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NEW YORK -- Star power and Oscar aspirations are reigning at the box office, where the space adventure
Gravity and the Somali pirate docudrama
Captain Phillips are holding off all comers.
With $31 million over the weekend according to studio estimates Sunday,
Gravity topped the box office for the third consecutive week, cementing its status as the juggernaut of the fall movie-going season. The 3-D
Warner Bros.(TWX - Get Report) movie, staring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, has now made more than $170 million in three weeks. The film's groundbreaking visuals have been particularly popular on IMAX screens, where it made an
Avatar-like $7.4 million on the weekend.
Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Paul Greengrass, also held in second place, taking in $17.3 million in its second week. The
Sony(SNE - Get Report) film slid only 33 percent from its debut last weekend of $25.7 million.
The two movies and their veteran stars were able to keep three new wide releases at bay: the horror remake
Carrie ($17 million for Sony and
MGM), the Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick
Escape Plan ($9.8 million for
Lionsgate(LGF - Get Report)), and the WikiLeaks drama
The Fifth Estate.
The last utterly flopped -- a fate predicted by its subject, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange -- taking in a paltry $1.7 million for
Disney(DIS - Get Report). It's the worst debut this year for a film in such wide release (1,769 theaters).
"It's a very strong lineup that is not budging," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak, who noted the primary family choice,
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, is also holding steady with $10.1 million in its fourth week. "
Carrie came into a very competitive marketplace."
In a limited release of just 19 theaters, Steven McQueen's highly-anticipated slavery epic
12 Years a Slave, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, opened with $960,000. The exceptionally high theater average of $50,000 suggested considerable audience eagerness for the already much-lauded film.