Box Office Guru Wrapup: Elysium Tops Crowded List of Newcomers

North American multiplexes were hit with a traffic jam as four new wide releases took all the leading spots with the top ten beating out both last weekend's and last year's numbers. Leading the way with a number one debut was the sci-fi action thriller Elysium starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster which opened to $30.5M from 3,284 locations for a good $9,287 average. Considering the original story, R rating, and the fact that 14 other summer action films came before it, the debut was respectable though not stellar.

The opening came in below the $37.4M of director Neill Blomkamp's debut feature film District 9 which released around the same time on the calendar three years ago, but with no stars and a fraction of the production budget. That film won rave reviews, hot buzz out of Comic Con, and eventually an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Sony acquired worldwide rights for Elysium for $115M. It's been a tough summer for the studio with After Earth, White House Down, and The Smurfs 2 all underperforming. Comedies This is the End and Grown Ups 2 have done well though.

The futuristic film lacked female appeal which held back some of its potential. Hollywood has bombarded summer audiences with 15 action titles since early May and this weekend a comedy like We're the Millers proved to be a better option for many adult couples looking for a fun time at the movies. Studio research showed that a high 61% of the crowd was male and 52% was under 30. IMAX sales were solid, though.

Despite generally positive reviews, paying audiences were not too jazzed by Elysium as the CinemaScore grade was only a B. That was the same grade earned earlier this summer by After Earth and The Hangover Part III which both fell by more than 60% in the second weekend. In fact, the only action film this summer to score a lower grade was the universally-panned R.I.P.D. with its C+. Among this year's original sci-fi action pics, Elysium debuted below Oblivion and Pacific Rim which each opened to $37M and change. But those were both PG-13 so given the rating difference, it was not too much weaker. Since May, action films have generally been good, but not amazing. And amazing is what many moviegoers need in order to open their wallets at this point.

Jennifer Aniston scored the seventh $25M+ opening of her career in a major role with the new comedy We're the Millers which debuted strongly in second place with an estimated $26.6M over the weekend and a hefty $38M since its Wednesday launch. The Warner Bros. release averaged a potent $8,146 over three days from 3,260 locations. Critics slammed the R-rated comedy about a fake family trying to smuggle pot into the country from Mexico, however regular audiences felt differently. The CinemaScore grade was an encouraging A- as those looking for raunchy summer laughs that don't require much thinking were satisfied with what they paid for.

Millers benefited from solid cross-gender appeal as studio research showed that males made up 51% while the overall skew was towards mature adults with 61% being over 25. Aniston has been a bankable actress over the years and her starpower trumped the bad reviews as the film has no other star with a proven box office track record. Millers may just become the sixth $100M+ domestic grosser of her career, fifth among major roles.

Landing in third with a respectable bow was Disney's animated film Planes with an estimated $22.5M from 3,702 locations for a $6,085 average. It was the best opening among all the kidpics released since the juggernaut Despicable Me 2, but was not an especially impressive turnout. The PG-rated film was heavily marketed as being connected to Pixar's Cars franchise even though it was made by filmmakers from the direct-to-DVD world. Planes earned an A- CinemaScore which is common for toons and had limited appeal beyond the core family crowd.

Another new kidpic followed with a similar gross, though it needed five days to reach it. Fox's fantasy sequel Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters debuted to an estimated $14.6M over the weekend and $23.5M since its Wednesday bow. The five-day debut was down a troubling 39% from the four-day holiday bow of its 2010 predecessor Percy Jackson & The Olympians. With weak reviews, a glut of mediocre titles for kids, and a moderate B+ CinemaScore grade, the PG-rated film did not attract huge sales. The effects-driven pic averaged only $4,817 from 3,031 theaters.

Consistently bankable Denzel Washington suffered a drop that was larger than usual for his latest action pic 2 Guns which fell 59% in its second weekend to an estimated $11.1M. Incoming competition from the many new releases hurt all films but this Universal release also has seen audience buzz that was mediocre and not stellar. With $48.5M, look for 2 Guns to finish with about $75-80M. Fellow sophomore The Smurfs 2 declined by 46% to an estimated $9.5M and has given Sony a disappointing $46.6M after 12 days. The final tally might end at around $70M which would be half of what its 2011 predecessor made.

