Sunday, August 11, 2013

"Elysium" disappoints in first, "We're the Millers" strong in second at weekend box office

The end of the summer blockbuster season has come. While smaller films such as Kick-Ass 2 and The Mortal Instruments are yet to be released, the last $100 million+ blockbuster opened this weekend in the form of Elysium. The science fiction film, from director Neill Blomkamp grossed a decent $30.4 million in its debut frame, along with an "B" Cinemascore. The box office number is disappointing. Blomkamp's District 9 grossed $37.3 million in its first weekend, and with a bigger budget and a mega-star in the form of Matt Damon, there's no reason that Elysium shouldn't have opened bigger. However, there are a couple of things that prevented it from getting to that higher number: the massive amount of action films this summer and the R-rating. The restrictive rating means that teenagers can't get into the theater easily and must have a parent accompany them, which is never good for box office. However, The Conjuring had a "R" rating last month and that opened higher than Elysium, which means that there was another problem. That problem was the abundance of action choices over the last month and the fact that most people are tired of these types of movies. Elysium's marketing didn't do enough to separate itself from any other action film, and it suffered because of it. Hopefully, the film will have good word of mouth, but that Cinemascore is a major disappointment. Sony better pray for great international grosses, because otherwise, they'll have their third flop of the summer. Too bad that it's one of the summers better films.

In second place this weekend was New Line's We're The Millers. That film grossed a strong $26.5 over the three-day weekend, in addition to $11.4 million on Wednesday and Thursday for a $38 million five-day opening. Add that up with an "A-" Cinemascore, and Warner Bros. and New Line have another hit on their hands. The film should hold well over the coming weeks, as there are no broad comedies until The World's End, if you consider that to be a broad comedy. Look for an $85 million finish. Third place belonged to Disney's Planes, a direct to DVD film that was put in theaters. However, it proved to be a smart move by Disney as the film grossed $22.5 million. That's a strong opening for the film, which will hold strong thanks to an "A-" Cinemascore and no animated films until late September.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters finished in last place out of the four new releases with $14.6 million over the weekend. That makes for a $23.4 million weekend. The "B+" Cinemascore will help word of mouth, but in the end, the budget on this film is a big $90 million, so the international grosses will need to be very strong for the film to make its money back. 2 Guns dropped 59% to fifth place and a $11.1 million finish this weekend. The film has now grossed $48.5 million and should make a solid profit for Universal. The Smurfs 2 suffered at the hands of Planes, with a sixth place finish and $9.5 million in grosses. That's a 46% drop, which is pretty high for an animated film. Still, The Smurfs are huge overseas so expect The Smurfs 3 to stay on track. The Smurfs 2 has grossed $46.6 million in the US.

The Wolverine also continued its freefall down the box office charts with a $8 million weekend in seventh place. The soon-to-be lowest grossing installment in the X-Men franchise has grossed $111.9 million so far. Meanwhile, The Conjuring finished in 8th place with a $6.7 million weekend. The horror smash has now grossed $120.7 million and will likely finish with around $140 million by the end of its run. Despicable Me 2, to my disbelief, is still playing in theaters and finished in ninth this weekend with $5.7 million. The animated mega-hit has grossed $338 million in the US. And rounding out the top ten was Grown Ups 2 with $3.7 million for a total of $123.8 million.

In addition, Blue Jasmine finished in eleventh place in limited release with another $2.5 million for a $6.2 million total. And Chennai Express also opened strong with $2.2 million in 196 theaters.

Next week sees the release of Kick-Ass 2, Lee Daniels' The Butler, Paranoia, and Jobs. Here are some early predictions.

1. Kick-Ass 2- $24.1 million
2. Lee Daniels' The Butler- $22.4 million
3. Paranoia- $15 million
4. Elysium- $14.1 million
5. We're The Millers- $14 million
6. Planes- $12.9 million
7. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters- $6.9 million
8. Jobs- $6.7 million
9. The Smurfs 2- $5.1 million
10. The Wolverine- $4 million


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