Box Office: Strong $11M Start for ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife’

Running in 3D, fourth installment of Sony’s post-apocalyptic Milla Jovovich series off to the franchise’s best opening; rest of the market does the typical post-Labor Day flat-lining

Amid an overall box office that's shaping up to be even slower than the typically moribund post-Labor Day Weekend, Sony's "Resident Evil: Afterlife" enjoyed the best opening for its four-film, eight-year-old franchise, grossing $10.9 million at 3,203 locations Friday, according to studio estimates.

With two-thirds of these engagements presenting the R-rated post-apocalyptic film in 3D, the movie — directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and starring Milla Jovovich — is expected to exceed tracking forecasts this weekend, perhaps grossing more than $26 million.

Acquired for a reported $52 million by Sony for distribution in the U.S. and Canada, as well as select foreign markets, "Afterlife" was produced by Constantin Film, Davis-Films and Impact Pictures at a cost of around $60 million.

Not that it had much competition. Here's Friday's top 10 (full report continues below):

With the overall box office down around 18 percent year to year on what is typically the lowest grossing ebb of the 52-week release calendar, no other film managed to crack the $2 million mark Friday.

Only one other movie was released, with Summit Entertainment double-dipping "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" in 1,187 theaters. 

The sequel — which had grossed over $298 million domestically coming in — didn't register in the box office's top 20 films Friday. And Summit has yet to release any revenue data.

Finishing second in its third week of release, Sony crime-drama ensembler "Takers" scored $1.8 million Friday, upping its cume to $43.8 million. The film was shot on a budget of $32 million.

Focus' George Clooney movie "The American" finished in a virtual second-place tie with $1.8 million, dropping 53 percent from its opening Friday — and dispelling notions that the movie, which had awful exit polling, would completely drop off the grid. 

Fox's low-budget pick-up "Machete," meanwhile, dropped 65 percent on from opening-Friday-to-second-Friday, grossing $1.3 million. Acquired by Fox for $8 million, the film has made nearly $18 million so far in the U.S. and Canada.

Also among second-week holdovers, Warner/New Line romantic comedy "Going the Distance" dropped a respectable 42 percent on Friday number two — to $1.3 million — coming off the heels of a miserable $6.9 million premiere. The Drew Barrymore movie costs only $32 million to produce, but New Line officials are nonetheless scratching their heads as to why it's under-performed so badly.