Tumbling 63% to an estimated $8M was The Wolverine which has banked $112M so far for Fox. The spooky smash The Conjuring grossed an estimated $6.7M in its fourth weekend, down 49%, for a cume of $120.7M for Warner Bros.

The latest hits from a pair of A-list funnymen rounded out the top ten. Steve Carell's monster blockbuster Despicable Me 2 ranked ninth with an estimated $5.7M, off 44%, for a domestic haul of $338.3M. The Universal sensation also watched its international cume soar to $407.5M while the worldwide tally hit $745.8M. Breaking $800M will be simple as key markets like Russia, Korea, and Italy are still to open between now and October. Adam Sandler's first sequel Grown Ups 2 fell 53% to an estimated $3.7M putting Sony at $123.8M to date.

On the specialty scene, UTV's action-comedy Chennai Express broke the record for the biggest Bollywood opening ever with an estimated $2.2M from 196 locations for a $11,352 average. Cume since the Thursday launch is $2.5M. Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine expanded well again with an estimated $2.5M from 119 sites for a $21,202 average and $6.2M sum for Sony Classics.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $138.9M which was up 8% from last year when The Bourne Legacy debuted at number one with $38.1M; and up 3% from 2011 when Rise of the Planet of the Apes remained in the top spot with $27.8M.

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Comments

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

I'm considering checking "Elysium" out, I'll lower my expectations a bit so I'm not disappointed.

"Planes" got a higher Cinemascore than "Elysium" did? I haven't seen "Planes" either, and don't plan to, but that kind of surprises me. Well, we'll see if it does a "Cars 2" and drops off next weekend.

Aug 11 - 05:01 PM

Andrew Korkmas

Andrew Korkmas

I'd be surprised if Planes's reception improves. I'm still debating whether to give Elysium a try as well (mostly because I've heard from some that it's not very cleverly disguised liberal propoganda) but since Kick Ass 2 is coming out next weekend I might just wait till redbox

Aug 11 - 05:24 PM

Veronica J.

Veronica Jones

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Aug 14 - 12:41 AM

Mac Moon

Mac Moon

They allow gold-diggers such as yourself to become members?

Aug 28 - 04:02 PM

Maximus L.

Maximus Leon

I work at Home with Google. It's by-far the nicest job I have had. I've made $64,000 so far this year working online and I'm a full time student. Also my Aunty Makayla recently got an awesome twelve month old Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan by parttime working online.. Get the facts.. www.Bling6.com

Aug 30 - 08:03 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Cinemascore is the most worthless gauge of film quality since the MTV movie award. The RT user scores aren't very trustworthy either.

Aug 12 - 07:28 AM

Chris Eaton

Chris Eaton

Yes, it's shocking that something that wasn't created to measure quality does a bad job of measuring quality. Next thing you know, you'll be telling us that measuring tape does a bad job of measuring car emissions.

Aug 12 - 07:55 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

So you're suggesting that if people went to go see a shit movie, and it met their expectations, it gets an "A"? Fucking idiots.

Aug 12 - 05:32 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

@Val - Yes. That's why the article points out that an "A" is common for kids cartoons. Easy to please. Get it?

Aug 12 - 05:36 PM

Tom Graczkowski

Tom Graczkowski

There's never gonna be a perfect quality measurement system since there is never gonna be a 100% agreement of somebody's else assessment of a film. All you can do is take a chance and then hope that the film won't disappoint (you).

Aug 14 - 09:47 AM

Marc Cerone

Marc "Cerone" Chaudry

Aye, trust in Roger Ebert my friends, even if his students are doing the reviews now, besides, they aren't too far off from his reviewing style, I am quite surprised, I mean they were trained by him anyway. We should also trust Entertainment Weekly, and Empire Magazine as well, there is an immense amount of whining on major film critic sites, it's obviously aggravating how much people can't shut up and enjoy good old fashion escapism, Elysium did the trick for me.

Aug 12 - 12:15 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Funny how every movie gets an "A" or "B" cinemascore, only the most universally acknowledged awful ones get a "C" and none get a "D" or "F". No matter what it's purpose for existence, it's ridiculously flawed. "Hi there, how did you like Grown Ups 2?" "I give a doh A! (drools down shirt).

