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‘Resident Evil’ Gets Retribution at the Box Office

Continuing in the tradition of its three predecessors, Resident Evil: Retribution debuted in the top spot over the weekend, though thanks to the expected franchise erosion, it was the least attended of the five films. The mutant Alice once again drew most of her core fanbase out to this latest installment of the popular video game franchise. It opened to $21.1 million.

Since the series debuted a decade ago, the Resident Evil films have become less about the North American box office (the highest entry was 2010’s Resident Evil: Afterlife with a $60.1 million take) and all about the international market. Afterlife grossed nearly $300 million globally and this weekend, Retribution snagged $50 million for an early worldwide total of $71.1 million, all but guaranteeing a number six.

Showing less drawing power than its genre predecessors, Finding Nemo 3D took in $16.7 million, which is noticeably down from the $17.8 million of Beauty and the Beast 3D and the huge $30.7 million start of The Lion King 3D. 

There are a number of factors that likely lead to the slide in attendance for the aquatically themed family film. Firstly, the younger generation of kids today were not able to see Disney’s traditionally animated masterpieces in theaters unlike “Nemo,” which they likely all own on DVD already. Likewise, the thought of a 3D re-release was far more novel a year ago. The format is really beginning to grind moviegoers down at this point. 

The rest of the top 10 was unremarkable, though all films did post smaller declines. Current totals for some of the bigger summer leftovers include $80.4 million for The Expendables 2, $49.4 for ParaNorman, $107.8 for The Bourne Legacy and $441.1 million for The Dark Knight Rises. Lawless and last weekend’s flop The Words also held strong. 

The Top 10

1. Resident Evil: Retribution - $21.1M (weekend)…$21.1M (gross)
2. Finding Nemo 3D - $16.7M…$16.7M
3. The Possession - $5.8M…$41.3M
4. Lawless - $4.3M…$30.3M
5. The Expendables 2 - $3.1M…$80.4M
6. ParaNorman - $3.1M…$49.4M
7. The Words - $2.8M…$9.1M
8. The Bourne Legacy - $2.8M…$107.8M
9. The Odd Life of Timothy Green - $2.6M…$46.4M
10. The Campaign - $2.4M…$82.9M 

With summer finished and festival buzz still in the air thanks to TIFF, a handful of specialty releases performed anywhere from solid to spectacular. Debuting in just under 200 theaters, Richard Gere’s thriller Arbitrage grossed an excellent $2.0 million for a $10,163 per-theater average. While that average is not blistering, considering the number of locations (normally a film like this would start in far less and top out around this point if word of mouth was good) this is looking like a sleeper.

Furthermore, indie comedies Liberal Arts from How I Met Your Mother’s Josh Radnor and 10 Years starring Channing Tatum and Justin Long platformed in four and three theaters respectively and saw solid $7,000 per-theater averages. 

The big success story of the weekend came from Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, which claimed the record for the biggest opening weekend average with $736,311 per from just five locations (Moonrise Kingdom earlier this year previously held that honor). Early awards buzz and the fact that Anderson hasn’t made a film in five years meant a fervor amongst specialty audiences. The Master will go semi-wide next weekend so we’ll be able to see if it can carry on in the mainstream. 

Four films enter the market next weekend led by Trouble with the Curve starring Clint Eastwood in 3,100-plus theaters. Police thriller End of Watch and horror flick House at the End of the Street with Jennifer Lawrence will both start in 2,600 locations. Finally, Dredd will shoot ‘em up in 2,400. As is usually the case over weekends like this, expect one or two films to underperform or flop outright.


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