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.
Disney’s animated Planes took off in third place with $8.1 million. The $50 million film, which was upgraded from direct-to-DVD to theatrical release, is on pace for a $25 million weekend, and it could swap places with We’re the Millers by Sunday night.
Fourth place belonged to Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, which rode away with $4.9 million on Friday (and had already earned $8.9 million since its Wednesday debut). The $90 million Fox sequel will likely take in about $15.5 million over the weekend period — less than half of the $31.2 million that Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief started with on its first weekend in 2010. Last weekend’s champ, 2 Guns, fell 66 percent form last Friday to $3.4 million and may earn another $11 million this frame.
Check back to EW tomorrow for the full box office report.