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Is Gravity the first film since Avatar that people want to see in 3D? Record 3D sales for Sandra Bullock space epic

Its opening weekend box office in the US should soar above $40m

Not only has director Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity garnered critical raves and ecstatic predictions for its opening weekend box office, but it appears that the sci-fi epic has also persuaded jaded cinemagoers to give 3D another go.

Gravity, which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, releases in cinemas in the US today. It is expected to earn more than $40m between now and Sunday.

According to Variety, some 91 per cent of the Gravity tickets sold on the popular website Fandango have been for 3D screenings – outpacing James Cameron's Avatar, which is generally recognised as the film that kicked off the 3D phenomenon.

It's unusual these days for a film to sell such a high percentage of tickets in the more expensive 3D format. Earlier this year, a report by Fitch Ratings, the credit rating agency, said American film fans were becoming disenfranchised with paying a $3-4 surcharge to see 3D films.

In Britain, too, we're beginning to reject 3D. The BFI statistical yearbook for 2013 said "enthusiasm for the 3D format is waning," claiming that the novelty has worn off.

Audiences, it said, "have become more selective about the films they watch in 3D, and choose 3D where the effect makes a perceived contribution to the experience." It seems that Gravity is one such film.

Warner Bros should be pleased with the hype the film has generated: it has a 98 per cent positive rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, while boxoffice.com praised its social media buzz, saying: "Gravity has delivered one of the most impressive Twitter performances of the year."

In The Hollywood Reporter, Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, gave it a soaring review.

"I was so extravagantly impressed by the portrayal of the reality of zero gravity," he said. "Going through the space station was done just the way that I've seen people do it in reality."