Box office is a good indicator of popularity.
Box office figures are not an indicator of the quality of a movie.
Some Box Office hits are mythically etched in stone as financial failures.
Some films are just complete financial disasters from the outset.
We also have the sleeper hits.
There are the Box Office underachievers that make huge profits from the home market.
Finally there are international hits.
It’s frequently, maybe even usually not the “profit center” for any movie. It’s a start, though. Box office starts to fill the “cost” bucket for the studio.
Rather, the bills tend to actually get covered after theatrical release, via licensing/DVD and so on. Essentially, forever. Every time Elysium gets itself onto HBO or TBS or into your hotel room set top box etc etc etc.
So everyone in the history of IMDb that is trying to tell us the magic box office number that turns a flop into a hit without counting up the actual studio revenue from Netflix and so on…is not actually hitting the nail on the head.
Box office is just more fun to track, because it looks more like a horserace. It’s fun for fans to follow the “competition.” But we tend to never actually see the final ongoing accounting ledgers mapped to a title.
Not to mention…flops are not “all movies that aren’t hits.” Just as hits are not “all movies that are not flops.”
The majority of movies are neither, in fact. But instead do moderate box office and land somewhere around break even, which is what the box office of Elysium indicates so far. It’ll go down as neither a hit nor a flop.
An IMDb troll will have you believe that every film has to make back three times it’s budget to count for marketing costs and how much studios and theatres actually take percentage wise. Nobody truly knows for sure apart from the accountants.