UK Box Office

ELYSIUM

With £3.13m, Elysium, starring Matt Damon, proved a convincing winner at the UK box office, more than doubling the take of second-placedWe’re the Millers. That’s at first glance, mind you. Neill Blomkamp’s dystopian sci-fi achieved its commanding lead in no small part due to £974,000 in Thursday previews, without which its weekend gross would be £2.15m, as against £1.51m for Millers. Blomkamp’s previous film District 9 debuted with £2.29m, a sum achieved without the benefit of previews. Given that District 9 was a feature debut and lacked star actors, you might have expected Elysium to deliver a stronger opening, but in fact it’s behind the earlier film on a Friday-to-Sunday comparison.

Outside the Bourne films, Damon is commercially patchy as an action star. Green Zone kicked off in March 2010 with £2.09m including £523,000 in previews. Virus thriller Contagion entered the cinema bloodstream in October 2011 with £1.46m.

The runner-up

Although beaten into second place by Elysium, Warner Bros should be reasonably happy with the opening number for We’re the Millers. True, Horrible Bosses, featuring Millers stars Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston, debuted with £2.08m back in July 2011, but arguably undesirable employers represents a more appealing and relatable premise than a fake family smuggling marijuana. The earlier film also benefited from a stronger overall cast including Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jason Bateman. Millers opened more or less level with this summer’s Hollywood comedy The Heat, at least if previews are stripped out of the weekend figure. The Melissa McCarthy/Sandra Bullock mismatched-cops vehicle debuted earlier this month with £1.59m plus £910,000 in previews.

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