‘Gravity’ soars to stratospheric heights at weekend box office

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Not only was Sandra Bullock, co-star George Clooney and their “Gravity” directorAlfonsoCuaronbig winners at the box office this past weekend, but the $55.5 million their film snared further ensured a lock on a bunch of Oscar nominations.

Most Hollywood insiders expect Bullock to win another Academy Award nomination for best actress, and another supporting nod is a strong possibility for Clooney.

Without question, “Gravity” director Cuaron joins the short list for a best director nomination for his film, which clearly will win a slew of technical Oscars for its amazing cinematography and special effects.

†Yet, quietly smiling in the background is producer David Heyman, who also produced the eight “Harry Potter” films. While that hugely-successful film franchise won 12 Academy Award nominations over the years, none were for best picture. Plus none of those dozen Oscar nominations ended up winning.

However, if as expected, “Gravity” is nominated for the top prize this year — Heyman may not only get his own chance to walk the Oscar red carpet as a nominee, but could actually go home on March 2 with his own little golden statuette. “Gravity” director Cuaron, by the way, was brought in by Heyman to helm “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

†Also performing well again this weekend, was the No. 2 film, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” with $21.5 million. No. 3 went to the critically-dissed “Runner Runner,” starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake — only grabbing $7.9 million. “Prisoners” sold $5.7 million worth of tickets, and Ron Howard’s Formula One film, “Rush,” rounded out the top five with an additional $4.5 million.

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