Resident Evil: Afterlife tops US box office

Fourth installment in Capcom-inspired film franchise takes in $27.7 million; best opening weekend for series to date.

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On Friday, Resident Evil: Afterlife hit North American theaters after being savaged by critics. However, like the zombie hordes the film and its Capcom-published inspirations depict, moviegoers overran theaters to see the action-horror film.

Resident Evil: Afterlife was the most popular movie in the US last weekend.
Resident Evil: Afterlife was the most popular movie in the US last weekend.

Variety reports that Afterlife raked in $27.7 million over the weekend, a record opening for the film series. The original Resident Evil opened with $17.7 million in 2002, followed by Apocalypse with $23.0 million in 2004 and Extinction with $23.7 million in 2007. The Hollywood trade magazine pointed to Afterlife's IMAX and 3D presentations--which have higher ticket prices--as the reasons for the uptick in revenues.

Resident Evil: Afterlife once again stars Milla Jovovich as Alice, a heroine battling for survival in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Five years after the evil Umbrella Corporation's virus resulted in a large portion of the world's population becoming shuffling undead, she travels to Los Angeles to seek a safe haven. Naturally, though, things do not go according to plan.

Bad reviews aside, Afterlife is a rare financial success story for game-based films. Most that make it to the screen are critical and box-office bombs, such as Doom, BloodRayne, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, and Dungeon Siege: In the Name of the King. One of the most high-profile and best-reviewed game-based films to date, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, was a commercial disappointment despite a nearly $200 million budget and the backing of Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Hope remains, however, as a film set in the Warcraft universe is currently in preproduction with Spider-Man director Sam Raimi at the helm. The project has the support of both film studio Warner Bros. and production company Legendary Pictures (The Dark Knight, Watchmen, 300).

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