Matt Damon scored his best box office debut since leaving the Bourne franchise thanks to Elysium, which flew into first place this weekend with $30.5 million. The Neill Blomkamp-directed film started off smaller than his debut feature, District 9, which began with $37.4 million in 2009. That’s problematic for Sony, which entrusted the South African director with a $115 million budget for Elysium. If the film performs similarly to District 9, which ended its run with $115.6 million, it’s headed to a $94 million domestic finish; though, it seems unlikely that Elysium will have strong legs (even if they are robotically enhanced) given its tepid reception and “B” CinemaScore grade.
Elysium couldn’t match the debuts of fellow original sci-fi tales like Oblivion and Pacific Rim, both of which opened above $37 million earlier this year, but it did outdraw After Earth, which grossed a weak $27.5 million in its debut weekend. Elysium played best with men, who made up 61 percent of the crowd (sci-fi is now the only genre that reliably attracts more men than women), and it opened very well on 328 IMAX screens, which accounted for $4.9 million (16 percent) of its opening weekend total. Overall, the film earned a $9,287 average from 3,284 theaters.
The big winner of the weekend finished in second place. Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston’s R-rated pot comedy We’re the Millers smoked expectations with $26.6 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period. The film, which opened on Wednesday, has grossed $38 million in its first five days in theaters — already earning back its $37 million budget. We’re the Millers started in the same range as Horrible Bosses (another film starring Sudeikis and Aniston), which opened with $28.3 million en route to a $117.3 million finish, as well as The Campaign, which opened with $26.6 million on the same weekend last year.
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