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
2. We’re the Millers
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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