'The Martian' tops weekend box office with $55 million; just shy of 'Gravity' October record

The Martian Giles Keyte Fox finalGiles Keyte/Fox‘The Martian.’

Matt Damon stranded on Mars looks like the perfect box office formula for 20th Century Fox, as Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” topped the weekend box office with an estimated $US55 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

It was only $US785,000 shy of the largest opening weekend ever for the month of October, which is held by fellow space adventure “Gravity” ($US55.8 million in 2013).

The performance by “The Martian” exceeded industry expectations, which had the film opening in the mid $US40 million range.

The adaptation of Andy Weir‘s novel of a NASA astronaut who must survive with limited supplies on Mars after being stranded on the Red Planet had an impressive opening Friday with $US18 million (including Thursday night previews). The film then had a 26% increase in ticket sales on Saturday, according to Deadline.

Sicario bluntLionsgate‘Sicario.’

The weekend was strong for many films.

Coming in second place is “Hotel Transylvania 2.” The Adam Sander-voiced animated comedy scored an estimated $US33 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter, just a 28% decrease from its record-breaking opening weekend last week.

The drug war thriller “Sicario” came in third with an estimated $US12 million, according to THR. Its first weekend in wide release, the Emily Blunt-starrer has built a strong audience through positive reviews and word-of-mouth during the previous few weekends in limited release.

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