Milla Jovovich Resident Evil: Retribution, Pixar's Finding Nemo 3D underperform at the domestic box office
Sept. 16, '12, update: 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 (see further below), 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.
Sept. 15 p.m.
The Master to break live-action weekend box office record?
Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, the “Scientology movie” inspired by the life of L. Ron Hubbard, and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams, opened with an estimated $242,000 at five theaters (three in New York, two in Los Angeles) according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. (The Hollywood Reporter provides a more exact figure, $242,127, which certainly seems like the film's actual Friday box office take.) That's reportedly a record-breaking single-day figure for a live-action movie in “platform release” – in terms of per-theater average: $48,425. (More on that below. Photo: The Master Joaquin Phoenix, Madisen Beaty.)
Thanks to its excellent Friday opening, the Weinstein Company-distributed The Master is also expected to break the per-theater average opening-weekend box office record of Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, which debuted last spring. At four theaters, Anderson's acclaimed Cannes Film Festival entry averaged $43,082 per site on Friday and $130,749 on its first weekend out. The Master could reach up to $140-150k.
So, will The Master boast the most successful domestic opening weekend ever for a live-action film (in terms of per-theater averages)? Well, if you ignore Kevin Smith's Red State, which took in $204,230 at one location last year and if you live on a planet where inflation doesn't exist, the answer is: Quite likely, yes. But as long as you live on Planet Earth, where inflation is a reality, even if you choose to ignore Red State's “one-theater average” the answer is: Probably not.
Box office: The Master vs. Dreamgirls, Evita, Edward Scissorhands
Adjusted to 2012 dollars, the per-theater average of Bill Condon's 2006 musical Dreamgirls would be approximately $155,000 at three sites. (Note: Dreamgirls had the advantage of $25 tickets for reserved seats.) For its part, Alan Parker / Madonna's Evita raked in an adjusted $177,000 in 1996 at two locations. Also potentially ahead of The Master would be Tim Burton / Johnny Depp's Edward Scissorhands, with $151,000 at two sites.
Now, bear in mind that we're comparing apples and pineapples here. As I've explained in a post about Moonrise Kingdom's box office performance, when comparing platform releases, the addition or exclusion of one single theater not only can but does dramatically affect per-theater averages. When you're talking about four theaters, if you add a fifth, that represents a 25 percent increase in venues. Minus one would be a 25 percent decrease. Remember: all things being equal, the fewer the number of theaters, the higher the per-theater average should be.
The Master photo, Joaquin Phoenix, Madisen Beaty (not Amy Adams, as previously stated): The Weinstein Company.
Sept. 15 early a.m.
Resident Evil: Retribution, Finding Nemo top modest end-of-summer weekend
Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil: Retribution, starring Milla Jovovich, is expected to top the North American box office on Friday, grossing somewhere around $9 million (including $665,000 from Thursday midnight screenings) at 3,012 locations according to early, rough estimates found at Deadline.com. Resident Evil: Retribution's weekend gross is expected to hover around $23 million. (Image: Milla Jovovich Resident Evil: Retribution.)
The Disney / Pixar rerelease Finding Nemo, now in 3D (which means a surcharge), took in an estimated $5.3 million (down from an earlier $6 million estimate) at 2,904 locations on Friday. Initially, it was expected that with $25 million by Sunday evening Finding Nemo would top the North American weekend box office chart. Deadline, however, has lowered the film's expected gross by $7 million – down to $18 million or whereabouts.
Domestic box office doldrums not quite over?
How good are those figures? If accurate, they're excellent when compared to last weekend's dismal openings: Bradley Cooper / Zoe Saldana's The Words ($4.75m) and Henry Cavill / Bruce Willis' The Cool Light of Day ($1.83m). They're at best acceptable when compared to, say, Resident Evil: Afterlife, which opened with $26.65 million two years ago, or Beauty and the Beast 3D, which was rereleased (or rather, had its 3D debut) last January, collecting $17.75 million.
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 $60.12 million domestically and an astounding $236.09 million overseas, where 3D action / disaster movies have been all the rage since Avatar. That's likely where Resident Evil: Retribution will earn most of its cash.
Milla Jovovich Resident Evil: Retribution photo: Rafy / Screen Gems / Sony Pictures.