'Chappie' comes in number one at the box office, but is slammed by critics

'Chappie' is the newest directorial effort by 'District 9' helmer Neill Blomkamp. Meanwhile, the 2014 film 'American Sniper' recently became the domestically highest-grossing film of 2014.

Stephanie Blomkamp/Columbia Pictures/AP
'Chappie' stars Dev Patel.

District 9” director Neill Blomkamp’s new movie “Chappie” was number one at the box office this past weekend, but the amount of money it grossed was lower than his past films and critics responded unfavorably to the new sci-fi movie. 

According to the Associated Press, “Chappie” took in more than $13 million this weekend but that was the lowest amount one of Blomkamp’s films has grossed on its opening weekend – “Elysium,” which came out in 2013, took in more than $29 million and 2009’s “District 9” grossed more than $37 million. 

In addition, critics were not won over by the film. The movie currently holds a score of 40 out of 100 on the review aggregator website Metacritic. USA Today critic Claudia Puig wrote in one of the more positive reviews that “Chappie is meant to inspire questions about what it means to be human, and at times it does. However, director and co-writer Neill Blomkamp doesn't explore its intriguing premise deeply enough…  The best thing is the title character… Blomkamp has loaded the film with caricatures, particularly the villainous sorts.” 

“Focus,” the movie about two con artists starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie, came in second this weekend at the box office, grossing $10 million, while the new movie “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” the sequel to 2012’s “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” came in third, taking in more than $8 million. 

Another of this weekend’s new releases, the Vince Vaughn comedy “Unfinished Business,” had an even lower score on Metacritic than “Chappie” and did even worse at the box office – it currently holds a score of 32 out of 100 and came in at tenth place. “Business” co-stars Dave Franco and Tom Wilkinson as Vaughn’s character’s co-workers. In the comedy, the trio embark on an adventure-filled business trip. 

However, there is one good box office story. The 2014 Oscar-nominated film “American Sniper,” which was first released this past December, recently became the top-grossing movie domestically of 2014. “Sniper” came in at number 11 this past weekend at the domestic box office, according to the box office company Rentrak, grossing more than $4 million. “Sniper” has now passed “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1."

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