Time Warner‘s (TWX) Warner Bros. scored big at the box office this weekend as a spaced-based thriller broke box office records.
Gravity, which stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, as astronauts facing death after a disaster, took in $55.8 million from 3,575 theaters nationwide. The film, which set a new opening weekend box office record for October, featured dramatic special effects from director Alfonso Cuaron that were promoted as best seen in 3D or in huge-screen IMAX (IMAX) theaters, Box Office Mojo notes.
The space scenes were apparently enough to persuade many moviegoers to pay the higher ticket prices to see the film in 3D. Warner Bros. said that 80% of the box office receipts from the weekend were 3D showings, the best 3D share for any first run film in recent memory.
By contrast, 2010’s much hyped Avatar generated just 71% of ticket sales from 3D showings. IMAX theaters comprised 21% of Gravity‘s box office revenue last weekend.
The film received an A- rating on CinemaScore and appealed to older viewers, with 59% of its weekend audience over the age of 35.
Consumers have been lukewarm about 3D — both in movie theaters and at home in their TVs — but ‘s success suggests that consumers may will willing to pay the higher costs, if they think a film’s content justifies it.
Shares of Time Warner slipped modestly in Tuesday morning trading, while IMAX sank more than 1%.