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Weekend Box Office Report: ‘Elysium’ Wins a Busy Weekend

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In a weekend with four new major releases but no definitive frontrunners, the Matt Damon sci-fi action flick ‘Elysium‘ snagged the top spot over some seemingly powerful competition. Director Neill Blomkamp’s film continues this summer’s trend of R-rated fare opening big (‘The Purge,’ ‘The Conjuring,’ ‘2 Guns‘) and proves that there’s plenty of box office success to be had in the typically slow final weeks of the season.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Elysium $30,400,000 $9,257 $30,400,000
2 We’re the Millers $26,555,000 $8,146 $38,044,000
3 Planes $22,525,000 $6,085 $22,525,000
4 Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters $14,600,000 $4,817 $23,457,000
5 2 Guns $11,128,000 (-58.9)
$3,675 $48,517,000
6 The Smurfs 2 $9,500,000 (-45.9) $2,457 $46,600,000
7 The Wolverine $8,000,000 (-62.5) $2,790 $111,986,000
8 The Conjuring $6,700,000 (-48.6) $2,528 $120,745,000
9 Despicable Me 2 $5,748,000 (-43.3) $2,400 $338,314,000
10 Grown Ups 2 $3,700,000 (-53.4) $1,760 $123,800,000

The $30 million opening for ‘Elysium’ puts it just south of Blomkamp’s previous film, the terrific ‘District 9,’ which opened to $37 million back in 2009. These are excellent numbers in a vacuum, but the film still has a long way to go to pay for its $115 million budget. But ‘District 9′ had legs and there will be little in the way of direct competition for a few weeks, so ‘Elysium’ could fare quite well if people like it and word of mouth is strong. The second weekend will be the true test for this one.

While ‘Elysium”s opening is impressive but a little nebulous, there’s no denying the strength of the opening for ‘We’re the Millers.’ The Jennifer Aniston-starring comedy opened on Wednesday, but grossed an impressive $26 million over the weekend, bringing its current haul to $38 million. It’s all but broken even at this point, so anything made from this point on is just icing. Could it follow in the footsteps of ‘The Heat‘ and begin a steady climb to $150 million? Probably not, but it’s definitely a hit.

Disney’s ‘Planes‘ sputtered into third place with $22 million, a massive blow for the studio when you consider the massive openings for the ‘Cars’ films, which take place in the same universe. Since kids obviously aren’t tired of this world, you can probably blame the parents for this one. It was no secret that this was a direct-to-DVD project that got a promotion, so a lot of families may have decided to simply wait for the home release.

And then we come to the final new release of the week, ‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.’ Released on Wednesday, the fantasy adventure has made $23 million so far, which is ten million less than what the first film made in its opening weekend back in 2010. That first film also ended up being a massive financial underachiever and it looks like the sequel will follow suit. Percy Jackson has officially joined Narnia in the land of dead fantasy franchises.

And that brings us to the older films, which struggled in the wake of so much new stuff. ’2 Guns,’ last week’s champion, took a massive stumble this time around, only grossing $11 million for a $48 million total. It’s closing in on its budget so it should be okay in the long run, but those kinds of drops don’t inspire confidence for sequels. Below it, ‘The Smurfs 2‘ grossed $9 million for a $46 million total, a sad shadow of the first film’s massive success. ‘The Wolverine‘ continued to trudge along as well, taking in $8 million for an $11 million total. It’s not going to match ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ — and that’s not good.

In fact, the only bright spot in the back half of the top 10 is ‘The Conjuring,’ which officially passed the $120 million mark, effectively making it one of the most successful horror movies of all time. For real.

The top ten is rounded out by ‘Despicable Me 2‘ (finally slowing down) and ‘Grown Ups 2‘ (just happy to be here at this point), but Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine‘ did excellent business just beyond them in the 11th spot, showcasing a per-screen average higher than anything in the top 10. It won’t do ‘Midnight in Paris’ money, but it’ll do very well when all is said and done.

Next week sees the release of ‘JOBS,’ ‘Kick-Ass 2,’ ‘The Butler‘ and ‘Paranoia.’ Your guess is as good as ours, but we’ll give the edge to ‘Kick-Ass 2.’

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