Sci-fi ‘Elysium’ opens No. 1

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Sci-fi ‘Elysium’ opens No. 1

NEW YORK- The dystopian science fiction thriller “Elysium” topped the weekend box office with $30.5 million, according to studio estimates Sunday, enough to beat three newcomers, including the Jennifer Aniston comedy “We’re the Millers.”

Sony’s “Elysium,” directed by Neill Blomkamp and starring Matt Damon, opened in line with expectations, but still debuted somewhat modestly for a $115 million action film. It couldn’t match Blomkamp’s previous film, the $30 million “District 9,” which opened with $37.4 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 over the weekend, a strong $38 million since opening Tuesday night); Disney’s “Cars” spinoff “Planes” ($22.5 million) and Fox’s fantasy sequel “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” ($14.6 million over the weekend, $23.5 million since Wednesday).

“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 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 overseas. AP
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