The Resident Evil franchise seemed far from extinct this weekend as Resident Evil: Extinction, starring Milla Jovovich, opened with a better-than-expected $24 million, making it the highest grossing debut of the series, according to studio estimates. It topped 2004's Resident Evil: Apocalypse by some $1 million. The original movie grossed $17.7 million in 2002. In second place, the comedy Good Luck Chuck managed to take in about $14 million in its initial outing, performing about as analysts had expected. But the David Cronenberg-directed Eastern Promises had a less-than-promising opening, with just $5.7 million to place fifth, and the Amanda Bynes' teen comedy Sydney White, a take-off on the Snow White tale, appeared to have been cursed by the evil queen, taking in only $5.3 million to place sixth. Last week's top film, The Brave One, starring Jodie Foster, dropped 45 percent as it racked up $7.4 million in ticket sales, landing in third place. And the previous week's No. 1 film, 3:10 to Yuma was on track to take in $6.4 million, to land in fourth place. For the second week in a row films opening in limited released performed exceptionally well, despite otherwise near-vacant theaters at some multiplexes. The Sean Penn-directed Into the Wild opened in just four theaters with an impressive $206,596, or $51,649 per theater. (By comparison, Resident Evil: Extinction wound up with about $8,500 per theater.) And The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, earned $144,000 in five theaters, or an average of $28,800 per theater. However, Sony Classics' The Jane Austen Book Club attracted few members, taking in only $141,000 in 25 theaters or just $5,600 per theater.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:
1. Resident Evil: Extinction, $24 million; 2. Good Luck Chuck, $14 million; 3. The Brave One, $7.4 million; 4. 3:10 to Yuma, $6.35 million; 5. Eastern Promises, $5.7 million; 6. Sydney White, $5.3 million; 7. Mr. Woodcock, $5 million; 8. Superbad, $3.1 million; 9. The Bourne Ultimatum, $2.8 million; 10. Dragon Wars, $2.5 million.