By Pete Hammond
HollywoodNews.com: It was a week in movies where all the action was in other countries with the Venice Film Festival wrapping up in Italy and the Toronto International Film Festival just getting under way in Canada.
So with the field all to itself in this country and not shown in advance to critics, a wise move considering its current dismal 14% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the week’s one lone wide release “Resident Evil: Afterlife” shows there is some life after all in Screen Gems’ durable but dopey franchise mixing Zombies and Jovavich (as in Milla). Earning an estimated $27.7 million for the SLOW three day back-to-school post-summer weekend, ‘Afterlife’ scored the series’ best opening numbers ever, well over the last two entries “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” and “Resident Evil: Extinction” which both opened to about $23 mill(a)ion each without the benefit of 3D’s hiked prices that this one had. For those who care the original that started this whole thing opened to about $17 million in 2002 dollars. It’s hard to recall another weekend this year that one studio had all to themselves but Sony’s Screen Gems not only had the number one film, it also took the number two slot with its third weekend of the Matt Dillon heist movie, “Takers” which, considering it is also completely forgettable tripe, has racked up a pretty decent $48 million so far. George Clooney’s “The American” was expected to experience a huge drop in this its second weekend but fell only an average 55%, not good but not disastrous considering its D minus Cinemascore last week that might have indicated treacherous word-of-mouth ahead. Actually it was the better-scored “Machete” a spinoff from the Grindhouse flop that fell the most of any flick this week, a whopping 63% which should finally convince director Robert Rodriguez to step off the Grindhouse beat once and for all.
Now despite the fact that there was only one new nationwide release this weekend there were PLENTY of other movies hitting the marketplace. You just had to live in the right town, namely LA or NY. According to Boxoffice Magazine’s Sara Schieron who diligently tracks down new releases like it was a cult religion, there were a possible record 30 films opening somewhere in the U.S. this weekend. Wow. It would appear that in this purgatory period between summer and fall tiny distributors were looking to [...]