After the disappointing past couple of weekends, the box office really needs a jolt, and it got a mild revival this weekend in the form of two new releases that targeted very different audiences.
‘Resident Evil: Retribution’ opened with a $21.1 million weekend, which is right on track for the hit franchise. The movie has the highest production budget of any of the five ‘Resident’ films–$65 million—but after ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife’ pulled in $236 million worldwide, Sony was probably willing to splash out a little extra for another solid 3D project.
After the sluggish offerings of the past couple of weekends, audiences were apparently more than happy to line up for Milla Jovovich and the return of franchise favorites Michelle Rodriguez and Sienna Guillory. The next few weeks will bring a few competing films, including ‘Dredd’, ‘Looper’, and ‘Taken 2’, and all four of the previous ‘Resident’ films had a second weekend drop of about 62%; so it’ll be interesting to see how ‘Retribution’ does over the rest of the month.
In second place, and targeting a very different demographic, ‘Finding Nemo (3D)’ opened with $17.5 million. The novelty of re-releasing classic animated movies in 3D kicked off last year with ‘The Lion King’, but given the low numbers of subsequent re-releases, it’s hard to say whether anyone is still interested. ‘Nemo’ also hit theatres less than a decade ago, which likely hampered the film’s ability to draw a new theatre crowd. Still, considering that is the most-viewed Pixar film to date, it will likely have a modestly successful run in its 3D state.
Last week’s number one film ‘The Possession’ slipped to third place with $5.8 million, while last week’s number two film ‘Lawless’ dropped to fourth place with $4.2 million. ‘ParaNorman’ remained in fifth place with $3 million.
A handful of small new releases barely cracked the charts this week with their extremely limited openings. One, however, is notable: Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master’, which debuted at number eighteen with $730,000. That doesn’t sound like anything until you remember that this is Anderson’s follow-up to ‘There Will Be Blood’, which was his highest-grossing film ($40.2 million) and landed one of the best-ever per-theatre averages when it grossed $95,370 at two venues.
‘The Master’ landed in five theatres with a ton of Internet buzz, strong reviews, and a bit of controversy, and managed to top ‘Blood’ with a per-theatre average of $146,000. Compare that to ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’s per-theatre average of $7,005, and suddenly, it looks like ‘The Master’ is one to watch for.