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Whisper Numbers: Will Planes reach Elysium?

As the summer movie season winds down, four new releases crowd into theaters this weekend led by the summer’s last Hollywood blockbuster hopeful. Four years after the low-budget District 9 opened to $37.4 million in 2009, director Neil Blomkamp [NBLOM] is back with his second feature Elysium [ELYSM]. The big-budget sci-fi film stars Matt Damon [MDAMO] as a dying man in a dystopian future where the wealthy 1% lives in a pristine space station above the poor 99% masses on a ruined earth. Original sci-fi films have taken a hit this year with the mild performances of Oblivion, After Earth and Pacific Rim.  Mixed reviews have put a damper on the Elysium buzz, but the goodwill from District 9 should still carry some cache from moviegoers. The R-rated Elysium could occupy $35 million from 3284 locations.

Originally a straight to home video from Walt Disney Animation, Planes [PLANE] fly into a marketplace crowded with family fares. Since it’s not produced by Pixar, Disney marketing has heavily emphasized “From above the world of Cars” to connect with that money-making franchise. Most parents will not notice the difference, though they do see a obvious cash grab when they see Planes. Cars 2 opened to $66 million two years ago, and Planes may at best to do half that. Swooping into 3702 theaters, Planes could land about $31 million.

Jennifer Aniston [JANIS] and Jason Sudeikis [JSUDE] star in the R-rated comedy We’re the Millers [WEMIL] about a fake family on a pretend vacation in order to smuggle marijuana from Mexico in a RV.  The trailers have been amusing and effective in conveying the original premise, while Aniston stripping down to her underwear should sell a few tickets. New Line got a head-start on the weekend with a Wednesday opening that netted $6.7 million. Crossing the border in 3260 theaters, We’re the Millers could bring back $21 million over the weekend.

Fox has finally produced Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters [PJAC2], the second chapter in its teen fantasy series. The first film Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief opened at $32.3 million, but that was three and a half years ago, an eternity compared to the spacing in Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga. Audiences may be fatigued by the glut of fantasy films based on young adult book series, leaving only the die-hard fans who haven’t out-grown the original. The PG-rated sequel opened on Wednesday earning $5.4 million. Over the weekend, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters could secure $18 million from 2907 theaters.

Rounding out the top five, 2 Guns [2GUNS] should hold a bit better than 50% in its second weekend and draw another $14 million.

That’s the whisper from the virtual trading floor.


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By Box Office Whisperer on Thursday, August 8, 2013 @ 04:38 PM 2430 views

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