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Box Office report: 'Gravity' brings in astronomical $44.2 million; 'Captain Phillips' a strong No. 2

Alfonso Cuarón’s heady outer-space thriller is proving a phenomenon in its second week, dropping just 21 percent from its opening weekend and rocketing past the $100 million mark on Saturday to a stellar $123.4 cume in just 10 days. It’s the smallest second-week decline for a film that debuted to more than $55 million. Gravity is already the fourth and third highest-grossing film for stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, respectively. A whopping 84 percent of the yield comes from 3-D showings and 20 percent from I-MAX, proving moviegoers are still willing to pay the surcharges, at least when promised panoramic zero-gravity shots and inner-helmet closeups of Bullock’s face. Expect small drop-offs in the future as word of mouth continues to spread and awards season draws nearer.

Captain Phillips, another awards hopeful, earned a strong $26 million opening weekend and scored the No. 2 spot. The biggest hit for Tom Hanks since 2009’s Angels & Demons, the PG-13 true story of a U.S. cargo ship captain who protected his crew from Somali pirates in 2009 will play well to families and older audiences through the holidays.

With little family-movie competition, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 has matched its budget of $78 million after its 17th day. Lagging far behind is Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills, which earned a brutal $3.79 million. The sequel to 2010’s Machete  is the director’s lowest-grossing wide opening. Runner Runner, the online poker drama starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck, seems to be folding early — after a $7.7 million opening weekend, Fox’s $30 million bad bet dropped to $3.73 million.

1. Gravity – $44.2 million
2. Captain Phillips – $26 million
3. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 – $14.2 million
4. Machete Kills – $3.79 million
5. Runner Runner – $3.73 million

Box office update: 'Gravity' eclipses 'Captain Phillips' with $12.7 million sophomore Friday

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Alfonso Cuaron’s space juggernaut, Gravity, held strong in the No. 1 spot this Friday, bringing in $12.7 million. That brings Gravity’s domestic haul to $91.9 million in its first eight days in theaters. The film is on target to accrue around $44 million in its sophomore weekend, guaranteeing it will break the $100 million mark by Saturday.

Though it couldn’t take the top spot, Sony’s $55 million thriller, Captain Phillips — based on the true story of a captain who protects his cargo ship crew when they’re attacked by Somali pirates — brought in a solid $8.5 million on Friday. Captain Phillips‘ star, Tom Hanks, should be pleased to break his recent streak of under-performing films at the box office that began with 2011’s Larry Crowne. Plenty of positive critical buzz sets the film on course for a debut weekend in the $25 million range.

The lone family film on the big screen, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, brought in $3.5 million on its third Friday in theaters. Less lucrative, was Robert Rodriguez’ Machete Kills, which pulled $1.4 million in its opening Friday, setting the film up for a $4 million opening frame. That’s significantly less than the original Machete’s $11.4 million opening weekend in 2010.

It continues to be a rough go for Runner Runner. The poker drama starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake brought in just $1.15 million on Friday, putting it in the $3.5 million range for its second weekend in theaters. Space and sea are in; sequels and singers are out.

1. Gravity – $12.7 million
2. Captain Phillips – $8.5 million
3. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 – $3.5 million
4. Machete Kills – $1.4 million
5. Runner Runner – $1.15 million

Check back tomorrow for the full box office report.

Box office preview: Can 'Captain Phillips' sail past 'Gravity'?

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Gravity scored an out-of-this-world $55.6 million on its opening weekend, and it’s held up remarkably well over the Monday-to-Thursday period. The Sandra Bullock/George Clooney spectacle has already earned over $73 million in its first six days, and it’s destined to soar past $100 million this weekend. Of course, the Oscar-hopeful Captain Phillips and the couldn’t-care-less-about-an-Oscar title Machete Kills will both hit theaters this weekend, but neither has much of a chance of dethroning the sci-fi blockbuster. Here’s how the chart might look this weekend.

1. Gravity – $40 million
Warner Bros.’ $100 million hit has earned an average of $6 million over the past three weekdays, which suggests it’s headed for big numbers this weekend. Thanks to incredible word-of-mouth, Gravity could dip by less than 30 percent this weekend to about $40 million, which would give it over $120 million total after only 10 days. READ FULL STORY

Michelle Rodriguez talks movies, female empowerment, and sex: 'I don't talk about what I do with my vagina'

Michelle Rodriguez has been outside the hotel for only 90 seconds when she gets stopped on the street. “Uh, excuse me? Hi, I swear I’m not a crazy stalker,” says a tall and impressively muscled black man on the crowded New York City sidewalk. “But I am your biggest fan.” He holds up his phone for a picture. Rodriguez lifts her chin up. “Oh, hell yeah,” she says, smiling. “C’mon, let’s do it.” She squeezes one of his massive biceps: “Yo, man, where’d you get these?” The fan’s giddy grin stretches even wider, and his very patient girlfriend takes the picture.

In person Rodriguez is smaller than you’d think — barely 5’5″ in the flat-heeled black boots she’s wearing on this sunny Saturday afternoon. You’d assume she’d loom larger. After all, she’s forged a career playing tough-gal characters, from her astonishing 2000 debut as a boxer in the Sundance darling Girlfight to her roles in Lost, Avatar, the Fast & Furious franchise, and the upcoming Machete Kills (rated R, out Oct. 11). She is arguably the most iconic actress in the action genre, as well as one of the most visible Latinas in Hollywood. She has also amassed some jaw-dropping box office: The cumulative global gross of her films is $5.2 billion. That Rodriguez, 35, is a delicate-boned beauty doesn’t mean she’s any less of a badass, of course. In her downtime she likes to race cars, fire guns, and jump out of planes. Even her lunch order is kinda out-there: salad, bone marrow, and chocolate cake.

But she’s also unexpectedly sweet and warm. Her mind moves quickly, pinging brightly among topics: neurolinguistics, Hinduism, diversifying her financial portfolio (she recently invested in Twitter), and why she was disappointed by Million Dollar Baby (“I was excited to see it. I was like, ‘Great, now we have a commercial version of Girlfight.’ And I watch the movie and I’m like, ‘F— you, f— you. Why does she have to die?!’”) as well as by The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (“Why does she have to get raped — raped! — before taking vengeance? Why do the stakes have to be so much higher for a woman than a man? You wouldn’t do that to Pacino”).

Rodriguez, needless to say, speaks her mind. She doesn’t shy away from addressing her fraught early days in Hollywood (“I was loud, obnoxious, crazy”) or even her sexuality. “I don’t talk about what I do with my vagina, and they’re all intrigued,” she says of the media. “I’ve never walked the carpet with anyone, so they wonder: What does she do with her vagina? Plus, I play a butchy girl all the time, so they assume I’m a lesbo.” When EW points out that that’s not a fair assumption, Rodriguez laughs. “Eh, they’re not too far off,” she says. “I’ve gone both ways. I do as I please. I am too f—ing curious to sit here and not try when I can. Men are intriguing. So are chicks.” She shrugs.
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Fantastic Fest: Robert Rodriguez's 'Machete Kills' world premiere

Fantastic Fest kicked off in Austin, TS last night with hometown hero Robert Rodriguez world premiering his new Mexploitation movie Machete Kills (in theaters October 11). Danny Trejo—the man, the myth—returns as Machete, the unstoppable one-man army against all things evil and corrupt. The sequel, about Machete’s quest to defuse a bomb built into baddie Damian Bichir’s chest before it detonates on Washington, D.C., is stuffed with cameos. There’s the Chameleon, a ruthless, face-changing killer played by everyone from Cuba Gooding, Jr. to Antonia Banderas to Lady Gaga. Mel Gibson is a Star Wars-loving genius bent on world destruction. Sofia Vergara a brothel madam with a killer bra. Charlie Sheen turns up as America’s President Rathcock, in a crude portrayal that thoroughly besmirches the office once held by Josiah Bartlett. READ FULL STORY

'Machete Kills' red-band trailer: 'When the sh** hits the fan, he's the blade' -- VIDEO

“Men fear him. Ladies love him.” His name is Machete.