Aug 12 - 05:41 PM

Alissa Oakman

Alissa Oakman

before I looked at the paycheck ov $4727, I didnt believe that...my... best friend was actualey receiving money in there spare time on their laptop.. there aunts neighbour has been doing this for only eleven months and just repayed the loans on their cottage and bourt themselves a Jaguar XJ. go to..>>>

w瓀瓀.C璶璶񩧿.c璷璵

Aug 15 - 03:27 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Mildly disappointed by Elysium. It has some good acting, some fairly bad acting. It had a good plot, but for some reason Blomkamp decided to cheese up the movie with a sappy, unnecessary, and not quite believable love interest sub-plot.

Elysium is portrayed as the big bad whitey stronghold, while the rest of the hispanics and blacks are forced to live down on a polluted earth with no healthcare. Hell even Matt Damon was raised speaking spanish, only to grow up speaking english fluently with no accent. Pfft.

Sharto Copley provides the comic relief as the bad guy, and it's difficult to take him seriously when he is constantly screaming shit in that bizarre scottish-australian-whatever accent. Whether it's unintentional, I don't know but you'll spend half the movie laughing at him. Jodie Foster is just here for the paycheck, but she isn't working with much.

The effects are pretty awesome, as you would expect yet it's hard to not get the feeling you are watching a video game. Blomkamp saves enough cheese to glop it on at the end, a very predictable and almost Michael Bay worthy finish that won't be winning him any new fans. In short, it's not a complete stinker, but this film could have been so much better.

Aug 11 - 05:14 PM

todd123

Todd Garry

I didn't feel like it came across as a video game. I did think the action was actually lacking though.

Aug 11 - 05:16 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

The action was too fast and there wasn't enough of it. The shaky camera didn't help at all.

Aug 11 - 08:30 PM

Caleb P.

Caleb Paasche

I agree with Typhon, but I enjoyed the film overall.

Aug 12 - 10:54 AM

Robert Lowe

Robert Lowe

He's clearly south african, did you even see District 9?

Aug 12 - 11:57 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I knew some moron would point out the obvious, I was just describing what it sounded like since saying 'the guy with the South African accent' really doesn't quite do it justice.

Aug 12 - 05:34 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

It's Dutch, actually. White Afrikaners are Dutch.

Aug 12 - 06:31 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

My point was I knew he was South African, I was simply describing what it sounds like for effect. I had already presumed some anal retentive jolly rancher like you would come along and put the pc heavy on me, and indeed you did not dissapoint.

Aug 13 - 07:50 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

It doesn't mean I'm trolling, it means you're a self important douchebag out to correct people so you can feel better about your tiny dick. It's obvious you are oblivious to the concept of facetiousness, so there's no point in discussing it further.

Aug 14 - 02:06 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I'm hoping people would call me on an offhand joke so I can make fun of you? That's fucking preposterous, you chose to to be a big dildo and come prove how 'smart' you are by sticking your nose into it. If I WAS trolling, it would have worked and if I wasn't you've demonstrated you're a know-it-all who can't resist opening his fat, cockbreathed mouth.

Aug 14 - 05:39 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

If everything was banal as you seem to wish it was, this would be a very boring planet indeed.

Aug 15 - 12:51 PM

Lauren Copley

Lauren Copley

Lance just a slight correction - Afrikaans is not Dutch, although it originated in that language...and Val Mordas...wow you are such a charmer, aren't you?

Sep 3 - 09:36 AM

todd123

Todd Garry

I didn't feel like it came across as a video game. I did think the action was actually lacking though.

Aug 11 - 05:16 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

The action was too fast and there wasn't enough of it. The shaky camera didn't help at all.

Aug 11 - 08:30 PM

Caleb P.

Caleb Paasche

I agree with Typhon, but I enjoyed the film overall.

Aug 12 - 10:54 AM

Andrew Korkmas

Andrew Korkmas

I'd be surprised if Planes's reception improves. I'm still debating whether to give Elysium a try as well (mostly because I've heard from some that it's not very cleverly disguised liberal propoganda) but since Kick Ass 2 is coming out next weekend I might just wait till redbox

Aug 11 - 05:24 PM

Veronica J.

Veronica Jones

Find a millionaire man or woman for a serious relationship, welcome to___richfriends.com___the largest dating site for rich successful singles and admirers. Have a try and find singles who will exceed your expectations and join you in your pursuit of happiness! :)

Aug 14 - 12:41 AM

Mac Moon

Mac Moon

They allow gold-diggers such as yourself to become members?

Aug 28 - 04:02 PM

Maximus L.

