Matt Damon thriller 'Elysium' flies above 'Planes' at box office

Sun Aug 11, 2013 3:53pm EDT
 
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By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Matt Damon's futuristic thriller "Elysium," the story of an elite space outpost locked in battle with poor invaders from a ruined Earth, won a crowded box-office race among four new films at U.S. and Canadian theaters over the weekend.

"Elysium" grabbed $30.5 million in domestic ticket sales from Friday through Sunday, according to estimates from distributor Sony Pictures. The movie added $10.9 million from 17 international markets, for a combined global opening of $41.4 million.

"Elysium" edged the Jennifer Aniston comedy "We're the Millers," which took in $26.6 million, while "Planes," a spin-off of Walt Disney Co's Pixar franchise "Cars," took off with $22.5 million at domestic theaters, finishing in third.

The other newcomer, fantasy movie "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters," landed fourth with $14.6 million.

Effects-filled action movie "Elysium" came in at the low end of pre-weekend forecasts for a debut in the low $30 million range. The movie portrays two distinct worlds in the year 2154 - a diseased and overpopulated Earth and Elysium, a space station where the elite live.

Damon stars as Max, a blue-collar worker with a criminal past who needs medicine from Elysium to survive. Jodie Foster plays the Elysium defense secretary bent on keeping Max and all other illegal immigrants out.

The $115 million production was produced and financed by Media Rights Capital. The movie was distributed by Sony, which stumbled earlier this summer with big-budget releases "After Earth" and "White House Down," although its other summer releases have fared better.

"We're feeling very good about our results," said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures' president of worldwide distribution, noting that "there were a lot of movies opening this week."   Continued...

 
Cast members Diego Luna (L), Jodie Foster and Matt Damon pose at the world premiere of "Elysium" in Los Angeles, California August 7, 2013. The movie opens in the U.S. on August 9. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni