Box Office Guru Wrapup: Resident Evil Sets New Series High Score at #1
Weekend box office was anything but undead.Resident Evil: Extinction which bowed at number one while those in search of a laugh spent their dollars on the romantic comedy Good Luck Chuck. Both opened with averages of more than $5,000 each and helped to fill the entire Top Five with R-rated fare as the overall marketplace bounced back after recent sluggish weeks.
Gamers still love to go to the movies. That's what Sony learned with its estimated $24M opening weekend for Resident Evil: Extinction, the third and supposedly final chapter of the popular movie franchise starring Milla Jovovich. If the estimate holds, it will give the latest chapter the best debut of the series. 2002's original premiered with $17.7M while its 2004 sequel Resident Evil: Apocalypse bowed to $23M. Final grosses reached $39.5M and $50.7M, respectively. In a world where third parts rarely enjoy the biggest opening in a series (The Bourne Ultimatum is the only other of this year's seven threequels to do so), Extinction's performance is noteworthy in that it generated its strong gross from 456 fewer theaters than Apocalyspe had three years ago.
Dane Cook and Jessica Alba made a popular couple as their new romantic comedy Good Luck Chuck opened in second place with a solid $14M, according to estimates. Lionsgate released the R-rated pic in 2,612 locations and averaged a commendable $5,360 per site. Critics trashed the film but moviegoers paid no attention. The debut was 23% better than the $11.4M opening of Cook's last comedy, Employee of the Month, which the distributor bowed last October. In Chuck, the actor plays a man who women find lucky since all his ex-girlfriends go on to get engaged after dating him.
Jodie Foster dropped two spots with her vigilante thriller The Brave One which fell 45% to an estimated $7.4M in its second weekend. The Warner Bros. release has grossed $25.1M in ten days and should reach the vicinity of $44M, or a little less than half of the grosses of the last starring roles for the actress - $89.7M for Flightplan and $95.3M for Panic Room. The Lionsgate Western 3:10 to Yuma continued to have good legs easing only 29% to an estimated $6.4M for a 17-day cume of $37.9M.
The mob thriller Eastern Promises starring Viggo Mortensen expanded into nationwide release and jumped into fifth place with an estimated $5.7M. Widening from 15 to 1,404 venues, the Focus title averaged a respectable $4,093 per site. Eastern did not show the same strength as director David Cronenberg's last film A History of Violence (another Viggo pic that opened limited in September) which grossed $8.1M and averaged $6,047 when it expanded nationally in its sophomore frame two years ago. Cume for Eastern stands at $6.5M.
Stumbling into sixth place was the new Amanda Bynes teen comedy Sydney White which bowed to an estimated $5.3M from 2,104 locations for a weak $2,530 average. The Universal release sets the classic Snow White story on a modern-day college campus and attracted half the business of Bynes' last comedy She's the Man (an adaptation of Shakespeare's The Twelfth Night) which opened to $10.7M in March 2006. Sydney skewed to a young female audience, as expected.