After enduring the worst weekend since 2008 (and a couple more low weekends besides), the box office received a much-needed boost on Friday from a pair of familiar features. Resident Evil: Retribution was yesterday’s clear winner, earning an estimated $8.4 million from 3,012 locations. The fifth entry in the Resident Evil franchise, Retribution is expected to take in $22 million through Sunday – a slight decline from the $26.6 million posted by Resident Evil: Afterlife on this weekend in 2010. The last RE feature (and the first to feature 3D effects), Afterlife went on to earn almost $300 million worldwide – 79% of that from international audiences. 3D technology also claimed second place at the Friday box office with the debut of Finding Nemo 3D. The first Pixar classic to get a 3D make-over since the Toy Story/Toy Story 2 double feature, Nemo 3D earned an estimated $5.1 million from 2,904 runs for what is expected to be a debut weekend in the $18 million range. Finally, in just 5 theatres in New York and LA, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master broke records for a limited release with a giant per-screen average of $48,425. Full details and analysis tomorrow.
After seeing the movie modifier ‘3D’ lose almost all of its cache over the past year or so, who knew that an animated re-issue with that three dimensional makeover could roar this loud at the box office? Doubling even the most sanguine early projections, Disney’s The Lion King 3D took in an estimated $29.3 million this weekend from its 2,330 (mostly 3D) locations to become this weekend’s undisputed box office ruler.