In 2154, Earth is overpopulated and polluted. Most of Earth's citizens live in poverty, on the edge of starvation, and with little technology and medical care. The rich and powerful live on Elysium — a gigantic space habitat located in Earth's orbit. Elysium is technologically advanced with some of its technology including Med-Bays: medical machines that can cure all diseases, reverse the aging process, and regenerate new body parts. A long-running feud exists between the wealthy residents of Elysium and the citizens of Earth, who want Elysian technology to cure their medical ailments.
Max Da Costa, a former car thief on parole, lives in the ruins of Los Angeles, and works at an assembly line for Armadyne Corp, a company run by John Carlyle, who had originally designed Elysium, and now supplies its weaponry, as well as the robots that police Earth. During an industrial accident at the factory, Max is trapped in a chamber, and is hit by a lethal dose of radiation. After being rescued, he is informed that he has five days to live before succumbing to radiation poisoning. Desperate for a cure, he and his friend Julio seek help from a human smuggler named Spider to get him to Elysium; his only chance for survival is using a Med-Bay.
Meanwhile, when a trio of ships full of illegal immigrants from Earth attempts to reach Elysium and its Med-Bays, Elysian Defense Secretary Delacourt orders a sleeper agent, Kruger, to destroy the shuttles. While two of the shuttles are shot down in space, killing everyone on board, the third shuttle makes it; but, once on Elysium, everyone on board is either killed or arrested and deported. Elysian President Patel reprimands her for her immoral and unsubtle methods and threatens to fire her unless she tones down her actions. Regarded as a loose cannon, Kruger is dismissed from service. Delacourt, vowing to protect Elysium and her own power, bargains with John Carlyle to create a program that can override Elysium's computer core to give her the Presidency. Carlyle stores the reboot program in his brain for transport to Elysium and encrypts it with a lethal protection program.
Spider agrees to get Max to Elysium if he can steal financial information from Carlyle. To assist him, Spider's men surgically attach a powered exoskeleton to Max. With Julio and a team of Spider's men, Max shoots down Carlyle's ship, and in the ensuing firefight with Carlyle's security droids, Carlyle is fatally wounded. Max downloads the program to his suit's neural implant but realizes that the encryption makes it unusable. Alerted to the data theft by Carlyle's medical implant, Delacourt secretly reinstates Kruger and deploys him to recover the program. In the ensuing shootout, Julio is killed and Max is wounded. He reaches out to his childhood friend Frey, now a nurse, whose daughter Matilda has leukemia. Frey begs Max to take Matilda to Elysium to be cured, but Max refuses in order to protect them. Soon after Max's leaving, Kruger, alongside two more mercenaries, Drake and Crowe, arrive and brutally interrogate Frey; and, when Kruger realizes Matilda is sick, they take Frey and Matilda prisoner aboard his ship, while his drones hunt for Max. Delacourt orders an airspace lockdown over Los Angeles to buy enough time to recover Carlyle's program.
Max delivers the program to Spider, who discovers that the program can be used to make all Earth residents Elysian citizens. However, because the lockdown makes it impossible to leave Earth, Max bargains with Kruger to be taken to Elysium, unaware that Kruger has already found out that Frey assisted Max and is holding her and Matilda hostage on the ship. As Kruger's ship leaves Earth, Spider and his men take advantage of the lockdown lift and also board a ship towards Elysium. Meanwhile, in Kruger's ship, a fight ensues and Kruger is grievously wounded by a grenade blast, which also disables the ship's engines. After Kruger's ship crashes on Elysium, Max is knocked out by Drake after a struggle while Frey runs to a house with an unconscious Matilda and puts her on a Med-Bay, only to find that it only works on Elysian citizens. At that moment, Crowe arrives and subdues Frey with a taser. Afterwards, Max, Frey and Matilda are taken to Delacourt, who orders the download of the program, despite the fact that it will kill Max. She then orders Frey and Matilda to be taken away by Crowe, who locks them in a supply room.
After being restored in a Med-Bay by Drake and Crowe, a defiant Kruger kills Delacourt after she chastises him for his recklessness. On Kruger's orders, Drake and Crowe exterminate the Elysian political officers in order to seize control for themselves. Meanwhile, having escaped his confinement, Max, knowing that Med-Bays only work for Elysian citizens, resolves to use Carlyle's program to give everyone on Earth Elysian citizenship. After being ordered by Kruger to kill Frey and Matilda, Crowe enters the supply room and prepares to sexually assault Frey first, but is killed by Max, who also kills Drake before freeing Frey and Matilda. Max then meets up with Spider, who has one of his members escort Frey and Matilda to a nearby Med-Bay. They then head for Elysium's core but are ambushed by Kruger, now equipped with a military-grade exoskeleton far superior to Max's. In the ensuing fight, Max manages to rip out Kruger's neural implant, rendering his suit immobile. However, Kruger tethers himself to Max's suit and arms a grenade with the intent of killing them both. Max rips off the tether and hurls Kruger over a ledge to his death.
Spider and Max reach Elysium's computer core, where Spider realizes that the program's activation will kill Max. Max personally activates the program, having spoken a last time with Frey via radio. As Max dies, Elysium's computer core reboots and registers every Earth resident as an Elysian citizen. President Patel arrives with security guards but the robots refuse to arrest Spider, whom they now recognize as a citizen. Matilda is cured by a Med-Bay and Elysium's computer dispatches a huge fleet of medical ships to begin treatment of the citizens of Earth.Matt Damon as Max Da Costa
Maxwell Perry Cotton as young Max
Jodie Foster as Defense Secretary Delacourt
Alice Braga as Frey Santiago
Valentina Giros as young Frey
Sharlto Copley as Agent C.M. Kruger
Diego Luna as Julio
Wagner Moura as Spider
William Fichtner as John Carlyle
Brandon Auret as Drake
Josh Blacker as Crowe
Faran Tahir as President Patel
Emma Tremblay as Matilda Santiago
Jose Pablo Cantillo as Sandro
Adrian Holmes as Manuel
Michael Mando as Rico
Carly Pope, Ona Grauer and Michael Shanks as CCB agents
Elysium was produced by Bill Block, Neill Blomkamp, and Simon Kinberg, and written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, the director and co-writer of District 9 (2009). It reunites Blomkamp with some of his District 9 crew, such as editor Julian Clarke, production designer Philip Ivey, cinematographer Trent Opaloch, and actor Sharlto Copley, playing one of the film's antagonists. Elysium is a co-production of Media Rights Capital and TriStar Pictures. Although the film's story is set in 2154, Blomkamp has stated that it is a comment on the contemporary human condition. "Everybody wants to ask me lately about my predictions for the future," the director has said, "No, no, no. This isn't science fiction. This is today. This is now." In January 2011, independent studio Media Rights Capital met with major studios to distribute Elysium, and Blomkamp shared art designs of his proposed science fiction film. The art designs won over the executives at Sony Pictures, who bought the film after making a more attractive offer than the other studios. With a production budget of $115 million, production began in July 2011. The film's Earth-bound scenes were shot in a dump in the poor Iztapalapa district on the outskirts of Mexico City, while the scenes for Elysium were shot in Vancouver and the wealthy Huixquilucan-Interlomas suburbs of Mexico City. Matt Damon shaved his head for the role of Max. The main role was first offered to Watkin Tudor Jones (aka Ninja), a South African rapper, who despite being a fan of District 9 (he has a D9 tattoo on his inner lip) did not take the role. The role was then offered to rapper Eminem, but he wanted the film to be shot in Detroit. That was not an option for the two studios, so Blomkamp moved on to Damon as his next choice. Futuristic designs were executed by Philip Ivey after long periods of researching and studying older science fiction films. Ivey has continuously cited Syd Mead as a substantial influence for the film. Weta Workshop created the exosuits for Damon and Copley's characters, while the complicated visual effects were handled primarily by Image Engine (who also collaborated on District 9) with additional work by Whiskytree, MPC, The Embassy and Industrial Light and Magic. Re-shoots took place through October 2012. The film's music score was composed by newcomer Ryan Amon and recorded at Abbey Road Studios with the Philharmonia Orchestra. The soundtrack was released on August 6, 2013.
In October 2013, a lawsuit was filed by Steve Wilson Briggs accusing the crew of copyright infringement when he wrote a copyrighted screenplay that was substantially similar to the movie. Several months before filing a lawsuit, he registered his screenplay to the U.S. Copyright Office to file an infringement complaint.
When the film was first announced, Sony intended to release it in late 2012. It later set an official release date for March 8, 2013, before moving one week earlier to prevent competing against Oz the Great and Powerful. In October 2012, Sony then announced they had pushed back the release date to August 9, 2013. In April 2013, Sony also announced that the film would be specifically reformatted for IMAX theaters. By that time, two theatrical trailers and a TV spot had already been showcased. On December 17, 2013, Elysium was released on DVD and Blu-ray discs in Region 1.
Elysium grossed $93 million in North America and $193 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $286.1 million, against a budget of $115 million. It made a net profit of $18 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film.
The film opened on August 9, 2013, and grossed $11.1 million on its opening day, ranking #1. It proceeded to rank #1 for the weekend, grossing $29.8 million.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 67% based on 229 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "After the heady sci-fi thrills of District 9, Elysium is a bit of a comedown for director Neill Blomkamp, but on its own terms, it delivers just often enough to satisfy." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 61 out of 100, based on 47 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
In February 2015, while promoting his newest film, Chappie, director Neil Blomkamp expressed some regrets regarding Elysium, commenting: "I feel like I fucked it up, I feel like ultimately the story is not the right story.. I still think the satirical idea of a ring, filled with rich people, hovering above the impoverished Earth, is an awesome idea. I love it so much, I almost want to go back and do it correctly. But I just think the script wasn’t… I just didn’t make a good enough film is ultimately what it is. I feel like I executed all of the stuff that could be executed, like costume and set design and special effects very well. But, ultimately, it was all resting on a somewhat not totally formed skeletal system, so the script just wasn’t there; the story wasn’t fully there."Art Directors Guild 2014
Golden Schmoes Awards 2013
Hollywood Film Awards 2013
IGN Summer Movie Awards 2013
Jupiter Award 2014
Leo Awards 2014
Satellite Awards 2013
Visual Effects Society Awards 2014
Ghosst - Performed by Lorn
Robot Eater - Performed by Gambit
The Pining Pt2 - Performed by Chris Clark (as Clark) with Martina Topley-Bird
We Got More (Kilon TeK Remix) - Performed by Brendan Angelides (as Eskmo)
Metropolis (Dan Le Sac Remix) - Performed by PRDCTV
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor 'Pathetique' - Adagio Cantabile - Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Suite For Solo Cello No.1 BWV 1007 - Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Kou Kou - Performed by Palms Down Percussion
Twitch (It Grows and It Grows) - Performed by Raffertie
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major - Rondo Vivace - Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Bio Techno - Written and performed by Audio Android
Loner - Performed by Burial
New World Disorder - Performed by Arkasia
Six Degrees - Performed by Kryptic Minds
Stjernekiggeri - Written and Performed by Mike Sheridan
Sierra Leone - Performed by Mt Eden
Elysium - Performed by Ryan Amon