Space Thriller Opens This Weekend

The allure of drama and action in deep space.

Put men and women way up there in the sky, and the world holds its breath. Well, that used to be so true in real life, but now the total number of space travelers approaches 600. This weekend, we’ll discover if that theory still holds steady on the big screen.

“Gravity” launches this week. The film from writer and director Alfonso Cuaron has plenty of star power, with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney playing the astronauts. It’s got a thrilling plot, with Bullock’s Ryan Stone sent tumbling into the great beyond when debris interrupts a space walk. It has tension, with Ed Harris playing the man back home in ground control trying to fix, fight back and cope.

You could see the crowds perk up when the trailer hit the screen. Ah, the allure of drama and action in deep space.

Also opening this week is a thriller of a different stripe.

In “Runner Runner,” Justin Timberlake plays a college student who busts out on online poker.  Metrics have convinced a savvy computer friend of Timberlake’s Richie Furst that somebody has done something illegal to beat the odds. Furst makes it his mission to find the person he thinks cheated him. That leads him to one rich and cocky Ivan Block, played by Ben Affleck. A dash for cash takes the college student to exotic locations where he meets dangerous people and agents of the law.

The trailer moves fast. Don’t blink.

Finally, Bollywood presents “Besharam” this week. Director Abhinav Kashyap tells the tale of a poor auto mechanic Babli, who steals cars to help support the Delhi orphanage where he lives. Ranbin Kapoor stars as the guy who learns life lessons from the woman he loves and a pair of cops who chase him.

 Box office report

Call it computer animation domination.

“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” won the box office race the weekend of Sept. 28, opening with a cool gross of $30 million, according to

The comedy/sci-fi sequel easily topped Formula One racing study “Rush,” which stood at No. 3 with $10 million.  Romantic comedies “Baggage Claim” ($9 million) and “Don Jon” ($8.7 million) were next.

Thriller “Prisoners” held No. 2, with its take of $10.9 million raising its overall gross to $38.5 million.

– Mark Bialczak

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