‘The Martian’ Blasts to Top of the Box Office with $55M

Matt Damon relies on science to stay alive in 'The Martian.' (Photo: Aidan Monaghan)
Matt Damon relies on science to stay alive in ‘The Martian.’
(Photo: Aidan Monaghan)

Matt Damon and The Martian shot into a whole different galaxy at the box office, rocketing to a $55 million opening weekend, according to studio estimates.

The Ridley Scott-directed film about an astronaut stranded on Mars came close to matching the record opening for October: Gravity, which starred Sandra Bullock as an astronaut in peril, debuted with $55.8 million in 2013.

The brainy, science-filled Martian script, which Scott says was too close to reality to call science fiction, was a hit with critics and moviegoers alike — scoring a 94% critical approval rating on aggregate site RottenTomatoes.com and receiving an A from audiences at CinemaScore.

Distributor 20th Century Fox also received a major marketing bonus with ground-breaking science news last week that NASA had discovered evidence of recent flowing water on Mars.

“That’s a studio executive’s dream to have that kind of positive news associated with your movie, the perfect coincidence,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior box-office analyst for Rentrak. “The math and science crowd has it going on right now at the movies — science is positively cool. The Martian is not a sequel, but it still had this massive opening.”

Monster-filled Hotel Transylvania 2 continued to soar on the family entertainment front with a second-place finish of $33 million, one week after taking the box-office crown. The Sony film, starring Adam Sandler’s animated Dracula, has an impressive total of $90.5 million in less than two weeks of release.

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SOURCE: USA Today – Bryan Alexander