In theory, Elysium should have been a lot easier to market than District 9, director Neill Blomkamp’s previous film. After all, Elysium had a major star (Matt Damon) and a huge budget ($100 million)—two things that audiences are known to appreciate—whereas District 9 had a lead actor who’d never been a film before (Sharlto Copley) and a budget more befitting a drama than a summer sci-fi blockbuster ($30 million). Also, the actors in District 9 all spoke with heavy South African accents. For certain North American moviegoers, this made the movie all but incomprehensible.
And yet District 9 was a smash hit in 2009, opening with $37 million. Elysium, in contrast, opened with just $30.4 million—not exactly the hit that Sony was hoping for after missing the mark earlier this summer with After Earth and White House Down. But don’t expect Sony execs to start leaping out of their windows just yet. Two weeks from now, Sony’s adaptation of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones hits theatres. If that movie makes $500 million, they will have earned back all the money they lost with After Earth and White House Down.
Here are the weekend’s top 10 movies:
1. Elysium $30.4M
2. We’re the Millers $26.6M (total: $38M)
3. Planes $22.5M
4. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters $14.6M (total: $23.5M)
5. 2 Guns $11.1M (total: $48.5M)
6. The Smurfs 2 $9.5M (total: $46.6M)
7. The Wolverine $8M (total: $112M)
8. The Conjuring $6.7M (total: $121M)
9. Despicable Me 2 $5.75M (total: $338M)
10. Grown Ups 2 $3.7M (total: $124M)