5 Companies Saving Sandra Bullock in "Gravity", and 2 Others out to Kill Her

Official poster for Gravity. Source: Warner Bros.

After three consecutive weeks topping the box office charts, "Gravity" finally fell to earth over the weekend, giving way to Johnny Knoxville and "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa".

Box Office Mojo says that the space thriller earned $20.3 million at U.S. theaters over the weekend, short of Bad Grandpa's $32 million but still a strong performance for a big-ticket film that's a nearly month into its box-office run.

All told, "Gravity" has already grossed just short of $200 million domestically and another $164 million in overseas territories. Impressive totals, to be sure, and a huge win for distributor Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) , whose Warner Bros. Pictures is on track to enjoy its biggest box office haul since 2009.

IMAX (NYSE: IMAX  ) , too, is enjoying gains. "Gravity" has drawn roughly $45 million in IMAX ticket sales so far thanks to reviewers and moviegoers who insist that the premium 3-D screening is important to the overall experience of watching the film.

A cast of props, and companies
Now that we're in Oscar season there's bound to be buzz about the performances of "Gravity" co-stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. But what about the props and effects? Do you know the companies behind the props that make this film an orbital-space thrill ride? Here's a closer look:

Role in "Gravity"
Real-World Companies Behind it

Space shuttle

A team of astronauts take the shuttle on a repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.


Hubble Space Telescope

Bullock and her shipmates spacewalk in order to complete their mission, which, naturally, goes horribly wrong.

Lockheed Martin, PerkinElmer

Space suits

Bullock is tossed about in hers. Thankfully it proves sturdy enough for Gravity's 100-minute thrill ride.

Oceaneering International, David Clark Company

Communications satellites

The space junk portrayed on screen is said to be the remains of a failed attempt to safely destroy a Russian communications satellite.

Boeing, Space Systems/Loral, Orbital Sciences

Sources: WikiAnswers, Wikipedia, Fast Company.

Talk about irony. In the real world, Boeing was the principal contractor for the lifeboat in "Gravity" -- the space shuttle -- and parent to Hughes Space and Communications, the world's top maker of the sorts of communications satellites that get blown to deadly bits on screen. Space Systems/Loral and Orbital Sciences would also likely be responsible for some of the junk tossing Bullock about.

If there's a hero among the film's industrial-grade props, it's Bullock's spacesuit, which in the real world would likely have been a team effort between Oceaneering and Dave Clark Company, which, like Space Systems/Loral is still privately held. Dave Clark has made space suits for the better part of half a century, Fast Company reports.

You're never alone in a space stock
And yet the truth about most space stocks is that they aren't just space stocks. They're conglomerates with interests well outside of space exploration. For example:

  • Boeing builds both spacecraft and commercial and military aircraft.

  • Lockheed Martin builds spacecraft, missiles, and supports vast information systems.

  • PerkinElmer has wide interests in environmental health, diagnostics, and life sciences.

  • Oceaneering provides engineered products and services to support deepwater drilling.

Of the list, only Orbital Sciences and Space Systems/Loral are in the exclusive business of supporting commercial and military missions to space. Perhaps Gravity's box office success will get more entrepreneurs interested in looking to the stars? Fools can only hope.

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