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Trailer: Gravity

Astronauts attempt to return to earth after debris crashes into their space shuttle, leaving them drifting alone in space.

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She's up for the best actress Oscar on Sunday (Monday in Australia) but if she's pipped by hot favourite Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Sandra Bullock can console herself with the $70 million pay cheque she's cashing in for Gravity.

Bullock's role as engineer Dr Ryan Stone in Alfonso Cuaron's space epic has brought her huge praise for carrying a movie in which she spends much of it alone. But it's also garnered her a $20 million fee plus 15 per cent chunk of its earnings, which The Hollywood Reporter says could be more than $50 million from box office receipts.

Astronomic bucks ... Sandra Bullock and George Clooney during the filming of Alfonso Cuarón's space epic <i>Gravity</i>.

Astronomical bucks ... Sandra Bullock and George Clooney during the filming of Alfonso Cuarón's space epic Gravity.

And that's not all: there's more revenue streams to flow in from DVD and pay and TV earnings.

Bullock, 49, has a highly unusual deal given that it's standard for studios to recoup costs before sharing profits with actors. However, the Hollywood Reporter suggests she signed on at the right time, stepping in after Angelina Jolie dropped out and following her Oscar win for The Blind Side in 2010, which also scored big at the box office with $300 million in receipts.

Warner Bros, who produced Gravity, spent another $100 million on marketing, but still cashed in with worldwide box office takings of more than $700 million.

The $110 million special effects marvel is up for 10 Oscars including best picture, best director and production design.

In the latest Forbes report of the highest earning actors, Robert Downey jnr pulled in $75 million in the year to June 2013, on the back of the unstoppable Iron Man franchise. Channing Tatum came in a surprise second with $60 million after stripper comedy-drama Magic Mike, which he co-financed with director Steven Soderburgh, reaped $170 million at the worldwide box office.