Box Office Report (US): ELYSIUM Scrambles to the Top on Stuffed August Opener

Written by Zachary Fox Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Movie News

August is traditionally the quietest month of the cinematic calendar – caught between the blockbuster-heavy summer months and the mopey Oscar-baiting autumn/winter – but you’d never have guessed from August 2013’s opening weekend.

With no less than four new-releases – totaling $92.9 million gross – there was an awful lot of competition for the shambling droves of wallets. Something which Neil Blomkamp and his DISTRICT 9 follow-up ELYSIUM will be cursing the heavens (and whatever lives beyond them) for.

Despite taking first place it did so with just $29.8 million, putting it below sci-fi opponents OBLIVION and PACIFIC RIM and Blomkamp’s previous picture DISTRICT 9, all of which gathered $37 million in their opening weekends. Hell, it’s only just ahead of the year’s resident whipping boy AFTER EARTH… which is like being compared to a turd on the bathroom floor.

Despite being Matt Damon’s biggest opening weekend since the BOURNE trilogy, it’s still an immensely disappointing to be that far down on DISTRICT 9 and with not even a strong CinemaScore (B) to back it up.

ELYSIUM is now likely to be the fourth Sony film of the year to fall below $100 million - after SMURFS 2, WHITE HOUSE DOWN and AFTER EARTH – in what’s been a comically misguided year for the studio. 

Opening into second stands WE’RE THE MILLERS; it’s $26.4 million weekend ($37.9 million over five days) giving it a greater start than TROPIC THUNDER and PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, both of which had August debuts.

An eye-catching premise and strong cast – apparently sexing up Jennifer Aniston is a current mini-trend in Hollywood – along with a strong release date has worked wonders (THE HEAT came out seven weeks ago, so there was something of a comedic dearth). While unlikely to outpace TROPIC THUNDER, WE’RE THE MILLERS should comfortably gross north of $100 million.

The change of status from ‘straight-to-dvd’ to ‘limited cinematic’ release worked well for PLANES, the peculiar pseudo-sequel come IP-transmission from Pixar’s CARS. August is a tough month for animated films – most parents have normally thoroughly returned to ‘back-to-school’ mode – especially with this year’s family (over)friendly summer, but $22.2 million is respectable in third spot.

Finally on the new releases front comes the black sheep, the lame horse, the slow cousin of the lot: PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS. The original PERCY JACKSON didn’t exactly set the world on fire with a $137 million gross – with the sequel somewhat surprising in its very existence – and a weekend gross of $14.4 million (less than half of its predecessor’s $31.2 million) hasn’t helped the issue. The first film’s mediocre reception and the 3.5-year gap between films didn’t give SEA OF MONSTERS a strong foundation to build off, however its international earnings should help it save face.

Elsewhere, SMURFS 2 and 2 GUNS took a beating (with $9.3 million and $11.2 million respectively) though have come out significantly less bruised than THE WOLVERINE. In its third week the Marvel movie took $8.02 million for a 62% drop, giving it a $112 million gross and guaranteed status as the lowest grossing X-MEN film. Not that that’ll stop Marvel from making them if the latest rumours are to be believed.

Domestic Top 10

1. Elysium

2. We’re the Millers

3. Planes

4. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

5. 2 Guns

6. Smurfs 2

7. The Wolverine

8. The Conjuring

9. Despicable Me 2

10. Grown Ups

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