After a successful opening Friday, horror/action sequel Resident Evil: Retribution is headed for an easy weekend win — the fourth straight number one opening for a Resident Evil film.
Sony’s $65 million Retribution grossed $8.4 million on Friday, 22 percent less than the $10.7 million opening Friday of 2010′s Resident Evil: Afterlife, which ultimately found $26.7 million over its first three days. Retribution‘s gross puts it on pace for a $22 million weekend, which would be smaller than both 2006′s Resident Evil: Extinction ($23.7 million) and 2004′s Resident Evil: Apocalypse ($23.0 million), but ahead of franchise launchpad Resident Evil, which started with $17.7 million in 2002.
Disney’s 3-D re-release Finding Nemo swam into second place with $5.1 million, and it may earn about $17-18 million by Sunday night. Though expectations for the family film were substantially higher (re-released versions of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast earned $8.9 million and $5.6 million, respectively, on their opening Fridays), the recent glut of re-released titles like Titanic, and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace may have diluted interest. Still, considering the Mouse House spent less than $5 million converting the film into 3-D, Finding Nemo‘s weekend should prove a successful one.
In third place, Lionsgate’s demonic effort The Possession took in another $1.8 million, which may yield a weekend just short of $6 million. The $14 million horror film will pass the $40 million mark this frame.
Rounding out the Top 5 were two other holdovers, Lawless and The Words, which earned $1.4 million and $930,000 on Friday, respectively. Lawless may take in about $4.5 million over the weekend. The Words will have to settle for $3 million.
1. Resident Evil: Retribution – $8.4 million
2. Finding Nemo – $5.1 million
3. The Possession – $1.8 million
4. Lawless – $1.4 million
5. The Words – $930,000
Further down the chart. Rocky Mountain Pictures’ Chuck Norris-approved newcomer Last Ounce of Courage found $690,000 out of 1,407 theaters. That was enough to give the film, which is targeting faith-based audiences, a tenth place start, one spot behind the indie studio’s other release 2016: Obama’s America. It’s a toss-up whether Rocky Mountain’s strategy of pushing the film into immediate wide release was strong. Courage may find about $2 million over three days.
And making a huge splash in limited release was Paul Thomas Anderson’s (not to be confused with Resident Evil director Paul W.S. Anderson) The Master, which earned a jaw-dropping $242,127 from just 5 theaters in New York and Los Angeles. That gave The Master, a Weinstein release, a one-day per theater average of $48,425. It may take in a stunning $700,000 by the end of the weekend. Ya hear that, Academy?
Check back tomorrow for the full weekend report, and follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute box office updates and analysis.