It was a zombified weekend at the box office, in more ways than one. Resident Evil: Afterlife was the only movie to show any real signs of life, opening at No. 1 in 3,202 theaters with $27.7 million, according to early estimates. It's a record debut for the based-on-a-videogame zombie franchise. The 3-D film certainly benefited from higher 3-D ticket prices, which helped boost the four-quel to one of the best-ever openings for a post-Labor Day weekend (traditionally one of the weakest frames of the year, as kids go back to school and the NFL season kicks into gear). This year's first fall weekend was no exception -- the next six films' three-day gross combined still can't quite equal Resident Evil: Afterlife's debut figure.
Leading that enfeebled pack was, surprisingly, the heist thriller Takers with $6.1 million, just a 44 percent drop from its three-day take last weekend for a $48.1 million total. With the top two films this weekend, it's a good day indeed over at Sony/Screen Gems. (Please note: All the percentage drops will only factor in the Friday-to-Sunday period of last week's four-day Labor Day frame.) Last weekend's winner, The American, weathered bad word-of-mouth and slipped to third, dropping 55 percent from last weekend with $5.9 million and $28.3 million total. Machete suffered an even worse decline, falling 63 percent to fourth place, with just $4.2 million for the weekend and $20.8 million total. In fifth place, the underperforming romantic comedy Going the Distance (2010) finally posted a somewhat decent number, dropping only 44 percent with $3.8 million for fifth place. It's grossed $14 million total over ten days.