Damon's Elysium tops US box office
Matt Damon's Elysium has topped the weekend box office in the US, taking 30.5 million dollars (£19.7 million), enough to beat three newcomers, including the Jennifer Aniston comedy We're The Millers.
According to studio estimates, the dystopian science fiction thriller from Sony, directed by Neill Blomkamp and starring Damon, opened in line with expectations, but still debuted somewhat modestly for a 115 million dollar (£74 million) action film.
It couldn't match Blomkamp's previous film, the 30 million dollar District 9, which opened with 37.4 million (£24 million) in August 2009.
But Elysium was able to come out on top in a crowded weekend, with three other new wide releases: the R-rated Warner Bros comedy We're The Millers, starring Jason Sudeikis and Aniston (26.6 million dollars over the weekend, a strong 38 million since opening August 6); Disney's Cars spin-off Planes (22.5 million) and Fox's fantasy sequel Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (14.6 million dollars over the weekend, 23.5 million since August 7).
District 9 was something of a phenomenon: a relatively low-budget science-fiction film from a first-time, South African director that made over 210 million dollars (£135 million) worldwide and landed four Academy Awards nominations, including best picture. Like District 9, Elysium is rife with allegory, a futuristic tale heavy with contemporary themes of wealth discrepancy, health care and immigration, but it was also made with more than three times the budget of District 9 and added stars Damon and Jodie Foster.
Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony said the studio was proud to release an ambitious film like Elysium and said that it would be "very profitable" for Sony. The film launched internationally in a handful of markets, including Russia, taking in 10.9 million dollars (£7 million) overseas. With the added star power of Damon and Foster, Elysium should be a bigger draw than District 9 was abroad.
"International is going to be the big, big win on this film for us," said Bruer.