One way to get a handle on how a film will do at the box office its opening weekend is the Thursday midnight screenings. Early reports show that Elysium made $1.6 million, which Variety called “modest.” This is better than the outright box office disappointments “After Earth” and “Oblivion,” but nowhere near the blockbuster Sony had hoped for.
Two weeks ago, the box office disappointment “Pacific Rim” opened to $3.6 million on the Thursday night before its release.”Man of Steel” enjoyed a $9 million Thursday night haul.
Sony is predicting a $35 million opening, which is considered lowball for this kind of big-budget summer sci-fi tentpole.That kind of prediction shows a lack of faith in the film’s box office prospects and a studio terrified of bad publicity should they shoot higher and miss. In Sony’s defense, though, “Elysium” is not a franchise or sequel, and as of late original films have been faltering.
“Elysium” cost Sony in excess of $100 million to produce. With promotional costs, that is likely closer to $175 million. In order to break even, Sony will have to clear at least $400 million worldwide.
“Elysium” received okay reviews, but the film’s overt left-wing (and some would say, hypocritical) political message has already made it a punch-line among conservatives — who make up about half the audience Sony had hoped would buy tickets.
Sony has already suffered two flops this summer, Will Smith’s “After Earth,” and the left-wing “White House Down.”
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC