‘The Martian’ Tops Box Office With Stellar $55 Million Opening

The Martian, the space epic starring Matt Damon, was out of this world at the box office hauling in $55 million, reports the L.A. Times.

The Martian, screen written by The Cabin in the Woods scribe Drew Goddard and directed by legendary sci-fi auteur Ripley Scott, stars Damon as an astronaut who, presumed dead, ends up stranded on Mars, struggling to survive. The movie is based on a novel of the same name written by Andy Weir. The film’s studio, 20th Century Fox, described Damon’s plight in the intergalactic tale.

“During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring ‘the Martian’ home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return.”

The Martian’s expected $55 million take falls just over $700,000 shy of breaking Gravity‘s all time best for the opening in month of October, according to Brett Brevit at Box Office Mojo. The Martian also opened in 49 international markets wherein it earned $45.2 million, bringing its overall worldwide box office total to $100.2 million, marking the second biggest overall openings ever for both Damon and Scott.

As Variety‘s Brent Lang point out, the success of The Martian breaks what had otherwise been a dismal Hollywood spell for underperforming Mars-based films, and comes at a time where real life news of potential water and life on the red planet seems to have reignited interest and intrigue into the subject, as Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak, told Lang.

“The realism resonates. These movies are not fantastical. They don’t seem so outside the realm of possibility.”

Hotel Transylvania 2 added $33 million to bring its box office total to just over $90.5 million and showed decent retention as it reflected only a 31.9 percent dip in returns while most films drop off 50 percent or higher from opening weekend to week two. Sicario, a crime thriller starring Emily Blunt, came in third after nearly doubling the number of screens in its third week of release bringing in just over $12 million, with The Intern earning just over $11.6 million in its second week in fourth place, and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials rounding out the top five having made just over $7.6 million in its third week bringing its overall box office total to $63.2 million.

[Photo Image: 20th Century Fox]