The critics love Gravity. Moviegoers love Gravity. Given these two facts, it’s no wonder that Alfonso Cuaron’s dizzying space thrill-ride easily topped the weekend box office in an otherwise fairly uneventful season. The movie was off to a great start, with $55.6 million in opening weekend revenue (according to Box Office Mojo), helped in part by the pricier 3D ticket. Those earnings seem pretty appropriate for the movie’s large scope, really. Cuaron’s beautiful orbital setting, as well as Sandra Bullock and George Clooney’s moving performances helped Gravity top the opening weekend record for October. The record was previously held by 2011’s Paranormal Activity, which grossed $52.6 million on opening weekend.

Gravity Still
At least visually, 'Gravity' is a sight to behold.

Meanwhile, the film far surpassed the weekend’s other hopeful – Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. Could it have been all those rageful Batman fans, refusing to see the film in protest of Affleck’s casting? One can only speculate.

Watch the 'Gravity' trailer here.

Gravity also offered another chance for a 2013 box office success for Bullock, whose movie The Heat delivered disappointing profits back in summer, despite initially promising reviews. Considering Gravity’s timing, as well as the movie’s undeniably ambitious scope, it’s no surprise that there is already early award buzz, surrounding the film. But this is Hollywood and it would be naïve to believe that the film owes its success to artistic merit alone. In fact, it has been in large part the result of a concentrated effort on the part of Warner Bros.

Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Gravity Still
Bullock and Clooney have both been praised for their performances.

Recognizing the film’s potential, with an all-star cast and stunning visuals, the studio rolled out a massive marketing campaign over the past month. This means that Gravity’s success over the weekend could be just a result of the hype. The proof, as usual, will be in the pudding – and by “pudding,” we mean “next weekend’s profits.”

George Clooney, Gravity Still
The question now is: will it last?