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Weekend Box Office Top Ten: 'Elysium' Gives Sony First Number One Film Since 'Evil Dead'

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood August 10, 2013 at 5:03PM

Four new films opened this August weekend to overall decent if not sensational results, and several long-running performers yielded a top 10 slightly ahead of last year ($149 million vs. $129 million), bringing the year-to-date total about even with 2012. But four new films before marketing boasted production costs of $300 million; budgets increased dramatically. So far the summer has yielded six flops. Sony's "Elysium" led the way at the weekend box office with $30 million, which was slightly below expectations for acclaimed young "District 9" director Neill Blomkamp.

What comes next: This will face competition from the even raunchier "Kick Ass 2" next weekend.


3. Planes (Buena Vista) NEW - Cinemascore: A-; Criticwire: C; Metacritic: 39

$22,525,000 in 3,702 theaters; PSA: $6,085; Cumulative: $22,525,000

Disney is noting that this is the highest opening ever (in unadjusted figures) for an animated film released in August, which is an accomplishment, more so for a film originally intended for the still-lucrative direct-to-DVD market for kids. This DisneyToons production switched to theatrical release after a strong Comic-Con reaction (and additional post-production work likely helped add to the $50 million production cost, inexpensive for animation but high for something with no theatrical component intended).

But the numbers indicate a lesser grossing cartoon entry. August -- with some schools already back in business -- is not prime time for animation. More significantly, even with the potential Friday business reduced by schools to some extent, Saturday's gross, which even in summertime normally jumps for kids' films, was basically even with Friday. Even with a strong initial Cinemascore, negative reviews (similar to "The Smurfs 2" last week) had some impact.

The gross is in the same range as the last two somewhat disappointing domestic animated openings. "Smurfs 2" did $17.5 million and "Turbo" $21.3 million (both were Wednesday openings, diluting those numbers somewhat).

What comes next: This still looks like a worthwhile gamble for Disney, with DVD sales and international still ahead, but will end up as one of the lowest recent total domestic animated grossers.

4. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Twentieth Century Fox) NEW - Cinemascore: B+; Criticwire: C; Metacritic: 39

$14,600,000 in 3,031 theaters: PSA: $4,817; Cumulative: $23,457,000

This falls way below the earlier "Percy Jackson" film opening ($31 million), with the five-day gross this time only 75% as good, and the weekend less than half. With a production budget of $90 million (co-financed by the Seelig Group) and no guarantee of a sustained performance, this could wind up a disappointment.

Director Thor Freudenthal provided Fox with two lower-budget family successes with "Hotel for Dogs" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," replacing original director Chris Columbus (who remained a producer) this time around.  It again starred Logan Lerman -- who had a more specialized success last fall with "Perks of Being a Wallflower"

What comes next: The first entry did 60% of its business internationally. This time around, they'll need to be a higher portion to do what is needed.

5. 2 Guns (Universal) Week 2 - Last weekend: #1

$11,100,000 (-59%) in 3,028 theaters (+3); PSA: $3,675; Cumulative: $48,500,000

A not good hold after an average opening last week for this Denzel Washington-starring bank robbery actioner, suggesting like other leading male actors this summer he is not always surefire (co-star Mark Wahlberg is also inconsistent). Falling to #5 in its second weekend is not a positive sign either.

What comes next: Most of the world has yet to open, so this under-$100 million production still has a chance to break even.

6. The Smurfs 2 (Sony) Week 2 - Last weekend: #3

$9,500,000 (-46%) in 3,867 theaters (+1); PSA: $3,675  Cumulative: $46,600,000

Animated films tend to hold better their second weekends than average, so the 46% drop, coming on the heels of a disappointing opening, is not impressive. What is keeping this from being a total failure (the production budget was $105 million) is a much stronger foreign take, which could get this up to around $300 million or more worldwide total before it's through. It is already at $156 million combined.

What comes next: The series could continue, but it needs new elements to stay afloat.

7. The Wolverine (20th Century-Fox) Week 3 - Last weekend: #2

$8,000,000 (-62%) in 2,867 theaters (-1,057); PSA: $2,790; Cumulative: $111,986,000

A bad falloff, both in position and percentage drop in the third week for this latest "X Men"-related entry, which will end up in the black because of a better performance internationally (with Japan and China still to open, this should get to around $400 million worldwide).

What comes next: The worry for Fox has to be that, despite decent reviews and audience response, this has taken a steep nosedive, not the best result for a franchise they hope to maintain for several more films.

8. The Conjuring (Warner Bros.) Week 4 - Last weekend: #4

$6,700,000 (-38%) in 2,650 theaters (-455); PSA: $2,528; Cumulative: $120,745,000

Still holding in well, particularly for its genre, with strongly favorable audience reaction continuing to add to the totals for a film already (and atypically) likely in profit from purely domestic results.

What comes next: Most of the international openings still lie ahead.

9. Despicable Me 2 (Universal) Week 6 - Last weekend: #5

$5,700,000 (-43%) in 2,395 theaters (-812); PSA: $2,400; Cumulative: $338,300,000

Now approaching $750 million worldwide, and still decent at home even with two other more recent animated release, this will end up having sold about as many tickets in the U.S. as the year's #1 grossing film "Iron Man 3" (with the large number of kids' price tickets holding down the total gross).

What comes next: Expect a despicable future, as this is clearly a franchise for Universal.

10. Grown Ups 2 (Sony) Week 5 - Last weekend: #6

$3,700,000 (-53%) in 2,192 theaters (-973); PSA: $1,760; Cumulative: $123,800,000

Though this is going to end up below the impressive $160 million the first go-round amassed, this is still a solid number for Sony and Adam Sandler & company.

What comes next: International so far has been lagging behind the previous film, so this at this point to be a more modest money maker in comparison, with the increased budget ($80 million) also a factor.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Elysium, Matt Damon, Neill Blomkamp, Blue Jasmine

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.