'The Martian' Rockets to $55 Million at Box Office


Matt Damon and “The Martian” are out of this world.

The science thriller about a botanist left behind on Mars opened with $55 million at the American box office, boosted by strong reviews and a surge of publicity when real-life scientists announced the discovery of water on the Red Planet.

“That’s a studio executive’s dream to have that kind of positive news associated with your movie, the perfect coincidence,”  Paul Dergarabedian, senior box-office analyst for Rentrak, tells USA Today. “The math and science crowd has it going on right now at the movies — science is positively cool. “‘The Martian’ is not a sequel, but it still had this massive opening.”

“The Martian” nearly matched the record for an October opening, set by another endangered-astronaut film, Sandra Bullock’s “Gravity,” which premiered with $55.8 million in 2013.

“Hotel Transylvania 2” continued to delight the family crowd, finishing second with $33 million, and the drug-war drama “Sicario” opened in third with $12.1 million. In its second week, “The Intern” was fourth with $11.6 million and “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” was fifth with $7.7 million.