by Kimberly Peirce, Carrie stars Chloe Grace Moretz in the title role opposite Julianne Moore. MGM and Sony's Screen Gems spent less than $30 million to produce the horror pic, which received a B- CinemaScore and opens more than three decades after Brian De Palma's original Carrie arrived in theaters.

Sony's three films -- Captain Phillips, Carrie and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 -- claimed spots No. 2 through No. 4 on the box-office chart, with Cloudy 2's total domestic gross now at $93.1 million.

"It's not a bad place to be," said Sony president of worldwide distribution Rory Bruer. "In regard to Carrie, it opened within our expectations, although maybe on the lower end. Overall, the picture was made very reasonably and it will be a success for us."

Coming in at No. 5 was newcomer Escape Plan, the action pic hoping to capitalize on the teaming of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But hopes were dashed as the movie took in only $9.8 million, marking another setback in Schwarzenegger's campaign to resurrect his acting career.

Summit Entertainment and Emmett/Furla films partnered on Escape Plan, which cost north of $70 million before tax rebates. The pic, formerly titled The Tomb, received a B+ CinemaScore and was fueled by males (55 percent).

Escape Plan is doing marginally better overseas, where it now has earned $14.1 million from 34 territories. It opened No. 2 in Russia over the weekend with $3 million.

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Bill Condon's adult thriller The Fifth Estate fared even worse in its North American launch, grossing an abysmal $1.7 million from 1,769 theaters to place No. 8. The movie -- marking the worst debut of 2013 so far for a movie opening in more than 1,500 theaters -- received a B CinemaScore, mirroring mixed reviews.

From DreamWorks and Participant Media, the $26 million film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange, the controversial founder of WikiLeaks. Insiders close to the project concede that Americans appear to have little interest in WikiLeaks or its founder. However, Fifth Estate likewise is struggling overseas, where it has taken in only $1.6 million so far.

In North America, Fifth Estate was even edged out by Nicole Holofcener's dramedy Enough Said, starring the late James Gandolfini opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, which returned to the top 10 chart as it upped its theater count to 757 locations, grossing $1.8 million for a total $10.8 million.

Gravity's stellar box-office run continues to impress box-office observers. It remains a huge draw in 3D and in Imax, which now has delivered $38 million in total ticket sales. Over the weekend, Imax grosses clocked in at $7.4 million, the second-best showing for a film in its third weekend after Avatar.

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