Gravity remained top for a third consecutive week as the latest pretender to its throne, Carrie, had to settle for a number three debut. DreamWorks’ The Fifth Estate stumbled badly in its opening session.

Meanwhile a couple of likely Oscar contenders arrived in style as New Regency/River Road’s 12 Years A Slave stormed into the charts through Fox Searchlight and All Is Lost made its mark through Roadside Attraction.

Warner Bros’ space adventure Gravity added an estimated $31m to reach $170.6m. Roughly one-quarter or $7.4m of the weekend haul came from IMAX as the large screen format raised its North American running total to more than $38m. The top 25 sites for the film were IMAX engagements – a first in IMAX history.

Gravity’s global running total stands at $284.8m and it has amassed $49m worldwide on IMAX.

Sony’s Captain Phillips held on to number two in its second weekend on $17.3m for $53.3m and Screen Gems’ horror remake Carrie starring Chloe Moretz debuted at number three on a disappointing $17m from 3,157 theatres.

The Arnold Schwarzenegger-Sylvester Stallone match-up Escape Plan, formerly known as The Tomb, opened in fifth place through Lionsgate-Summit on a lacklustre $9.8m from 2,883.

DreamWorks’ recent Toronto International Film festival opener The Fifth Estate starring Benedict Cumberbatch flopped at number eight through Buena Vista on a highly disappointing $1.7m from 1,769 theatres. Bill Condon directed the Julian Assange thriller.

12 Years A Slave rode into town through Fox Searchlight on a wave of acclaim following rave reviews from Telluride and Toronto, grossing $960,000 from 19 sites in 16th place for a thunderous $50,526 per-site average.

New Regency and River Road financed the film and Lionsgate International handled sales outside North America. New Regency produced with River Road and Plan B in association with Channel 4.

The 19th century true story is based on the book by Solomon Northup, a freeman from North York state who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’o was directed by Steve McQueen.

Roadside Attractions opened the Robert Redford one-hander All Is Lost on $97,400 from six for an impressive $16,233 average. JC Chandor wrote and directed his follow–up to Margin Call, about a lone sailor’s fight to survive after his boat is damaged by a stray freight container.

High Top Films released I’m In Love With A Church Girl at number 15 on $1m from 457.

SPC released the Sundance hit Kill Your Darlings, an account of the younger years of Beat writers Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs starring Daniel Radcliffe, Dean DeHaan and Ben Foster. The drama did well and grossed $57,700 from four sites.

Overall box office for the top 12 fell 9.6% against last weekend and dropped 21% against the same session in 2012 when Paranormal Activity 4 debuted at number one on $29m and led an all-round stronger field.

Next weekend’s wide releases are Ridley Scott’s Fox thriller The Counselor starring Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt and Penelope Cruz and Paramount’s reality comedy Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.

Estimated Top 10 North America Oct 18-20 2013
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (1) Gravity (Warner Bros) WBPI $31m $170.6m
2 (2) Captain Phillips (Sony) SPRI $17.3m $53.3m
3 (-) Carrie (Screen Gems) SPRI $17m —
4 (3) Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (Sony) SPRI $10.1m $93.1m
5 (-) Escape Plan (Lionsgate-Summit) Lionsgate International $9.8m —
6 (6) Prisoners (Warner Bros-Alcon) Lionsgate International $2.1m $57.3m
7 (11) Enough Said (Fox Searchlight) $1.8m $10.8m
8 (-) The Fifth Estate (Buena Vista-DreamWorks) Mister Smith $1.7m –
9 (5) Runner Runner (Fox) Fox Int’l $1.6m $17.5m
10 (7) Insidious: Chapter 2 (FilmDistrict) Blumhouse International/SPRI $1.5m $80.9m