Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
September 18, 2012

Wait, did you just say that you're a New Orleans Saints fan?

Itchy. Tasty.

Kim Hollis: Resident Evil: Retribution opened to $21.1 million domestically along with another $50 million internationally. What are your thoughts on this result?

Matthew Huntley: As bad and silly as this franchise is on a quality level, one thing you can never knock it for is its lackluster box-office performance. Granted, no installment in the RE series has ever been a blockbuster, at least on a domestic level, but they've been consistent mid-level winners, especially compared to their respective budgets. Even though $21 million is on the lower end of recent RE openings, it's solid enough where we'll probably see another two-to-three years from now. However, this one's price tag was unusually high at $65 million, which might force Sony to re-consider how much they want to put up for it. All in all, though, it's more or less in line with expectations.

Bruce Hall: The Resident Evil films tend to open in the low $20 million range and on a similar number of screens each time, so I guess you could call this performance "consistent", if nothing else. Debbie Downer will point out that this is the lowest opening weekend since the original, but her brother the optimist will point out that it's good enough to ensure at least one more of these eventually rolls off the assembly line. It's a reliably mediocre result from a reliably mediocre franchise whose creators and fans seem to rely ON mediocrity. So, I guess everybody wins.

Edwin Davies: This is about what I expected, not only because it's in keeping with the trend of the series to date, but also because it demonstrates the continued franchise fatigue that was hidden with the previous installment, which technically made more money than the third film because of 3D prices, but actually sold fewer tickets. Barring some new gimmick (like, I dunno, a chair that simulates the feeling of being bitten by a zombie, a la The Tingler?) Resident Evil as a series has clearly peaked domestically and we'll probably see returns diminishing even further the sixth time around. However, there will almost certainly be a sixth time around, since the international numbers already look very good, and should offset the fact that the film was noticeably more expensive than any of the other films in the series.

The other Paul Anderson has done a very good job of keeping costs low with these films and flying under the radar, in the process somehow delivering a series which will most likely have earned a billion dollars at the global box office once Retribution leaves theaters. Say what you like the quality of the films, but the return on investment for them is pretty good.

Tim Briody: We can call this mediocre compared to previous openings and while diminishing returns have begun to set in, the ridiculous amount of box office that Afterlife earned overseas means this franchise will probably keep going for a couple more films, or at least as long as Milla Jovovich wants to make them.

Shalimar Sahota: I didn't expect it to top Afterlife, but even if it is on the slightly lower end, Resident Evil always seems to follow the same pattern. Same again in another two years?

Jason Barney: A $21 million opening is probably a little low based on expectations, but is certainly is fine based on the achievements of the rest of the franchise. I have to admit that I saw one of these films years ago, and liked it. I didn't like it enough to go out and put the series on my netflix queue or anything, but I certainly didn't think it was terrible. It appears as though the fan base for these has not moved on, they are still embracing the product, and as long as they do that, sequels will continue to be released. Just based on the numbers it has to be a win for the franchise and the fans involved, but even I have to wonder if fatigue will set in at some point in time. $21 million stateside is a good number. The international gross is impressive.

Reagen Sulewski: Looking at the middling-at-best domestic box office for this film is missing the forest for the trees. While they've always done better overseas, Afterlife took the franchise to a new, ridiculously profitable level. Precisely why is hard to pin down as I don't think that 3D made $200 million worth of difference, but this is another one of those franchises that's not really *for* us (I mean, aside from some people here, and I fully expect David to come along and feast on some people's entrails here in a minute).

Fun fact: Afterlife is also the highest grossing Canadian produced film ever.

Felix Quinonez Jr.: It falls right in the line with the rest of the series. Yes, it's fallen back a bit but it's still in the same ballpark. And it is the fifth one of these so it's completely understandable that some fatigue has set in. But I expect this to be huge overseas and another one to follow in a couple of years.

David Mumpower: Reagen is correct about the fact that Shalimar, Kim and I view this property as The Avengers of zombie franchises. Several people have already touched upon the key facet of Resident Evil: Retribution. The overseas revenue split on this franchise took a turn for the Ice Age with Afterlife. Any time a sequel earns more in terms of worldwide box office than the two prior films combined, there is going to be a sequel. And based on early results on Retribution, its North American sales are down but its international pace is torching Afterlife. This is the world’s answer to Paranormal Activity. The budget costs remain negligible (even at the $57.5-$65 million being reported) while overall take continues to expand.

The one aspect where I disagree with everyone is that the next movie will automatically perform worse. My belief is that the key difference between Afterlife and Retribution is that there was only two years between movies as opposed to three year gaps starting with Apocalypse. Absence makes the zombie-hating heart grow fonder, apparently. Plus, Retribution strongly hints at building toward a finish with the sixth film, which could finally deliver on an entire generation’s desire for a zombie apocalypse. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to anxiously anticipating the release of Resident Evil 6 the videogame at the start of October.

Kim Hollis: Obviously sequels are being made on the strength of the overseas box office. Domestically, these films open decently and then fall off a cliff. I've seen the latest film, and it's more than obvious that the creators of the film are planning for at least one more. It's making gobs of money overseas, not to mention what it pulls in on video, so Screen Gems is going to be very content to keep propping it along. People like David and me will keep going.