Resident Evil: Retribution opened at number one on the US box office chart over the weekend, grossing some $21.1m (£13m) in its first three days on release and leaving Disney’s 3D re-release of Finding Nemo floundering in second place with takings of just $10.8m.
Starring Milla Jovovich and directed by her husband Paul W S Anderson, Retribution is the fifth movie in the popular horror franchise based on Capcom’s video games. The film sees Jovivich reprising her role as series heroine Alice and joining forces with a resistance movement to battle hordes of zombies created by a deadly virus.
Since the first Resident Evil film was released in 2002, the series has earned mixed reviews from critics but become a favourite with cinemagoers around the globe, and each instalment has made franchise owner Sony enormous sums of money.
The first film made more than $102m worldwide, while Apocalypse made $129m in 2004, 2007’s Extinction grossed $147m and Resident Evil: Afterlife raked in an astonishing $296m after it was released in 2010.
Sony’s president of distribution Rory Bruer attributes the franchise’s success to the popularity of its star with film fans. He said: “Every country she goes, they fall in love with [Milla].
“The 3D and Imax elements complement the franchise in a certain way, but the big money is on Milla.”
Jovovich on the other hand claims that the Resident Evil movies have done so well because audiences pick up on the cast and crew’s passion for the films. In a recent interview, she said: “I wholeheartedly believe that the reason people love the Resident Evil series is because we love it, we love making it, and we have so much fun doing it that it translates. An innate good time that everyone’s having, it really translates.”
Retribution is due to open in the UK on Friday 28 September and, despite only boasting a 34% “fresh” rating on review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com, will likely do well in Britain too.