Box Office Report: 'Elysium' Starts Off With $1.6 Million in Late Shows

9:00 AM PST 08/09/2013 by Pamela McClintock

The dystopian epic, starring Matt Damon and directed by Neill Blomkamp, began rolling out at 10 p.m. Thursday.

Hoping to improve Sony's fortunes, Neill Blomkamp's Elysium launched with $1.6 million in Thursday night shows. The studio is counting on the pic to open in the $35 million range, if not slightly better.

But the sci-fi adventure  -- with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster headlining --  faces plenty of competition. There are a total of four new films playing at the multiplex this weekend, including New Line's R-rated comedy We're the Millers, which opened Wednesday.

We're the Millers stayed at No. 1 on Thursday, grossing $4.7 million for a two-day total of $11.5 million.

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Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, likewise opening midweek, grossed $3.4 million to place No. 2 on Thursday. From 20th Century Fox, the sequel's two-day total was $8.9 million.

The fourth new film is Disney's final animated summer entry, Planes.

The ultimate winner will depend upon which film expands beyond its core audience. Sea of Monsters is appealing heavily to teens, according to prerelease tracking, but also needs to lure families away from Planes. Millers is tracking best among females but hopes to steal males away from Elysium.

Blomkamp became an overnight sensation when his District 9 opened to $37.4 million in mid-August 2009 on its way to earning $210.8 million worldwide. That film, however, cost only $30 million to produce. Sony paid $115 million for worldwide rights to Elysium, which was packaged, financed and produced by MRC. (It's not clear what the exact budget was.)

Elysium, rolling out at 10 p.m., came in ahead of 2 Guns, which took in $1.3 million last Thursday night on is way to a $27.1 million weekend.

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, We're the Millers stars Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts and Will Poulter as a fake family who smuggle marijuana out of Mexico. Ed Helms also stars in the film, which should benefit from an A- CinemaScore.

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The film is tracking better than fellow New Line comedy Horrible Bosses, which posted a three-day opening weekend gross of $28.3 million. Aniston and Sudeikis also starred in that pic.

Sea of Monsters, earning a B+ CinemaScore, is based on the best-selling YA series by Rick Riordan. The film, directed this time by Thor Freudenthal, grossed $5.5 million for a projected five-day debut north of $25 million.

Sea of Monsters cost $90 million to produce and returns Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson and Alexandra Daddario in the top roles. 

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