Matt Damon’s latest film, The Martian, proved to be in a world of its own with moviegoers this weekend.
According to box-office estimates, the space thriller that finds Damon’s character stranded on Mars, opened to a near record $55 million, narrowly missing the record for an October open held by another space flick, Gravity, which opened to $55.7 million in 2013. There’s still an outside chance the title could switch hands when the final numbers for the weekend are tallied.
Experts believe The Martian benefitted from the buzz of some extraordinary news regarding NASA.
“The Martian, which despite not being a sequel or a franchise film, has truly captured the imagination of audiences,” said media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “It clearly benefited from the perfectly timed and thus serendipitous NASA news related to the discoveries on Mars just this week.”
With Damon spending the majority of screen time alone, there is already early buzz that this role could land him an Oscar nod.
At $55 million, The Martian is now Damon’s second biggest U.S. opening behind 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum. Falling one spot to No. 2 this week is the Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez-voiced animated farce, Hotel Transylvania 2, which took in $33 million in its second week. After a limited opening run, Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt’s action drama, Sicario, jumped seven spots from ten to three with just over $12 million earned in its first full week in theaters nationwide. Fish out of water comedy, The Intern, starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway came in fourth this week with an additional $11.6 million. And rounding out the top five is Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, which brought in $7.6 million.
For the full weekend top 10, check out the list below:
1. The Martian – $55M
2. Hotel Transylvania 2 – $33M
3. Sicario – $12.075M
4. The Intern – $11.6M
5. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – $7.6M
6. Black Mass – $5.9M
7. Everest – $5.5M
8. The Visit – $3.9M
9. War Room – $2.8M
10. The Perfect Guy – $2.4M