Box Office Guru

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Resident Evil Sets New Series High Score at #1

Weekend box office was anything but undead.

by | September 23, 2007 | Comments

Two new films were met with enthusiasm from North American moviegoers who
powered each film past the openings of their respective predecessors. Fans of
action and horror lined up for the threequel
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
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
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

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
, 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
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
. 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
s last film
A History of
(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
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
(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.

New Line’s
Billy Bob Thornton
Mr. Woodcock

dropped 43% in its second weekend to an estimated $5M putting the ten-day total
at $15.7M. A $25-28M final seems likely. Fellow comedy
grossed an
estimated $3.1M, off 39%, giving Sony $116.2M to date. The studio also crossed
the $1 billion mark in domestic tickets sales for the sixth year in a row.

Universal’s assassin smash
The Bourne Ultimatum

dipped only 32% to an estimated $2.8M pushing the domestic haul to $220.2M.
Universal can now claim the only two summer films to spend eight weeks in the
top ten as the Matt Damon smash joined studio stablemate
Knocked Up
Rounding out the top ten was the fantasy adventure
Dragon Wars
with an
estimated $2.5M, down 50%, for a ten-day cume of only $8.6M.

Debuting to scorching results in limited release was
Sean Penn‘s
latest directorial effort
Into the Wild

which banked an estimated $207,000 from only four theaters for a potent $51,649
per site. The Paramount Vantage release stars
Emile Hirsch,
earned strong reviews, and helped critics get the bad taste of Penn’s
All the King’s Men

out of their mouths. Wild expands to the top dozen markets next weekend.

Warner Bros. got off to a solid start with its Old West tale

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
which made
off with an estimated $144,000 from 15 theaters for a $9,600 average. Ten of the
locations were in Austin with most double-screening the nearly-three-hour outlaw
tale. The Brad PittCasey
starrer earned generally good notices from reviewers and will widen
on Friday.

With all the new films in wide release, four pictures dropped out of the top ten
over the weekend. New Line’s
Rush Hour 3
in an estimated $2.2M, off 33%, giving the
Jackie ChanChris
vehicle $136.1M to date. Look for a final domestic gross of about
$142M. Fellow franchise flick
56% to an estimated $2.2M as well giving MGM $54.6M to date. A finish of $58M
seems likely.

A weekend estimate of $1.7M greeted the comedies
Balls of Fury

from Focus and
Mr. Bean’s Holiday
from Universal. The ping pong pic fell 47% for a cume
of $31.3M while the
Rowan Atkinson
Eurotrip eased 36% and has gathered $30.8M to date. A final domestic tally of
$35M should result for each.

Expanding successfully was the Sony musical saga
Across the
with an estimated $2.1M from only 276 theaters for an
impressive $7,428 average. The
Julie Taymor-directed
pic expanded from its platform debut in 23 venues last weekend and has raised
its total to $3M.

Paramount launched the summer megahit

in Imax theaters over the weekend and saw its weekend take jump 196% to an
estimated $1.4M (including sales from standard-format screens). That pushed the
cume to $313.6M putting the robots in disguise at number 21 on the list of
all-time domestic blockbusters and less than $1 million away from tossing

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
($314.2M) out of the
Top 20.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $76.2M which was off 1% from last year
when Jackass:
Number Two
debuted in first place with $29M; and down 10% from 2005 when
Flightplan opened in the top spot with $24.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,