In the new red-band trailer for Robert Rodriguez’s action sequel Machete Kills, it’s Charlie Sheen who’s calling the killing machine for help taking down a “mad man south of the border.” You might recognize said mad man as Mel Gibson, who plans to use his “army of super soldiers” and a missile to cause some serious damage. As he puts it, “I am a genuine, high-caliber f—er-people-upper.”

What ensues involves explosions, decapitations, intestines being pulled out, explosions, machine guns, Sofia Vergara pelvic thrusting her way to victory, and Lady Gaga getting her hands dirty. Did we mention explosions?

Watch the new red-band trailer for Machete Kills below:
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Fantastic Fest preview: Robert Rodriguez talks about opening night film 'Machete Kills'

How do you get your film screened as the opening-night movie of Fantastic Fest? Try making a joke. That, at least, was the origin of Machete Kills, the sequel to 2010’s action-packed Machete and the film whose world premiere will kick off proceedings at this year’s genre event in Austin, Texas, which runs September 19-26. “At the very last minute, I put at the end credits, as a joke, ‘Coming soon Machete Kills and Machete Kills Again,’” explains director Robert Rodriguez. “But people thought for sure they were coming and kept on asking for it. So because of popular demand, we went and made another.”

Machete once again stars Danny Trejo as the titular hero, and he is again surrounded by a starry cast of actors, including Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Charlie Sheen (credited under his birth name of “Carlos Estevez”), Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Lady Gaga as a hit woman called The Chameleon.

Below, Rodriguez talks more about Machete Kills — which screens at 5:45 p.m. this Thursday — and the likelihood that Trejo’s Machete will indeed … kill again!
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What is Lady Gaga doing in 'Machete Kills'?

It’s hard to work out the most newsworthy bit of casting to be found in action sequel Machete Kills, given this is a film which features Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen (appearing under his birth name of Carlos Estevez), and a machine gun bra-sporting Sofia Vergara. But the winner may actually be director Robert Rodriguez‘s recruitment of Lady Gaga for the role of a hit woman called La Chameleón in the Danny Trejo-starring action sequel, which is released October 11. So how did the filmmaker snag the pop superstar for his film?

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Mel Gibson wears a cape in new 'Machete Kills' trailer

The opening scene of the new Machete Kills could be a scene from Scary Movie 12, but once Carlos Estevez (a.k.a. Charlie Sheen) answers the hot phone, Robert Rodriguez’s gonzo sequel starts riffing off another classic comedy: Austin Powers. There’s a hero (Danny Trejo) plucked from yesteryear for a top-secret mission, a dastardly villain — Mel Gibson! In a cape! — threatening the planet, a sexy government handler, and a bodacious Mexican fembot of the highest caliber.

I’m not sure the movie itself can be more fun than this trailer. But it’s going to be exciting to see if Machete can put the Grrrrrr in killer, baby. Watch the trailer below. READ FULL STORY

Michelle Rodriguez is back (with her eye patch!) in 'Machete Kills' preview -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

“It takes a bitch to make a bitch,” Michelle Rodriguez snarls (among a few other, taco-related one-liners) in this exclusive sizzle reel from the upcoming Machete Kills.

Rodriguez’s Shé is the perfect female counterpart to Danny Trejo’s Machete, and the leather-clad duo are back to kick some more ass — in seriously over-the-top, campy fashion — in the sequel to 2010’s Machete (which was, in itself, an adaptation of Robert Rodriguez’s fake trailer from 2007’s Grindhouse … got all that?). Michelle, complete with badass eye patch, keeps her underlings in check (“Keep fighting, goddammit!”) and, just like every other character the actress has played, she isn’t afraid of a girl fight.

And this video is just the latest example of why Michelle Rodriguez will be part of Entertainment Weekly’s Women Who Kick Ass panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, alongside Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany and The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira, kicking off at 2:55 p.m. in Hall H.

Check out Michelle’s 30 seconds of mayhem below:
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