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Gravity scores huge £35m box office opening

The biggest opening of George Clooney and Sandra Bullock's careers

Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity showed that you can combine critical plaudits with commercial success at the US box office this weekend, taking an estimated $55.6m (£34.6m) between Friday and Sunday to set the record for an October opening.

The sci-fi epic, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, smashed even the most optimistic predictions from box office analysts, most of whom had envisioned a three-day gross just north of $40m.

The film was doubtless aided by its status as a 3D 'event'. More expensive 3D tickets accounted for 80 per cent of its weekend gross, while IMAX generated more than $11m

However, despite beating Paranormal Activity 3 for the biggest October opening, Scary Movie 3 still holds the record when grosses are adjusted for ticket price inflation. Its $48m three-day take from 2003 now adjusts to more than $65m, according to Boxoffice.com.

Internationally, there was more good news for Gravity. It drummed up $27.4m in 27 non-US markets, with strong debuts in Russia, Germany and Australia. In Italy, 95 per cent of its $2.6m gross came from 3D screenings.

Back in the US, animated sequel Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 dropped to second place with $21.5m, while the Ben Affleck-starring Runner Runner disappointed with $7.6m.