Matt Damon-starrer “The Martian” has earned as much as USD55 million over its debut weekend. The 20th Century Fox release has already surpassed the opening weekend (US) earnings of popular space epics such as “Interstellar” (USD47.5 million) and Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” (USD55.8 million).
The Martian got a major marketing boost, with NASA recently announcing that it had found water on Mars. The timing of the announcement by the space agency could not have been more perfect as the movie revolves around the life of an astronaut Mark Watney ( Damon) who is left for dead on Mars and uses his knowledge about the terrain to survive. Ridley Scott’s 3-D space epic celebrates the ingenuity of NASA and has been marketed as more science-fact than science fiction, reports NBC News.
One of the reasons why Interstellar and Gravity have done well at the box office, according to movie analysts, is that they have a realistic approach to space travel. “The realism resonates,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak, according to Variety. “These movies are not fantastical. They don’t seem so outside the realm of possibility.”
“What separates this movie — it has the backdrop of science — but all of the science is presented in a way that’s very approachable for all,” said Chris Aronson, head of distribution for Fox, according to NBC News.
The fourth planet from the Sun has recently garnered interest among general public mostly due to success of NASA’s Mars missions. Movies depicting Mars, however, have been consistently failing at box office for quite some time now; recent examples of flop movies being “Mars Needs Moms” and “Mission to Mars.” The Martian has not only broken the Mars jinx, but has also done it with style and substance.
“It’s [The Martian} got everything. It’s got suspense, action, heart, and humor, and the ending is really satisfying. People will walk out of the theater and talk it up to their friends,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. (reports Fortune).
The movie has been adapted from the Andy Weir novel of the same title. Noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has praised the movie, tweeting that the film “got crucial science right, while enhancing the story by fictionalizing the science that remained.”