It takes guts to release an expensive film the weekend after Labor Day, traditionally the lowest box-office of the year.
Sony gets the bravery badge with "Resident Evil: Afterlife."
The part-four sequel, shot for a reported $60 million and acquired by Sony for an undisclosed price, will debut in 3,203 theaters domestically, two-thirds of those in 3D.
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and starring Milla Jovovich — both franchise stalwarts dating back to the first film in 2002 — the R-rated fourth "Resident Evil" installment is expected to gross around $25 million this weekend.
The only other movie debuting in wide release is a retread, with Summit Entertainment looking to wring a few more dollars out of "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" — or at least enough for the third-parter to pass the $300 million mark domestically.
That goal should be achievable.
Released in 1,187 theaters this time around, "Eclipse" has grossed $298.8 million in North America to date.
Meanwhile, highlighting a flurry of limited indie releases is Casey Affleck's mysterioso Joaquin Phoenix documentary "I'm Not Here," which will be distributed in 19 theaters nationwide by Magnolia Pictures.
As for winning the box office, there should be no problems there for "Resident Evil 4," with last week's champ, Focus Features George Clooney drama "The American" set to drop like a stone from its $16.4 million start with some of the worst word-of-mouth of the year (the movie got a D grade from movie customer-satisfaction grader Cinemascore).
And Sony has had success releasing "Resident Evil" films on the week after Labor Day before. In 2004, for example, second-parter "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" debuted on the same from to $51.2 million.