LOS ANGELES: Matt Damon’s futuristic thriller Elysium, the story of an elite space outpost locked in battle with poor invaders from a ruined Earth, won a crowded box office race among four new films at US and Canadian theatres over the weekend.
Elysium grabbed $30.5 million in domestic ticket sales from Friday through Sunday, according to estimates from distributor Sony Pictures. The movie added $10.9 million from 17 international markets, for a combined global opening of $41.4 million.
Elysium edged the Jennifer Aniston comedy We’re the Millers, which took in $26.6 million, while Planes, a spin-off of Walt Disney Co’s Pixar franchise Cars, took off with $22.5 million at domestic theatres, finishing in third.
The other newcomer, fantasy movie Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, landed fourth with $14.6 million.
Effects-filled action movie Elysium came in at the low end of pre-weekend forecasts for a debut in the low $30 million range. The movie portrays two distinct worlds in the year 2154 — a diseased and overpopulated Earth and Elysium, a space station where the elite live.
Damon stars as Max, a blue-collar worker with a criminal past who needs medicine from Elysium to survive. Jodie Foster plays the Elysium defense secretary bent on keeping Max and all other illegal immigrants out.
“We’re feeling very good about our results,” said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures’ president of worldwide distribution, noting that “there were a lot of movies opening this week.”
“The picture will roll out really big-time internationally over the next two weeks ... and it’s going to be a big hit for us internationally.”
The Smurfs 2 pulled in an estimated $34.6 million in its second weekend of release overseas, bringing its global total to $156.6 million, while the Adam Sandler vehicle Grown Ups 2 neared $125 million domestically in its fifth week.
Planes, which features the voice of Dane Cook as Dusty, a crop duster trying to overcome a fear of heights, was produced by the DisneyToon studio for $50 million and originally planned as a direct-to-DVD release.
Finishing fifth for the weekend, action movie 2 Guns, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, took in $11.1 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2013.
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