Maximus Leon

I work at Home with Google. It's by-far the nicest job I have had. I've made $64,000 so far this year working online and I'm a full time student. Also my Aunty Makayla recently got an awesome twelve month old Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan by parttime working online.. Get the facts.. www.Bling6.com

Aug 30 - 08:03 AM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

God August is a boring month... Elysium looks pretty good, but I don't have the highest of hopes for it, and I still have to see The Wolverine and The World's End.

Aug 11 - 05:30 PM

Andrew Targaryen

Andrew Targaryen

Might see Elysium next weekend, looks fantastic. District 9 is one of my favorite sci-fi movies EVER, so it should be a fun ride.

Also, am I the only one who's looking forward to Jobs next week?

Aug 11 - 05:31 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Yes.

Aug 11 - 06:13 PM

LoverOfWine

Neil Law

Yeah, Jobs doesn't do much for me. May catch it on DVD. Aston Kutcher is part of the issue.

Don't expect Elysium to be the same as D9 though. I liked it a lot myself and was great on the big screen

Aug 12 - 05:03 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Yes.

Aug 11 - 06:13 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Elysium was good, but it never really delved deep into the issues it covered like District 9 did. Also, the pacing seemed a bit rushed.

Aug 11 - 08:29 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

The action was too fast and there wasn't enough of it. The shaky camera didn't help at all.

Aug 11 - 08:30 PM

Caleb P.

Caleb Paasche

I agree with Typhon, but I enjoyed the film overall.

Aug 12 - 10:54 AM

Aimee Woods

Aimee Woods

Elysium was OK. Again earth of the not so far future has gone completely to hell! How does this happen? I have much higher hopes for us. Matt Damon was good. I really liked Spider the best. He at least was trying to help humanity, a cool rebel. I am a sucker for this kind of syfy. I think Oblivion was just as good!

Aug 11 - 08:40 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

How does this happen? Overpopulation combined with climate change, and it's hardly unrealistic.

Aug 11 - 08:47 PM

I fight for the users

Ian Fastert

I actually just saw Oblivion this weekend and also liked it. The third act was confusing, but I still liked it.

Aug 13 - 08:58 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

How does this happen? Overpopulation combined with climate change, and it's hardly unrealistic.

Aug 11 - 08:47 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

"Since May, action films have generally been good, but not amazing. And amazing is what many moviegoers need in order to open their wallets at this point."

The author hit the nail on the head. By this point, I think audiences are getting tired of ok-to-good blockbusters. We haven't had any great ones at all this summer. Nothing with the universal praise of a Star Trek '09, District 9 or an Avengers. The three best summer blockbusters this year have been Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man 3 and Pacific Rim and neither of those will be purchases for me once they come to blu ray. We need something GREAT.

Aug 11 - 09:01 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Still holding out for Desolation of Smaug, but I must concur this year has been nothing but mediocrity in film.

Aug 11 - 09:55 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

Unfortunately, that's the only one that gives me hope this winter. I'm not holding my breath for Thor, Hunger Games (both had director downgrades) or Ender's Game (loved the book but the trailers make me iffy). Oldboy could have potential. Of course, we have Gravity coming in October, which is easily my most anticipated big budget film left.

On the drama side, things look much better. New Coens, Scorsese, Stiller (well, dramedy), McQueen, Payne, Scott, etc. as well as a bunch of interesting indies like the one with Daniel Radcliffe as Ginsberg.

Aug 11 - 11:30 PM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

I think there is plenty of hope for Thor, what with the director coming from Game of Thrones.

Aug 12 - 07:28 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Yeah I saw the Ender's Game trailer and it looks like Hunger Games in space with a male protagonist. It's got red flags all over it.

Aug 12 - 07:30 AM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

I concede the point, Josepth. Spoke too soon about the director of Thor. He directed some Deadwood, Mad Men and Game of Thrones, so I do have some hope for Thor.

Aug 12 - 01:20 PM

Brett Manahan

Brett Manahan

Pacific Rim wasn't one of the best summer blockbusters. It was insanely average, and didn't have anything original in it. It is very, very overrated.

Aug 12 - 06:21 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Not as original of reboots of decades old comic characters and TV shows? How about as original as yet another zombie apocalypse, perhaps? Hm, but anime influences are more or less off the table? Right. Insane.

