Sony kept its hot streak at the box office going with the very solid debut of its Resident Evil: Afterlife. The fourth installment of the video game based franchise opened with $26.65 million, which was in line with expectations. Resident Evil: Afterlife registered the largest debut of the four Resident Evil films (toping the $23.68 million start of 2007's Resident Evil: Extinction) and the seventh largest opening weekend ever for the month of September (without adjusting for ticket price inflation). The Screen Gems release was obviously helped in a big way by playing in over 2000 3D locations (which included 141 IMAX locations). Resident Evil: Afterlife dominated the empty marketplace this weekend, as it was responsible for 43 percent of total grosses for the weekend's top ten films.
Resident Evil: Afterlife started even stronger internationally. The film grossed $45.5 million overseas, with key grosses including $15.5 million in Japan, $9.5 million in Russian and $3.4 million in Spain. That places the film's worldwide start at $72.2 million.
Sony/ Screen Gems also claimed second place, as Takers experienced a respectable post-Labor Day weekend hold. The PG-13 crime film grossed $5.676 million, which represented a 48 percent fall from last weekend's three-day frame. Takers was up one spot from last weekend's third place finish and outpaced The American by an extremely slim $1,371 over the weekend. After exceeding opening weekend expectations in late August, Takers has continued to hold its own each of the past two weekends. Takers has grossed a significantly better than expected $47.68 million through 17 days and will soon surpass the $49.12 million total gross of 2007's This Christmas.
After opening on the very high end of expectations last weekend, The American lost major momentum in its second weekend of release. The George Clooney vehicle from Focus was down 57 percent and two spots to place in third with $5.674 million. That places the 12-day total for the film at $28.11 million. The American is running 17 percent ahead of the pace of last year's The Men who Stare at Goats (which fell 54 percent in its second weekend). With Warner's The Town to provide new direct competition starting on Friday, The American could very well experience another sharp decline next weekend.
Holding up even worse was Fox's Machete. The Robert Rodriguez directed action film grossed $4.29 million, which was down 62 percent from the previous three-day frame. Machete had displayed respectable holding power during its first few days of release, but has followed that up with very poor holds since Wednesday. With a ten-day gross of $20.92 million, Machete is currently running 6 percent ahead of 2007's Grindhouse (which fell 63 percent during its second weekend).
Warner's Going the Distance rounded out the weekend's top five with $3.79 million. While the R-rated romantic comedy was down a solid 45 percent from last weekend, the film's performance has still been a rather lackluster one thus far (especially when considering its location count). Going the Distance has grossed $13.95 million through ten days and will likely fall off faster going forward with both Sony's Easy A and Disney's You Again soon to enter the marketplace.
On the bottom half of this weekend's top ten chart, positions six (The Other Guys) and ten (Inception) were separated by only $0.55 million. Falling in between those two were The Last Exorcism, The Expendables and Eat Pray Love. Given the traditionally low grosses for the weekend after Labor Day, it is commonplace for holdovers to be bunched closely together at this point on the calendar. Most of that group will fall out of the top ten next weekend with four new wide releases set to enter the marketplace.
With a total gross of just under $82 million, this weekend's combined box office was the smallest on record since the weekend of September 5 - 7, 2008 ($67.9 million). It was also the first time in either 2009 or 2010 that the total weekend box office dipped below the $90 million mark.