Sony made good with its first 3D title this year, “Resident Evil: Afterlife,” which debuted with a stellar $46.2 million over the Sept. 10-12 weekend at the international box office.
“Afterlife,” the fourth title in Sony’s undead franchise, launched day and date with the U.S. in some 35 overseas territories, making it one of the more aggressive rollouts since the start of the summer B.O. sesh. In early summer, most domestic titles were held from major markets to avoid competing with the World Cup soccer tournament.
Top territories for “Afterlife” were Japan and Russia, where the pic took in a chart-topping $15.5 million and $9.5 million, respectively. In Japan, the film more than doubled the opening for “Resident Evil: Extinction,” including previews, knocking Disney’s 3D powerhouse “Toy Story 3” further down Japan’s list of top 10 performers.
“Toy 3” had reigned near the top of the Japanese B.O. for almost two months, with a local cume of $121.6 million. Japan now stands as the highest-grossing territory for the toon, ahead of the U.K., where it has tallied a boffo $112.1 million. Toon has posted $632.7 million internationally.
Meanwhile, “Afterlife” scored approximately two and a half times “Extinction’s” debut take in Russia, followed by Spain, which contributed a hearty $3.4 million. The 3D format boosted Spanish totals, averaging $9,654 per 3D screen vs. a $2,994 per-screen average for the pic’s 2D version.
Helmed and scripted by Paul W.S. Anderson, “Afterlife” follows franchise resident Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, as she attempts to destroy an evil corporation. Ali Larter, who also appeared in “Extinction,” co-stars.
Overall, the series’ four-peat outstripped the previous three installments in its comparable debut territories, with No. 1 rankings in nearly all the countries in which it bowed. Pic is the first 3D offering for the series, as well as the first installment to get the Imax treatment. Imax contributed north of $1 million to the pic’s international take on 19 screens.
Local exhibs, however, say the pic could face an uphill battle in repeat frames due to negative word of mouth. But the film should have a strong second outing as it extends its overseas rollout to major territories like Brazil, Germany, Mexico and South Korea.
Warner Bros.’ summer tentpole “Inception” has exhibited boffo staying power since its debut July 16, totaling $448.8 million in foreign B.O. receipts. Pic added $16.4 million during its ninth frame, with the majority coming from holdover territories, including China and the U.K.
Blighty stands as “Inception’s” top market, with $53.2 million, but China contributed the weekend’s largest share, posting a resilient $8.6 million in its second outing. The pic’s chart-topping take in China, down just 14%, boosted the local cume to $30.4 million, making “Inception” the highest-grossing title ever for Warner in that territory.
Summer titles “Despicable Me” and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” made notable entries in Australia last weekend. U’s “Despicable” wound up on top in Oz, posting a sneak-infused $4.5 million at 264 locations, while Disney’s “Apprentice” conjured $1.2 million at 240. “Apprentice’s” bow in Oz nearly doubled that of “G-Force,” which was the Mouse House’s comparable mid-September holiday opener last year. Both pics, targeting younger auds, are well positioned for the territory’s school holidays that start this week.
International total for “Despicable” stands at $82 million, with most of Europe still to come, while “Apprentice” has cumed $130 million from 52 territories.
In Italy, George Clooney’s “The American” failed to crack $1 million at 275 locations, averaging just $3,000 per. Italo auds typically respond well to star-driven vehicles, but the territory has been unusually fickle this season, perhaps suggesting that moviegoers have responded best to warm weather. “The American” will try its luck in Germany and Spain next weekend, but could have a tough time in Spain, as its B.O. usually mirrors Italy.
Emilio Mayorga in Barcelona, Mark Schilling in Tokyo, Clifford Coonan in Beijing, Ed Meza in Berlin, Lauren Seligman in Paris and Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.