B.O. Roundup, August 9-11: 'Elysium' Leads a Crowded Field

Sunday, 11 August 2013 11:50 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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B.O. Roundup, August 9-11: 'Elysium' Leads a Crowded Field

Elysium, this summer's last bit of original event movie sci-fi, took the top spot at the domestic box office, with the comedy We're the Millers surprising in second place, followed by more family-friendly new releases Planes and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.

These four movies did the heavy lifting to make this weekend a busy one at multiplexes across the nation.  The top twelve movies drummed up a total that is an 8% improvement over the corresponding frame last year, but with so many new and different movies jockeying for position, none managed to really break out in a huge way.

Elysium, for example, took place with a healthy but unremarkable $30.4 million in estimated grosses.  That's down for director Neill Blomkamp's 2009 feature debut District 9, which bowed to $37.3 million and went on to earn $210.8 million worldwide.  Where that movie had a $30 million production budget and no stars, however, Elysium cost around $115 million and stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.

The new film's opening is Damon's biggest since The Bourne Ultimatum, but for such a costly endeavor, Elysium's debut is a bit of a bummer, particularly when compared to District 9.  Sony Pictures, which has had a bit of a rough summer as far as tentpoles go, is going to have to bank on international crowds responding to Elysium.

The big surprise this weekend is We're the Millers, the new comedy from Dodgeball director Rawson Marhsall Thurber.  While Planes was expected to open in second place, the Wednesday debut of We're the Millers didn't burn off demand, as the movie earned an estimated $26.5 million for a total of $38.0 million so far.  Nothing to sneeze at, since the film reportedly cost $37 million.  This is all good news for Jason Sudeikis, who just finished a ten-year run on Saturday Night Live, and Jennifer Aniston, who can list We're the Millers alongside Horrible Bosses as an unexpected comedy success.

Planes, a Pixar-less Disney spinoff from Cars that was originally intended as a direct-to-DVD release, ended up in third place with an estimated $22.5 million.  That's about a third of what both Cars movies opened to, but Planes was considerably cheaper to make than a Pixar movie.  That opening figure is actually the biggest ever for an animated movie released in August, when families are busy in back to school mode.

The sequel to 2010's Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief opened on Wednesday and collected an estimated $14.6 million over the weekend for a total of $23.4 million.  The Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters weekend number is less than half of its predecessor's debut three years ago, and Lightning Thief didn't make it across the $100 million mark domestically.  So this might look bad for Sea of Monsters, except that the first film fared far better internationally, so the sequel is basically built to clean up globally, particularly with the addition of 3D.

Here are the top ten movies in America for the weekend of August 9th through 11th:

1. Elysium                                                      $30.4 million               New Release

2. We're the Millers                                       $26.5 million              $38.0 million

3. Planes                                                        $22.5 million              New Release

4. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters              $14.6 million              $23.4 million

5. 2 Guns                                                        $11.1 million              $48.5 million

6. The Smurfs 2                                              $9.5 million               $46.6 million

7. The Wolverine                                            $8.0 million               $111.9 million

8. The Conjuring                                            $6.7 million               $120.7 million

9. Despicable Me 2                                         $5.7 million               $338.3 million

10. Grown Ups 2                                             $3.7 million              $123.8 million

The upcoming weekend's new releases are led by Paranoia, the white-knuckle thriller starring Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, and Amber Heard.  Over the top violence and humor are once again side by side with Kick-Ass 2, while Lee Daniels' The Butler showcases its ensemble cast and White House story.  Finally, Ashton Kutcher plays the Apple founder in Jobs.


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