Space thriller 'Gravity' soars with $55.6 million debut


LOS ANGELES -- “Gravity,” a 3D thriller about two stranded astronauts floating through space, lifted off with $55.6 million in ticket sales to win the weekly box office race in the United States and Canada, according to studio estimates today.

Last week's winner, the animated “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” dropped to second place with $21.5 million in ticket sales from Friday through today. “Runner Runner,” a thriller about the dark and murky world of online gambling, finished third with $7.6 million.

In “Gravity,” Sandra Bullock plays a novice astronaut and engineer alongside George Clooney as mission commander. After an accident caused by flying debris, the two are sent floating into space with depleting oxygen and little chance of returning to Earth.

“Cloudy 2” features the voices of Bill Hader and Anna Faris as characters in a world where fruit, vegetables and cheeseburgers have come to life as food/animal hybrids called "foodimals.”

“Runner Runner” stars Justin Timberlake as a graduate student who goes to Costa Rica to confront an online gambling tycoon played by Ben Affleck.

Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc, released "Gravity.” “Runner Runner” was distributed by 20th Century Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox. “Cloudy 2” was released by Sony Corp's movie studio.