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‘The Martian’ leads box office with $55 million

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By Saba Hamedy
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — “The Martian” launched with an estimated $55 million weekend at the domestic box office, nearly matching the October record held by the 2013 stranded-in-space film “Gravity.”
“The Martian,” which cost $108 million to make, met the higher end of industry tracking expectations after facing little competition from other new releases. The film follows astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon), who, assumed to be dead, is alive and stranded alone on the hostile planet. Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Donald Glover also star.
“The Martian” is director Ridley Scott’s second-biggest opener behind “Hannibal” in 2001, and it’s Damon’s second-biggest opener behind “The Bourne Ultimatum” in 2007. Depending on final numbers for Sunday ticket sales, due out Monday, “The Martian” might inch past the $55.8 million opening of “Gravity.”
Audiences for “The Martian” skewed mostly male (56 percent) and older than 25 (72 percent), and 3-D ticket sales accounted for 46 percent of ticket revenue in the U.S. and Canada.
The film scored strong grades from moviegoers, who gave it an A average, according to audience polling firm CinemaScore; 94 percent of critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a positive review.
Overseas, “The Martian” made $45.2 million in 49 markets.
The animated comedy “Hotel Transylvania 2,” last weekend’s No. 1 film, dropped to second after adding $33 million.
The Sony Pictures Animation sequel, which cost about $80 million to make, has collected about $90.5 million domestically to date.
“Sicario” surged 603 percent after expanding to wide release in its third weekend. The film was No. 3 with $12.1 million.
The Denis Villeneuve-directed film follows FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) after she is drawn into a drug-war operation on the U.S.-Mexico border.
To date, it’s made about $15.1 million. It has also earned strong word of mouth, scoring 93 percent positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and an A-minus CinemaScore.
In its second weekend, “The Intern” finished in fourth after adding $11.6 million. Its domestic haul to date is $36.5 million.
Fox’s young adult adaptation sequel “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” maintained its spot in the top five after its third weekend at the box office. It added $7.7 million, bringing its total in the U.S. and Canada to $63.2 million.
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‘The Martian’ leads box office with $55 million