'Elysium' Takes First with Modest $29.8M; 'We’re the Millers' Strong with $37.9M in Five Days

on August 12, 2013 by Daniel Garris

Sony's Elysium took first place this weekend with $29.81 million. The Neill Blomkamp directed sci-fi film starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster opened on the low end of expectations. The film's performance was quite similar to the $27.06 million start of 2 Guns last weekend, with the major difference being that Elysium was significantly more expensive than 2 Guns. Elysium debuted 20 percent below the $37.35 million break-out start of 2009's District 9, which was also directed by Blomkamp. Elysium continues the trend of original sci-fi films not being able to break out this summer domestically; as well as Sony's lackluster summer at the box office.

Elysium took in $11.09 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.6 million from late night shows that began at 10 p.m. on Thursday) fell 3 percent on Saturday to take in $10.75 million and slid 26 percent on Sunday to gross $7.97 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.69 to 1, which was slightly higher than the 2.64 to 1 ratio generated by District 9. Elysium received a so-so B rating on CinemaScore, which represented the lowest CinemaScore rating among this weekend's four new wide releases. The audience breakdown for Elysium skewed towards male moviegoers (61 percent) and slightly towards moviegoers under 30 (52 percent).

All things considered, Warner's We're the Millers clearly had this weekend's most impressive performance. The R-rated comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis opened on the high end of expectations with a second place take of $26.42 million. That brings the five-day start for the modestly budgeted film to a very healthy $37.91 million. The five-day start for We're the Millers was a tad higher than the $36.85 million five-day start of Tropic Thunder back in August of 2008. Given the daily holding pattern of We're the Millers thus far, it should only be a short matter of time before the film moves ahead of Elysium in the daily rankings.

We're the Millers had a five-day to three-day ratio of 1.43 to 1. The film's back-loading towards the weekend is a very good sign going forward; as are the film's A- rating on CinemaScore and the limited amount of comedies entering the marketplace over the next month. We're the Millers grossed $8.52 million on Friday, increased 21 percent on Saturday to take in $10.32 million and fell 26.5 percent on Sunday to gross $7.58 million. The audience breakdown for We're the Millers was nearly evenly split between genders (51 percent male, 49 percent female) and skewed towards moviegoers over 25 (61 percent).

Disney's Planes debuted in third with $22.23 million. The DisneyToon Studios produced computer animated spin-off to the Cars franchise opened on the lower end of expectations. While Planes didn't deliver a Pixar-level debut, it wasn't expected to do so, given its nature as a non-Pixar release with a much more modest price tag. Planes opened 66 percent below the $66.14 million debut of 2011's Cars 2, but will have a strong chance of holding up better than Cars 2 did given the much smaller opening weekend rush out and the lack of any new computer animated films entering the marketplace until Sony's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 debuts on September 27.

Planes was front-loaded this weekend with an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.72 to 1, though it should be noted that family films in general were especially front-loaded towards Friday this weekend. The film opened with $8.16 million on Friday, was up a slim 0.5 percent on Saturday with $8.19 million and slid 28 percent on Sunday to take in $5.88 million. Planes earned a promising A- rating on CinemaScore. The audience breakdown for Planes was nearly evenly split between genders (51 percent male, 49 percent female) and skewed towards moviegoers under 25 (58 percent). Family audiences represented 85 percent of the film's total audience.

Among this weekend's four new wide releases, Fox's Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters was off to the weakest start with a fourth place take of $14.40 million. That brings the five-day total for the fantasy sequel to a soft $23.26 million. While Sea of Monsters had been widely expected to deliver the weekend's smallest debut, the film nonetheless opened below expectations. Sea of Monsters opened 14 percent below the $27.11 million five-day start of The Smurfs 2 last week and 43 percent below the $40.57 million five-day take of 2010's Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (which opened on a Friday).

Like Planes, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters will hope to hold up well going forward given the lack of new family options in the marketplace during the near future. However, that may be easier said than done given the early front-loading Sea of Monsters has displayed thus far; the film's five-day to three-day ratio was 1.62 to 1. The film received a B+ rating on CinemaScore.

In their respective second weekends of release, Universal's 2 Guns fell four spots and 58 percent to place in fifth with $11.25 million, while Sony's The Smurfs 2 was down three places and 47 percent to land in sixth with $9.33 million. Four new wide releases entering the marketplace clearly took a toll on both films and on holdovers in general. To date, 2 Guns has grossed a so-so $48.64 million in ten days and The Smurfs 2 has grossed a softer than expected $46.47 million in twelve days.

On the limited front, UTV's Chennai Express was off to a record-breaking start with $2.22 million from 196 locations. That represented the largest unadjusted three-day opening weekend ever for a Hindi language Bollywood release in North America. The previous high mark was the $1.94 million debut of 2010's My Name is Khan. Chennai Express earned a per-location average of $11,329 from 196 locations and has grossed $2.42 million through four days of release.

In its third weekend of release, Sony Pictures Classics' Blue Jasmine grossed $2.35 million. The Woody Allen directed film starring Cate Blanchett was up 26 percent over last weekend and earned a per-location average of $19,709 from 119 locations. In comparison, 2011's Midnight in Paris grossed $2.77 million from 147 locations in its third weekend of release. Blue Jasmine has grossed $6.04 million in 17 days, placing it 11 percent behind the $6.79 million 17-day take of Midnight in Paris.

Tags: Blue Jasmine, Chennai Express, The Smurfs 2, 2 Guns, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Planes, We're the Millers, Elysium

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