Resident Evil: Afterlife was the only new game in town and easily dominated the weekend box office, logging the seventh highest-grossing September opening ever. Not much else was going on below it, and overall business was typically quiet for the post-Labor Day session and down 11 percent from the same weekend last year, when there were four new releases, led by I Can Do Bad All By Myself.
Striking on approximately 4,700 screens at 3,203 locations, Resident Evil: Afterlife racked up $26.7 million. That was the highest-grossing opening weekend yet for the Resident Evil franchise, topping the $23.7 million of the last movie, Resident Evil: Extinction.
However, Afterlife scored the least-attended debut of the series, considering the movie's premium for the 3D illusion as well as general ticket price inflation. A whopping 84 percent of Afterlife's business was from 3D presentations. The 2,062 venues showing the picture in regular 3D accounted for 74 percent, while the 141 IMAX 3D venues made up ten percent.
Still, to have the fourth movie be in the same league as its predecessors speaks to the franchise's consistent appeal, and the marketing mostly relied on that appeal and 3D to sell the picture, offering nothing new in terms of story, character, action or visuals. Sony's exit polling indicated that 58 percent of the audience was male, while 49 percent was under 25 years old.
Takers took a standard hit (down 48 percent), which was small enough for the heist thriller to move up to second place. It made $5.7 million and has hauled in $47.7 million in 17 days, edging out Dead Presidents in estimated attendance.
Machete bled 62 percent to $4.3 million, holding about as well as its source movie, Grindhouse, but has grossed more through the same point with $20.9 million in ten days. Its decline was also in line with Gamer and Crank: High Voltage.
Dipping 45 percent to an estimated $3.8 million, Going the Distance held the best among last weekend's new releases, but that's little consolation considering its puny $14 million tally in ten days.
Meanwhile, The Other Guys and Inception continued to hold steady. Other Guys was off 39 percent to $3.3 million, lifting its total to $112.4 million in 38 days. Inception descended 39 percent to $2.8 million, increasing its sum to a mighty $282.2 million in 59 days. In the process, it surpassed the final gross of The Matrix Reloaded, although it doesn't stand a chance at cracking that picture's attendance level.