Aug 12 - 06:38 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

Well see, I agree with all that, Brett, but I still think it was one of the summer's best blockbusters. Like I said, weak year. Hey, it was fun and well-made at least.

Aug 12 - 11:48 PM

Dave J

Dave J

"We'll"

Aug 13 - 12:06 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

No, I meant "well."

Aug 13 - 12:20 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Then it wouldn't make any sense since it's supposed to be "We will see"- not 'well see'!

Aug 14 - 02:23 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

I wasn't saying "we will see." I was saying "well see," which is another way of saying "see here now."

Aug 16 - 10:05 AM

John Draisey

John Draisey

Random couple overheard me talking about how much I wanted to see this movie. They told me "See it! It was amazing." so I'm taking their advice, haha.

Aug 11 - 09:22 PM

Overfed Jed

Overfed Jed

A ah question for ah those who saw Elysium: did you ah feel forcefully beaten by the ah film's political agenda?

Aug 11 - 09:27 PM

JC Martel

JC Martel

Yeah, there's so much films with political issues in the theaters these days, it's becoming a drag.

Aug 11 - 09:33 PM

LoverOfWine

Neil Law

No because I can disregard it. I don't go to see a movie like that for political agendas.

Aug 12 - 05:04 AM

Caleb P.

Caleb Paasche

I think the whole political thing surrounding the film is getting pretty overrated at this point. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, although it was not as good as District 9.

Aug 12 - 10:57 AM

JC Martel

JC Martel

Yeah, there's so much films with political issues in the theaters these days, it's becoming a drag.

Aug 11 - 09:33 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Still holding out for Desolation of Smaug, but I must concur this year has been nothing but mediocrity in film.

Aug 11 - 09:55 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

Unfortunately, that's the only one that gives me hope this winter. I'm not holding my breath for Thor, Hunger Games (both had director downgrades) or Ender's Game (loved the book but the trailers make me iffy). Oldboy could have potential. Of course, we have Gravity coming in October, which is easily my most anticipated big budget film left.

On the drama side, things look much better. New Coens, Scorsese, Stiller (well, dramedy), McQueen, Payne, Scott, etc. as well as a bunch of interesting indies like the one with Daniel Radcliffe as Ginsberg.

Aug 11 - 11:30 PM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

I think there is plenty of hope for Thor, what with the director coming from Game of Thrones.

Aug 12 - 07:28 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Yeah I saw the Ender's Game trailer and it looks like Hunger Games in space with a male protagonist. It's got red flags all over it.

Aug 12 - 07:30 AM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

I concede the point, Josepth. Spoke too soon about the director of Thor. He directed some Deadwood, Mad Men and Game of Thrones, so I do have some hope for Thor.

Aug 12 - 01:20 PM

This comment has been removed.

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Haha. "Conjuring" is an indie film now? Because New Line and WB are independant studios?

Aug 12 - 12:03 AM

This comment has been removed.

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

It was a petty point. I was bored.

Aug 12 - 05:37 PM

Rated NCC-1701

Rated NCC-1701

Not sure if it's a season's "job" to maintain a steady momentum, especially with forces beyond its control, spread so thinly. But mmmkuy.

Aug 12 - 06:45 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

Unfortunately, that's the only one that gives me hope this winter. I'm not holding my breath for Thor, Hunger Games (both had director downgrades) or Ender's Game (loved the book but the trailers make me iffy). Oldboy could have potential. Of course, we have Gravity coming in October, which is easily my most anticipated big budget film left.

On the drama side, things look much better. New Coens, Scorsese, Stiller (well, dramedy), McQueen, Payne, Scott, etc. as well as a bunch of interesting indies like the one with Daniel Radcliffe as Ginsberg.

Aug 11 - 11:30 PM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

I think there is plenty of hope for Thor, what with the director coming from Game of Thrones.

Aug 12 - 07:28 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Yeah I saw the Ender's Game trailer and it looks like Hunger Games in space with a male protagonist. It's got red flags all over it.

Aug 12 - 07:30 AM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

I concede the point, Josepth. Spoke too soon about the director of Thor. He directed some Deadwood, Mad Men and Game of Thrones, so I do have some hope for Thor.

Aug 12 - 01:20 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Haha. "Conjuring" is an indie film now? Because New Line and WB are independant studios?

Aug 12 - 12:03 AM

This comment has been removed.

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

It was a petty point. I was bored.

Aug 12 - 05:37 PM

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