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Will Resident Evil be Good for the Box Office?

September 9th, 2010

The weekend after Labor Day long weekend is often the worst weekend at the box office for the entire year. This time around there is only one wide release, Resident Evil: Afterlife, which will have no trouble topping the chart. In fact, it will be the only film to reach $10 million over the weekend. Will it do well enough to help 2010 keep pace with last year when there were four wide releases?

The Resident Evil franchise started in 2002 and while they've been putting out new installments every two or three years, the films have never been more than minor hits. Resident Evil: Afterlife does have the advantage of being in 3D, which means the ticket prices will be substantially higher. For instance, the 3D effect on The Final Destination saw it earn nearly 50% more during its opening weekend than any of the other films in the Final Destination franchise had previously managed. If that is the case here, then Resident Evil: Afterlife could open with close to $35 million. While that's possible, it's a little too bullish for me, and I'm predicting $28 million, more or less. As for its long-term potential, that's a little hard to judge at the moment, as there are nearly no reviews online. The film is rather critic-proof, as the franchise has never done better than 34% positive, but if it can surprise, perhaps it will be able to strech out its legs.

The rest of the top five will all holdover, and all will earn significantly less than $10 million. The American should lead the pack of leftovers with about $7 million over the weekend and close to $30 million after two. These are hardly blockbuster numbers, but it will likely be better than average for the month.

Takers has managed to show some legs at the box office and that will keep it in third place this weekend with close to $6 million. It will top $50 million shortly after the weekend, which is enough to call it a modest hit.

On the other hand, Machete is going to get hit hard by the Fanboy Effect and direct competition. Even with very strong reviews, a drop-off of greater than 60% seems inevitable. That said, with $4 million over the weekend, it will be on pace to match its production budget, while I hope strong home market sales help it break even, eventually.

There will be three films fighting for the final spot in the top five: Going the Distance, The Last Exorcism, and The Expendables. All will earn between $3 million and $4 million, but for Going the Distance it means a short exit from theaters after a disappointing start. For The Last Exorcism it means it will surpass original expectations. While for The Expendables it means it will be just a few days away from $100 million.


Filed under: The Expendables, Going the Distance, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Takers, The American, The Last Exorcism