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Tag: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (1-4 of 4)

Box office report: 'Elysium' tops crowded weekend with $30.5 million; 'We're The Millers' strong in second

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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Box office update: 'Elysium' and 'We're the Millers' outpace 'Planes' on Friday

After a few lackluster weekends in a row, the box office ticked up on Friday thanks to the appeal of four new releases. The strongest of the quartet was Elysium, Sony’s $115 million sci-fi adventure starring Matt Damon, which grossed $11.2 million on its first day. Given the frontloaded nature of sci-fi films, Elysium may miss the $30 million mark and finish the weekend with $29 million — a substantial step down from director Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, which began with $37.4 million in 2009.

In second place, Jason Sudeikis’ and Jennifer Aniston’s comedic re-teaming We’re the Millers pulled in a hearty $8.5 million on its first Friday, which should lead to a $25.5 million weekend. Warner Bros. spent only $37 million on the R-rated comedy, and factoring in the $11.5 million the film grossed on Wednesday and Thursday, We’re the Millers will have matched that $37 million after five days in theaters.
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Box office preview: 'Elysium' may lift off faster than 'Planes'

This week, four new releases — Elysium, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Planes, and We’re the Millers — are flooding theaters, and they will likely take up the first four spots at the box office. Here’s how the chart might look this weekend:

1. Elysium – $32 million
Sony’s $115 million sci-fi film has the best shot at winning the weekend, though it may not be able to match the debut of director Neill Blomkamp’s first film, District 9, which opened with $37.4 million in 2009. Matt Damon’s star power will certainly draw crowds, but in a summer that’s been stuffed with sci-fi fare, Elysium is a high-concept original film arriving rather late to the party. Comparable titles include Oblivion, which opened with $37.1 million, and Pacific Rim, which opened with $37.2 million, but Elysium may have to work harder to reach those heights with an R rating. The film could open to about $32 million this weekend.
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What's going on with the troubled VFX industry?

Image credit: Marvel, New Line Cinema, Lionsgate

Image credit: Marvel, New Line Cinema, Lionsgate

The buzz around the state of the visual effects industry reached a fever pitch this winter when prominent effects house Rhythm & Hues filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in mid-February. Further attention was pointed at the men and women who create whole worlds from a blank green canvas during the Oscars, when VFX artists held a protest near the ceremony, which honored Life of Pi – a movie with effects by Rhythm & Hues – with an Academy Award in the visual effects category. The complaint? Movies like The Avengers, The Hunger Games, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy have scored big at the box office, grossing millions, sometimes billions worldwide, but the VFX industry that brought Asgard, Panem and Middle-earth to life doesn’t reap the same benefits as the studios.

The movement has spurred supporters to change their Facebook and Twitter profile photos to a green box, representing the green screen that would appear in movies were it not for VFX. Blogs have popped up that feature photos of what movie shots looked like before visual effects turned Andy Serkis into Gollum, before Mark Ruffalo was turned into the Hulk.

And more and more visual effects artists and their colleagues are speaking out about their financial woes and the changes to the business that they want to see. Last Thursday visual effects artists gathered for a meeting dubbed Pi Day VFX Town Hall (the name dually referencing Life of Pi and the March 14 holiday, as well as the artists’ frequent call for their “piece of the pi”). Panelists spoke to and took questions from a group of industry members at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Los Angeles, and VFX artists from around the world (including Vancouver, B.C., London, San Francisco, Austin, Tex. and New Zealand) connected via Google+ Hangout for the international discussion.

To help sort out the issues at hand in all this, EW talked to several Hollywood visual effects artists as well as with Roland Emmerich, director of visual effects-driven disaster movies Independence Day, GodzillaThe Day After Tomorrow, and 2012, as well as the upcoming White House Down. We also reached out to several other directors of effects-driven films and representatives for major Hollywood studios and for the Directors Guild of America. None returned EW’s request for comment for this article.

Just how bad are the financial woes of the visual effects industry?

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