Los Angeles - Space disaster odyssey Gravity soared to the top of the North American box office in its debut weekend with $55.6m in ticket sales, industry estimates showed on Sunday.
The film, directed by Oscar-nominated Alfonso Cuaron and starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney - both Oscar winners - as astronauts adrift in space after a devastating accident, has already been winning rave reviews and Oscars buzz.
It blew away the second place finisher, animated sequel Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2, which took in $21.5m in its second week in theaters, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.
Another new release opened in the third slot: crime drama Runner Runner, starring Justin Timberlake as a Princeton grad student who travels to Costa Rica to confront a tycoon, played by Ben Affleck, he believes has taken him for a ride on an online poker site.
The film earned an estimated $7.6m.
Crime thriller Prisoners fell to fourth place. The film, starring Hugh Jackman as a desperate parent in search of his child and Jake Gyllenhaal as the detective in charge of the investigation, pulled in $5.7m.
In fifth place was Formula One motorsport drama Rush, Ron Howard's acclaimed account of the famous duel for the 1976 world championship between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, earning $4.4m.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's raunchy comedy-drama Don Jon, written and directed by The Dark Knight Rises actor, took sixth with $4.2m in receipts.
The film sees Gordon-Levitt play a porn addict who seeks to change his ways in order to win the woman of his dreams played by Scarlett Johansson.
Not far behind, in seventh place, was Baggage Claim, a romantic comedy about a lovelorn flight attendant who traverses America looking for Mr Right. The film took in $4.1m.
Horror sequel Insidious: Chapter 2 slid to eighth place with $3.9m. The film, starring Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson as a haunted husband and wife, is a follow-up to the successful 2010 horror flick Insidious.
In ninth spot was romantic comedy Pulling Strings, which stars Laura Ramsay as a US consular official in Mexico who finds herself mixed up with a mariachi singer, played by Jaime Camil, whose visa she rejected the day before.
The film directed by Pedro Pablo Ibarra debuted in the US and Canada with $2.5m in ticket sales.
And, rounding out the top 10, another romantic comedy, Enough Said, starring James Gandolfini in one of his last roles before his death this year, earned an estimated $2.2m.
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