'The Martian' triumphs with $55 million debut

Sun Oct 4, 2015 12:50pm EDT
 
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By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "The Martian" blasted off with a massive $55 million this weekend, nearly surpassing another space-based adventure, "Gravity," as the highest-grossing October debut in history.

The Ridley Scott release was bolstered by rapturous reviews, with critics calling the picture among the director's best and heaping praise on Matt Damon's performance as an astronaut stranded on the Red Planet.

It marks the second best launch of Scott's career, behind only "Hannibal's" $58 million debut, and the second best premiere for Damon, trailing "The Bourne Ultimatum's" $69.3 million bow.

"It's going to hold up really well," said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. "It's got everything. It's got suspense, action, heart, and humor, and the ending is really satisfying. People will walk out of the theater and talk it up to their friends."

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Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain arrives for the UK premiere of "The Martian" at Leicester Square in London. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth