In yet another underwhelming weekend at the box office, "Resident Evil: Retribution" landed atop the charts with an estimated $21 million. Also hitting theaters this weekend was the 3D rerelease of "Finding Nemo," but the Disney distribution struggled to find family audiences and finished with a disappointing $17.50 million. "The Master" and "Arbitrage" also got launched over the weekend and put up strong numbers for limited releases, though it wasn't quite enough to squeeze into the top ten.
Getting released at 3,012 theaters, "Resident Evil: Retribution" was looking to build off of the success of the last installment in the franchise, 2010's "Afterlife." Though the "Resident Evil" franchise has been fairly popular since it first reached theaters a decade ago, it wasn't until "Afterlife" that it became a smash international hit, putting up $60 million in the U.S. and nearly $300 million worldwide. Released around the same time in September, "Afterlife" hauled in a franchise-best $26.7 million thanks to a complete lack of competition.
While "Afterlife" put up big domestic box office numbers for an early September release, "Retribution" doesn't seem to have quite the same level of fan commitment. Adjusted for inflation, each of the last three in the series would have earned at least $27 million, though "Retribution" struggled to get to $21 million.
But even with declining domestic numbers, the "Resident Evil" franchise still has plenty of support outside of the U.S. "Retribution" has already brought in an estimated $50 million in foreign theaters, boosting its worldwide total to $71.10 million at the end of its first weekend. Though it's unlikely "Retribution" will earn close to the $296 million that "Afterlife" earned worldwide a couple years ago, a solid worldwide total in the $150-$200 million range seems likely for the Sony/Screen Gems release.
Aiming at a much different audience over the weekend was G-rated "Finding Nemo." Getting the full 3D treatment, "Finding Nemo" managed a decent but unspectacular opening of $17.50 million on a per theater average just over $6,000. Though Disney/Pixar would have liked to see similar numbers as the "Lion King" 3D rerelease, which brought in $94 million in the U.S. alone, "Finding Nemo 3D" seems to be tracking for a domestic haul closer to $50 million. Animation studio Pixar will next launch the 3D version of "Monsters, Inc." this January to setup the release of "Monsters University," the highly anticipated sequel that should be one of the biggest hits of next summer.
Also hitting theaters for the first time over the weekend was art house flick "The Master," director Paul Thomas Anderson's follow-up to his critically lauded "There Will Be Blood." In a limited release of just five total theaters, "The Master" earned an outstanding $146,000 per site for a total of $730,000, putting it in great position as it expands to most cities next weekend. Though Anderson's films have never had much mainstream appeal, "The Master" should find a decent audience next weekend and it could end up being a steady commercial success if it can gather some awards season buzz.
Another film looking for art house audiences this weekend was "Arbitrage," an R-rated drama starring Richard Gere. "Arbitrage" hit 197 theaters over the weekend and racked up a solid $2.07 million in revenue, suggesting that it could expand to more theaters in the coming weeks. Though there will be plenty of competition for adult audiences over the next few weeks, "Arbitrage" has some strong critical support and should be able to do well with its target demographic into October.
Next weekend, action remake "Dredd" should be one of the top new releases of the weekend followed by Clint Eastwood-starring drama "Trouble with the Curve." Jake Gyllenhaal's action drama "End of Watch" also will hit theaters as will "House at the End of the Street," a thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue.
Early Studio Box Office Estimates for 9/14/12 - 9/16/12 (in millions), [RTT Prediction]:
1. Resident Evil: Retribution (Sony/Screen Gems): $21 [$24]
2. Finding Nemo 3D (Disney): $17.50 [$30]
3. The Possession (Lionsgate): $5.80 [$4.8]
4. Lawless (Weinstein): $4.22 [$3.3]
5. ParaNorman (Focus): $3.04 [$1.8]
6. The Expendables 2 (Lionsgate): $3.03 [$2.4]
7. The Words (CBS Films): $2.88 [$2.3]
8. The Bourne Legacy (Universal): $2.88 [$2.1]
9. The Odd Life of Timothy Green (Disney): $2.51 [N/A]
10. The Campaign (Warner Brothers): $2.41 [N/A]
by RTT Staff Writer
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