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Milla Jovovich RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION Box Office: Franchise's Worst Ever

Milla Jovovich Resident Evil: RetributionMilla Jovovich Resident Evil: Retribution, Pixar's Finding Nemo 3D underperform at the domestic box office

Starring Milla Jovovich, Resident Evil: Retribution topped the North American box office this weekend (Sept. 14-16), taking in $21.1 million (including $665,000 from Thursday midnight screenings) at 3,012 locations according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. That's about $2 million less than early Friday estimates indicated, and $5-6 million less than box office pundits had been expecting. (Image: Milla Jovovich Resident Evil: Retribution.)

Resident Evil: Retribution's domestic box office gross was also by far the weakest among all Resident Evil movies. Oh, but the original Resident Evil made only $17.7 million when it came out. Well, yes, but that was a decade ago. Adjusted for ticket-price increases, the first Resident Evil flick earned about $24.5 million in 2012 dollars. It's ludicrous to compare box office grosses of movies made years apart without taking inflation into consideration. And never mind the fact that unlike Resident Evil: Retribution, the original Resident Evil didn't have the benefit of 3D surcharges.

Besides gun-toting star Milla Jovovich, Resident Evil: Retribution also features Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Li Bingbing, Johann Urb, Shawn Roberts, Oded Fehr, Kevin Durand, Colin Salmon, Mika Nakashima, and Aryana Engineer. Paul W.S. Anderson directed. The production budget of the latest Resident Evil sequel has been pegged at $65 million.

Finding Nemo 3D disappoints

Another 3D release that underperformed was Disney / Pixar's Finding Nemo 3D, which raked in an estimated $17.5 million at 2,904 venues. On Friday, it was expected that Finding Nemo could have reached as high as $25m+ while early predictions had the animated movie grossing well north of $20 million.

To date, Finding Nemo has grossed $357.21 million at the domestic box office. Overseas, the 3D rerelease added $5 million – the studio's reported expense on the 3D conversion. That amount, of course, doesn't include marketing / distribution costs.

Directed by Andrew Stanton (now of John Carter infamy) and Toy Story 3's Lee Unkrich, Finding Nemo features the voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe, Barry Humphries, Allison Janney, Eric Bana, Elizabeth Perkins, and Geoffrey Rush.

Domestic box office malaise continues

If studio estimates are accurate, they're great when compared to last weekend's dismal openings: Bradley Cooper / Zoe Saldana's The Words with $4.75 million and Henry Cavill / Bruce Willis' The Cool Light of Day with $1.83 million. But they're highly disappointing when compared to Resident Evil: Afterlife, which debuted with $26.65 million in September 2010, or Beauty and the Beast 3D, which was had its 3D debut last January, collecting $17.75 million at 2,625 locations – or about 300 fewer sites than Finding Nemo 3D.

Beauty and the Beast 3D went on to gross a modest $47.61 million in North America and a highly disappointing $14.41 million overseas. Reportedly budgeted at $60m, Resident Evil: Afterlife brought in a weak $60.12 million domestically but a sensational $236.09 million overseas, where 3D action / disaster movies have been all the rage since James Cameron's Avatar. Resident Evil: Retribution was, in fact, made with international audiences in mind.

Much like their North American counterparts (five of the top ten movies on the 2012 domestic box office chart are movie sequels or reboots), international moviegoers crave high-quality, original entertainment. Such as Resident Evil: Retribution, which grossed a whopping $50 million on its first weekend in 50 markets.

Milla Jovovich Resident Evil: Retribution photo: Rafy / Screen Gems / Sony Pictures.

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