The film, which features Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on Mars, only just missed out on breaking the record for the biggest opening in October (15), held by 2013's Gravity.

Movie experts believe The Martian scored a little marketing gold dust when scientists reported they had found evidence of flowing water on the surface of Mars last week (ends02Oct15).

Hotel Transylvania 2 slipped a spot to two on the new box office countdown, but still spooked up an impressive $33 million (£21 million) second weekend take.

Thriller Sicario comes in a distant third with $12.1 million (£7.5 million) and The Intern and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials round out the top five.