Elysium struggles to reach the top of the US box office

Matt Damon in Elysium

Futuristic sci-fi Elysium, which cost $115 million to make, had to fight its way against smaller-budget pictures to reach the top of the US box office over its debut weekend, eking out $30.5 million.

Directed by Neill Blomkamp, who was behind the 2009 sci-fi hit District 9, the actioner follows a factory worker (Matt Damon) from a futuristic impoverished Los Angeles, as he tries to reach Elysium, a suspended heaven in space, which the elite have made their home, in order to receive medical help to save his life.

The second spot was claimed by the comedy We’re the Millers, which opened to $38 million over 5 days and drew $26.6 million over the weekend in the US. The film, which cost only $37 million to make, features Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston, as a drug dealer and a stripper who get entangled in the perilous web of the Mexican drug trade.

Animated movie Planes, which was initially destined for VOD release, surprised its producing studio Disney Toons with $22.5 million debut, which puts it in number 3 in the US. The spin-off from Disney-Pixar’s Cars franchise cost $50 million to produce.

Percy Jackson sequel Sea of Monsters opened in 4th place with $14.6 million over the weekend, and $23.5 million since its release on Wednesday. It was followed by last week’s US box office champion 2 Guns, which added $11.1 million over the weekend to reach a total gross of $48.5 million.

The top grossers in the international market were holdovers and US box office flops, with The Smurfs 2 leading the pack in No. 1 with $34.65 million, followed by Pacific Rim with $33 million and The Wolverine in 3rd place with $18 million, then The Lone Ranger with $14.5 million, placing it in the 4th spot.

Magic-themed thriller Now You See Me landed in the fifth spot, adding $13.3 million to reach an overseas gross of $140 million. Its impressive performance has already prompted the producing studio, Lionsgate to follow it with a sequel.